Christmas is a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Here are 9 simple ways to invite Jesus into your Christmas:
1. Sing actual Christmas carols
When you're driving in the car, or caroling to the neighbors, sing songs that are centered on the real meaning of Christmas - Jesus Christ.
"Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" are fun songs, but to make your holiday season more spiritual, choose songs like "The First Noel" and "Away in a Manger."
Gather together as a family and sing carols. This is a tradition in my home. Every year on Christmas Eve my mom pulls out folders of song lyrics, and we all sit around the fireplace and sing together. This unites our family and brings the spirit of Christmas into our home.
2. Have Christmas dinner
Come together as a family on Christmas and share a special dinner. It can be a fancy Thanksgiving-esque dinner, or it can be pizza. But sit down together and give thanks. Talk about what the holiday means to you.
3. Say family prayer
Kneel in prayer as a family and express your gratitude to God for the birth of Jesus Christ.
4. Act out the nativity story
The nativity is a great reminder of what to celebrate on Christmas, and it can also be very entertaining.
Every Christmas Eve in my family, all of the kids gather together and choose roles to play in the nativity story. We also dress up (mostly in towels, bath robes, and old Halloween costumes). Mary and Joseph are the most coveted roles. I am always the donkey.
The narrator reads the Biblical account from Luke 2 and the characters act out the story accordingly. Among my extended family, someone always starts crying and someone else makes everyone start laughing. It's a great tradition.
My most vivid and profound Christmas memories are times when my parents made us serve. Here are some service-related ideas for your family:
Visit a home for the elderly
Deliver cookies to neighbors
Invite someone to dinner
Sing carols at the hospital
Volunteer at a food bank
Shovel snow off a friend's driveway
Leave a treat for the mail lady
Write letters to loved ones away from home
6. Take time to ponder
Purposefully plan time to be alone and ponder the meaning of Christmas. What role has Jesus played in your life? What do you know about him? Why does he matter to you?
7. Read the Bible
Take time to read the Biblical account of Jesus Christ. The New Testament is a record of his birth, life and death. Take advantage of it. Read about when the angel appeared to Mary, and when the shepherds gathered around the manger.
8. Give a personal gift to Jesus
This is totally up to you. The wise men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh as tokens of their love, respect, and reverence. What can you offer?
Maybe it's an addiction you can give up or forgiving someone. Perhaps it's your time, your resolve, or your trust. Of all the gifts you purchase, wrap, and place under the tree, give your best to Jesus.
9. Research symbolism
Did you know that the never-dying Christmas fir tree is symbolic of Jesus's immortality? Or that Christmas lights symbolize the light and warmth of Jesus?
Christmas traditions are rich with symbolism. Why do we use red and green? Where does the tradition of Santa Claus come from? What is symbolic about wreaths and mistletoe and candy canes?
Go find out!
These simple suggestions can turn your heart to Jesus and make this holiday season more spiritual and meaningful.