Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Jar of Happiness

Last night for our Family Home Evening (FHE), I introduced an idea that we may keep for a Christmas tradition. Our family is going to focus on good things. Whether it is service, being obedient, helping someone, sharing or just playing nicely--if it makes someone happy then it qualifies.

The idea is that these are things that Jesus would like us to do. Things that will make Him happy--a birthday gift of sorts.

Here's how it works: Each time someone does something "happy," then they will add straw into our gallon jar. By the time we get to Christmas Eve, we will hopefully have enough straw to make a bed for the baby Jesus in our Nativity scene (we like to act it out to help us remember the true reason for Christmas).

What I did:
I took one gallon jar and printed off a Nativity picture, which I then used craft glue to stick to the jar. I tied a ribbon around it--I have no real crafty skills, but this needed a little festive color. Next, I had a miniature bale of hay for decorations that I have not been using, so we are using that hay to fill the jar with. We've already had a few "happy" moments, hence the hay in the bottom. We just put in a pinch at a time.

I'm hoping this will help my kids to become closer to our Savior by doing what He would do for us if He were here. And, of course, to remember what, or rather, WHO we should be celebrating at Christmas.

Mosiah 2:17 "...that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

© Wendy 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Keeping Christ in 'Christ'mas

The holiday season is upon us. For Christians, it is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, the deep religious reason for the season is frequently buried deep in commercialism, stress, debt, busyness and other things that distract our hearts and minds away from the Lord.

It takes effort to keep your family focused on Christ rather than unnecessary wants. Here are a few ideas to keep Christ as a prevalent part of your family's celebrations.

  • Display Nativities as part of your Christmas decor. Nativities are beautiful depictions that usually portray Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus. They often include wise men, angels and animals as well. Incorporating these images will help bring Christ to the forefront of our thoughts.
  • Focus less on Santa, and more on Jesus. Santa isn't all bad. He is very giving, he wants us to be good, and tries to spread happiness. Similarly, the Savior also has those traits, but is much more. We celebrate Christmas because we can rejoice that He came to earth so that we can repent and return home to Heaven one day. A book that I've shared with my children is "I Believe in Santa Claus." I love this story because it draws parallels between Santa and Christ (hard to make it through without getting emotional!). 
  • Try to attend special events like "The Messiah" or local Creche festivals or anything else that focuses on Christ. Many communities or churches will put on such events for the public to attend--either for free or a very low cost. 
  • Do service for others. The life of Jesus was filled with service for others. We can become closer to Him by following His example and taking care of those around us. My family thinks it is fun to "doorbell ditch" and leave treats or a special message to uplift our neighbors. There are also opportunities to help those less fortunate have Christmas in their home by donating food or gifts to families in need.
  • Read about His birth. A wonderful tradition to have in your family is to read Luke 2 in the New Testament about the birth of Jesus. There are also movies or video clips available to watch to tell His story, such as this one:  

Christmas is a time for fun, family, celebrations, and gift-giving. But, let us not forget the Reason for the Season. He really is someone worth celebrating--His sacrifice, the Atonement, His grace, the ransom paid for our souls. Keep Christ in Christmas this year. Remember Him always.

For some more inspirational blog posts:

© Wendy 2013