Prepping for Christmas
Christmas season is officially here. Excitement is everywhere, trees are up, and the busy buying season is underway. In all the hustle and bustle, it is a struggle to keep our focus on Jesus.
The three things our family does to keep our mind on Jesus
This has been a popular idea for many years, and if you google or Pinterest it you might get overwhelmed. But the idea is simple. Christmas, which celebrates the coming of the Messiah, was not a last-ditch effort it was intentionally planned from the beginning. The Jesse tree focuses on the verse in Isaiah 11:1-2 ‘A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—' The shoot the verse talks about is Jesus, and the Jesse Tree tradition follows the family tree of Jesus from Genesis to the coming of his birth. It is a nightly reading that walks you through the entire Bible with discussion questions, songs, and discussion questions.
I’ve used the guide from The Jesse Tree Project for years, and the Jesus Storybook Bible as our nightly Storytime. Sometime I can get the older kids to read the story, but it’s always a countdown to see who gets to put the last ornament on Christmas morning.
I know many people are big fans of the Elf on the Shelf, and the creativity that this little elf pulls out is amazing. In our family, I struggled with the idea of the Elf. I didn’t want an Elf watching making sure we’re ‘good’, because being good in our own efforts isn’t what Christmas is about. It’s about our inability to be good that creates our need for our Savior and what makes the gift of Christ coming so amazing.
So instead our family has Kindness Elves. On November 30th, our Kindness Elves arrive with Christmas Jammies and our Jesse Tree supplies. The three Elves come with a note that they are to be trained in the Christmas Spirit by my kids. Each morning leading up to Christmas ( yes this is what makes any Elf idea crazy) the Elves will have a kindness task to do, because our actions should point others to Christ not our own ‘goodness’.
There are some years I’m on point and we get all the things done, and others that we do a few acts of kindness here and there. I try not to stress over it and put too much pressure on myself, because that leads to me not enjoying the Christmas season.
Compassion Giving Catalog
The last thing we do to take our minds off of our wants is to focus our attention on others needs. Our family has sponsored kids through Compassion international for several years. It has been life giving to both me and my kiddos. Every year Compassion puts out a Compassion Gift Catalog that allows your to provide for a need that will help those who are in poverty. You can buy chickens, fruit trees, sport supplies, Bibles, and many more things to help those who suffer in poverty.
Starting in November, my kids ‘spending money’ from chores is frozen. They can’t spend their earnings on themselves during the months of November and December. But they are encouraged to set a goal to provide for a need in the Compassion Gift Catalog. They are given other opportunities to earn more money toward their goals.
I love to see my kids think of others and get excited about the trees or chickens or Bibles kids will receive. This has provided an amazing opportunity to widen my kids world view and really remind them and myself that Christmas is about giving not getting.
What are the traditions around your house that help you get in the Christmas Spirit?