(Note: This article was originally written as content for EvanTell in 2011 and was also reposted on blogs.bible.org.)
With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be hard to find a moment to breathe. Rush to the store to get more flour for a recipe. Hustle to a neighbor’s house with a plate of cookies. Drive to church for a hymn sing. Then somewhere in there you return home to find that the family dog knocked half of the ornaments off the tree. As you stand staring at the shards of glass, a million thoughts race through the mind: “Where’s the broom?” “How will I find time to go to the store for more ornaments?” “When will Christmas be over?!”
When we cave to the ceaseless hustle and bustle so prevalent in our society, we are prone to forget so much. The wonder of the incarnation. The splendor of God’s love. The joy of growing together as a family.
Take time to slow down and enjoy simple family moments. Use these cherished opportunities to have valuable spiritual conversations with your children. Many families enjoy making homemade ornaments together. Its fun, cost effective, and they are usually less breakable by the family dog. But don’t stop there. It is also a great opportunity to nurture your family’s faith.
Christmas Stars — Various directions and ideas abound for making star ornaments. One of my favorites is a colorful star craft that can be made using last year’s Christmas cards. The finished product looks pretty on a tree or hung from a window.
While making the ornament, talk about the wise men’s journey to find the Christ child (seeMatthew 2). Ask thought provoking questions such as: What do you think people follow today when they seek Christ? What can we learn from the wise men’s diligence? What hardships might they have endured as they traveled such a long distance to find Christ? The wise men brought 3 gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh—what can we give to God this Christmas?
Christmas Angels — Another possibility is an angel ornament. Download an angel pattern, and print out as many angels as you would like to decorate. Younger children might enjoy coloring the angel with crayons, while older ones might prefer sprinkling glitter on each angel. Whole punch the wing, and loop some yarn or thread through the hole to make it suitable for hanging.
As you create your angels, talk about the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary (see Luke 1). Many conversation starters are possible: What message did the angel Gabriel announce to Mary? What was so special about the baby that would be born to Mary? How do you think Mary felt when she heard the news? You might also talk about the angels that visited the shepherds (see Luke 2): Why were the angels’ tidings so joyous? What did the shepherds do after they visited baby Jesus? Why do you think their excitement was so contagious?
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