December 1st - can you believe it? Where has this year gone? There's no better gift we can give then to give God this month - set aside to reflect on Him and worship Him.
There are so many things you can do to make sure you're keeping Jesus at the center of Christmas and I will be sharing some ideas with you for the rest of this month.
Because this is the first day of December, a lot of families will begin using their "advent" calendar to count down the days until Christmas. Our family has a little different take on this. Instead of opening a door or untying something and getting a piece of candy, we will do the following:
Make a linked chain with construction paper. Cut out 24 strips of construction paper for your chain and before linking them together have the family write on each strip a different name of somebody they love. This can be family, friends, schoolmates, coworkers, whatever (we've had the children's pastor, family members, and yes, even Tony Hawk on our strips). Once you have a name on every strip of paper go ahead and link the papers together to make a chain. This will be your countdown to Christmas chain. Every night at dinner (or whenever it works best for your family), take a link off of the chain and pray together as a family for the person who's listed on that link. The chain will give the kids a visual of how many days until Christmas, but instead of just getting candy (you could give candy each day too if you wanted), they're being reminded to pray for these people.
Also, when talking about the countdown to Christmas, be sure to talk to your kids about why we're counting down. It's just like when somebody special is coming to visit us and we count down the days until they get here - that's what Christmas is! The day that Jesus came and visited us! So, we're not counting down the days until we get presents, we're counting down the days until our very special visitor came to earth to visit us, to live for us, and to die for us.
What an exciting countdown!