In December we gather both on Wednesdays and on Sundays as a family of faith to hear God’s Word, receive His sacraments, and have God shape our lives. When we worship, we remember we are children of God and as His family we receive good from Him. When we meditate on scripture, we invite God’s good perspective into our problems. When we hear it preached that our faith and salvation are gifts of God by His grace, we are strengthened to know that nothing can separate us from His love. By praying, we acknowledge to God that we truly believe He is near and we trust Him to insert His will into our days. Worship in December provides us with prophetic passages to contemplate as we await Jesus’ second coming, even as we rejoice to remember His faithful fulfillment of promise and prophecy in His incarnation (Christmas!). Since not everybody in our extended families is willing to attend worship services these days, even at Christmas, here are some suggestions for filling your home gatherings with the true beauty of Christmas and giving your families a little bit of what we get from worship this month.
A Home Advent Wreath – That’s right, the five candles that we light each week to symbolize the drawing near of Christ who is the light of the world, can also be lit at home. A small wreath can set on your table and each evening before your dinner prayer, have someone light the candle(s) that mark each week. Blue, Blue, Pink, Blue, and then White on Christmas Eve. Re-read one of the passages from the Sunday bulletin about Jesus’ coming. If you have kids and like to sing, you can sing the “He’s Coming Again” song as you light each candle. Let me know if you’d like the sheet music for it. Then start eating!
A Christmas Tree – The Christmas tree has become so common that its original significance has been lost to many people. When you set up your tree, invite a family member to help you, and as you decorate your tree, mention that this type of tree is a “Christmas Tree” because it is evergreen. It reminds us that Jesus was born to bring us everlasting life, and He succeeded! We trust in Jesus and his promise that all who believe in Him will live even if they die! If your family has lost a loved one you can pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the tree’s reminder that, in Jesus, our loved ones live on in heavenly glory.
A Poinsettia Flower – The poinsettia makes for beautiful Christmas décor that will last long past the rest of your lights and ornaments have been packed up. Pick a day when your family is together in the lead up to Christmas to add one or more poinsettia to your home. Or wait until extended family has arrived for Christmas Day, bring out the flower(s) as an “extra gift” for each family and explain, “The poinsettia is the Christmas flower because the deep red reminds us of the reason for Christmas, that Jesus was born to give His life on the cross for us and save us. The red reminds us of Jesus’ blood that was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Also the star-like shape of the flower reminds us that Jesus is “the bright morning star” (Rev. 22:12).
These are just a few suggestions for bringing what you hear on Wednesdays and Sundays to the ears and hearts of your family and friends. Keep an eye out in your worship bulletins this month for this icon: ò to mark passages of scripture that you can use around your dinner table, while decorating, or in your private devotions. Bring Christ into your home-family celebration of Advent and Christmas this month.
In Christ’s love,