Christmas in particular holds very dear and personal times of worship and reflection upon what God has done for me... for us! And it seems Thanksgiving has become a month long preparing of my heart and a time to spur my kids to think on God's care for us. By the time December comes, the anticipation and wonder is building to a climax. There's a real sense of the need, and desire, to stop and simply thank God for all He has done and reflect upon the glory of His story in our house. I guess Thanksgiving isn't a separate holiday from Christmas in our house, it's just the build up to the celebration of the Redeeming Gift we are most thankful for.
Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless
the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. - Psalm 103:1-5
Our family traditions are still newly forming. Our kids are just 3 and 5 and truly we didn't have a tradition or special time during Christmas or Thanksgiving before the kids came. For my household, that was mostly due to our marriage troubles. If you are a childless couple, especially a newly married couple, I'd encourage you not to wait until the kids come (if they do) to start your own special times of worship, activities, and memories during the holidays.
That was a bit of a sidebar... anyway, back to our traditions and ideas.
Here are some of the things we do during the month of November:
- Pick a verse or two from scripture to say and talk about daily, committing it to memory. This year I picked 1 Timothy 2:1.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and
thanksgivings be made for all people
- Find a craft or two to do with my kids which helps us all to verbalize and bring to mind how much we have to be thankful for. This year we did this and this.
It turned out like this:
And here's the Youtube video if you'd like to do it! :)
- Find a way to remember, pray for, and reach out to someone else in need. Each year I pray about this, and sometimes the person in need is right under my own roof, so the focus is a ministry of service there. This year we may go to the local nursing home and just walk around with the kids and kneel down to visit with some widows and widowers on Thanksgiving day.
- And when it comes to the actual Thanksgiving meal ours is pretty traditional. Two of the highlights from our menu though are the sweet mashed yams and the homemade rolls.
To begin celebrating Christmas I pull out the tree December 1st, along with all the decor I've collected over the past couple years, and put on the music!!! I LOOOOOVE Christmas music. My favorite song is O Holy Night. I let the kids decorate the tree, which leaves lots of great memories and pictures and the perfect looking tree in my book! :)
During the month of December I also pick a new verse or two to discuss daily and put to memory and try to memorize a song that the boys and I can sing.
This year, the boys will be involved in their first Christmas program at our church, which I'm really excited about.
But the tradition that I love the most at Christmastime happens the night before Christmas. You can read about the tradition we have of sleeping in a tent by the tree on Christmas Eve and other traditions we have , and our Days of Pondering ornaments by clicking those links.
Be sure to head over to Internet Cafe Devotions for more fun and inspiring holiday traditions and ideas!
Hope you all have wonderful, worshipful holidays!
Redeeming the time,