December 04, 2012
25 Days of Keeping Christ in Christmas
Last Christmas season I put together a plan to incorporate our own little Christmas traditions AND to remember the TRUE meaning of Christmas... Christ. We don't do every little thing every day and we don't always go in order. The idea is to keep things simple, make memories and remember Christ during this season. We love it! My husband even made it into a book as last years Christmas present. He is so super sweet.
God’s Love and Gift: He sent his Son
Wreaths, due to their circular shape, symbolize eternity. They began to be used at Christmas and hung, because a wreath has neither beginning nor end, but is a continuous circle, it symbolizes God Himself and his never ending love for us. The evergreen on the wreath symbolizes everlasting life, which Jesus Christ made possible for all of us, thanks to our Heavenly Father’s great love.
1 John 4:7-9
Could you imagine being a father and sending your son on earth to die for others?
How has Heavenly Father shown never ending love to us in our lives?
Make our own Wreath
Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plains Hymn pg 212
Holly and Ivy
Jesus Christ Died For us: The Greatest Gift
Early French and English families hung holly over their doors to symbolize a home in which Christ's birth is celebrated. Holly is an extremely hardy shrub that can be grown in all fifty states of the United States, making it one of the few plants that can withstand temperatures from 110 degrees F to - 40 degrees F. Holly plants are noted for their attractive red berries and glossy, sharp-toothed green leaves which remain on the plant year round. The sharp-toothed edge of the holly leaf reminds us of the crown of thorns with which the soldiers mocked Jesus Christ. The holly berries grow in clusters of three; they remind us of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. The red holly berry represents Christ's blood, shed for all people including those who reject Him. Christians believe Ivy stands for the new promise of eternal life to all of us, as we are all destined to be resurrected and live forever. The Ivy of Christmas is the embodiment of love, care and trust. As we are all destined to live forever and be resurrected.
Luke Chapter 23 and 24
1 Corinthians 15:1-3
What is the atonement? What is resurrection? Why are they important?
Personally gain a stronger testimony of Christ during this Christmas season.
The Holly and The Ivy
Gift of the Holy Ghost
The dove has long been viewed as a symbol of peace and the Holy Ghost. Surely, the concept of peace is relevant to Christmas. After all, Jesus was born into the world to bring peace between God and mankind. Consider the words of the angels to shepherds on the day of Christ’s birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men .” Jesus Christ made it possible for those who put their hope in him to receive the Holy Ghost. May images of doves during the Christmas season serve as a reminder of the Holy Spirit who brings us true peace.
John 14: 16-18, 26-27
How can we receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost?
Make a list of ways the Holy Ghost can help us and hang it up as a reminder.
With Wondering Awe Hymn pg 210
Another Gift: All Creations, Including Ourselves
One obvious association based on the whiteness of the snow and its falling straight from the sky without touching anything before reaching the earth is of course immaculateness and purity. This sense of purity can be felt just by looking at an even once familiar land now covered with snow. The snowflake also symbolizes individuality as one very striking fact about snowflakes is that no two snowflakes are exactly identical. Another thing that snowflakes represent is perfection as they are found to have perfect geometric forms. Snowflakes possess a hexagonal symmetry of six roughly equal arms. Snowflakes also represent serenity and tranquility. Think how tranquil it is just to look outside the window and watch the snowflakes falling silently. It goes very well with the peace that the season brings. A snowflake falling makes us look up into the sky towards heaven and reminds us of our Heavenly Father and his lovely creations. We are all children of God and made with different qualities. None of us are the exact same but are each special and made just right. We should be thankful for the gift of our bodies and minds that were sent with us down on Earth.
“He does not mercilessly measure [His children] against their neighbors. He doesn’t even compare them with each other. His gestures of compassion toward one do not require a withdrawal or denial of love for the other. … I testify that no one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. “-Jeffrey R. Holland
Go around in a circle and share the unique qualities about each person.
Make a Snowflake
Silent Night Hymn pg204
Another Gift: Eternal Families Possible
As a Christmas chain is linked together one by one to make a long train, we can be reassured that through our ancestry our heritage leads us back to Adam and Eve and we know that we can be reunited with all of our family one day. This should remind us to appreciate our family from the past by doing genealogy and temple work. We also need to appreciate the family we have now by making memories and becoming like a close linked chain that we may always have close relationships.
1 Corinthians 15:29
1 Peter 4:6
Are we doing what we can to have an eternal family?
Make a Family Chain or a Family Tree to remember all of our family members.
Angels we have heard on High Hymn pg 203
Jesus Christ Showed How to Keep Thoughts Toward our Father up in Heaven
In AD 340 some pagans were converted to the Christian faith and replaced a pagan celebration with Christmas on Dec. 25th. The first traditional Christmas tree came from Germany. By the 15th century, newly converted and old Christians started to decorate their trees not only with apples (the symbol of sin and the need for a Savior) but with small white wafers (the symbol of Christ’s body, the Savior). These wafers were later replaced by little pieces of pastry cut in the shape of stars, angels, bells, etc. Martin Luther was walking through the woods near his home on Christmas Eve about the year 1500. He was struck by the beauty of how the snow shimmered in the moonlight on the branches of the trees. In an effort to re-create the magnificent sight for his family, he cut down the tree, placed it in his home, and decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ's birth. Though Christmas trees may have already existed in homes throughout Germany at the time of Luther, it is possible that he did in fact conceive the idea of adding candles to their branches. The most popular symbol of the Christmas Tree is a reminder of Heaven since the needles of the tree point towards heaven symbolizing man's connection with the Lord as it points up above and since it is an evergreen tree it signifies everlasting life.
John 8: 28-29
1 Nephi 11:21-23
Draw a Christmas Tree and put steps on it to climb to the top.
Write ways Jesus taught us to always think of Heavenly Father and Heaven
Put up a Christmas Tree.
Oh Christmas Tree
Tinsel, Garland, Ornaments
We can use our Gifts and Show Faith
A legend tells of a poor, faithful family who wished to decorate a Christmas tree in honor of the Christ Child but who had no money for decorations. In the night, spiders came and spun webs across the tree. Then the family's faith, turned the threads into silver. Even when we believe we have nothing to give, we do, because faith is something we can always give. We also have many talents just as the spiders were able to spin webs, even though they may not have seem pretty to us, they were in the sight of the Lord because they were used in a faithful way. As we put our ornaments on the tree we can be reminded of our abilities and what we have done with them through-out the year and if it would please our Heavenly Father and we can also be reminded of our faith and how we might make it stronger.
1 Chronicles 28:9
What are some gifts that you have been given and how can you use them?
How can we show our faith?
Buy and/or make a new ornament to put on the tree that describes the year you had and what you did.
Jesus Christ gave us the most Precious Gift
The very first Christmas gifts were given by the Wisemen to Baby Jesus. The gold symbolized Jesus’ kingship, frankincense His divinity, and myrrh His suffering and death. When we open our gifts we can remember the birth of Jesus, the greatest of all gifts given to us from our Heavenly Father. For many people, gifts define Christmas. They focus on the giving and receiving of gifts instead of on our greatest Gift Jesus Who gave Himself to us at Christmas.
What other gifts do we have in our lives? Make a list of everything you are thankful for!
What kind of gift could you give Jesus this year?
Think of a Christmas/Birthday Gift to give to Jesus Christ-
Write what you will do and put it under the Tree
Because I have been Given Much Hymn pg 219
We Three Kings
Jesus Christ Felt Everything we Feel
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, was a 1939 creation of Robert May who wrote Rudolph's story as a Christmas comic book for Montgomery Ward department store. Santa makes Rudolph, whom the other deer reject, the leader of the herd. His light leads them through the dark night so that gifts can be given to good children. Rudolph is a way to prepare children for Christ, the light of the world, who was rejected by His people yet whom came to save us all. Jesus Christ can lead us through the darkest nights and to the arms of our Heavenly Father, we just need to follow him even if others may not believe.
Has there been times when you’ve been made fun of or times when you had a bad day?
Take a minute in silence to think about the time Jesus Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane and how it must’ve felt for Christ to feel all of our pain and be betrayed in the same night.
Away in a Manger Hymn pg 206
Jesus Christ is Our Shepherd
The candy cane is shaped like a shepherd's crook, reminding us that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, came into our world at Christmas. The red stripe symbolizes Christ's sacrifice and the white background His purity which can make our sins white. Candy canes have a peppermint flavor, reminiscent of hyssop which had medicinal purposes. The peppermint flavor reminds us of our healing that came at the price of Christ's life. The shepherd’s crook is used to bring lambs back into the fold, a reminder that we all are our brother’s keeper and how Jesus Christ helped us. Upside down it’s a letter “J.” We should remember that Christmas is all about Jesus and what he has done for us.
John Chapter 10
How has Christ helped guide and save you?
How can we help others?
Put Candy Canes on the tree and Share a Candy Cane
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Hymn pg 211
Jesus Christ Showed How to Care
Colorful ribbons and bows remind us of the bond of perfection which is love. They show us that all people are to be bound together in brotherhood and peace. A bow is tied as we all should be tied together in bonds of goodwill forever. It reminds us that we need to bind up the broken hearted. As a bow is folded and tied, it’s like a big hug of friendship. We should be friendly to everyone and keep our friends in our hearts. Having brotherly kindness is a wonderful thing and is as beautiful as a big bow.
How can we be better neighbors, co-workers and strangers?
Is there someone that may need some extra cheer this season? Make a list and plan!
Make and send a Christmas card to a friend in need.
End the night with a big family group hug.
Do you Hear what I Hear?
Jesus Christ Showed Importance of His Example and Learning about the Gospel
The Christmas stocking is said to have originated in a nobleman’s home who after the death of his wife squandered his fortune making it impossible for his three daughters to marry. Saint Nick, previously mentioned above threw bags of coins down their chimney. Their stockings which had been hung there to dry by the fire caught the gifts. In 16th century Holland, Dutch children would place their wooden shoes by the hearth in hopes that they would be filled with a treat. The tradition of naughty children receiving a lump of coal in their stockings comes from Italy. Because stockings cover our feet, they symbolize our life's journey. If our journey takes us closer to God, He rewards us with the joys and happiness of eternal life with Him. We need to be sure that we are sitting at Jesus Christ’s feet and learning all we can about the gospel and following His footsteps.
1 Peter 2:22
“Time is all the capital stock there is on the earth; … if properly used, it brings that which will add to your comfort, convenience, and satisfaction. Let us consider this, and no longer sit with hands folded, wasting time” -Brigham Young
“The time we spend learning of our Father in heaven will bring untold blessings to us all the days of our lives” -John Longden
Are we making time for scripture study? Are we following Jesus’s Footsteps?
Share your favorite stories of Jesus Christ.
Once in Royal David’s City Hymn pg 205
Jesus Christ Showed to Ring in the Good, Pray, Spread Cheer
There are many symbols for bells…
1) Bells ring to guide lost sheep back to the fold – as we all are precious in the eyes of the Lord.
2) In many parts of the country today, the ringing of bells can still be heard every Sunday, and throughout the rest of the year for various celebrations – one of the most significant of course is Christmas morning, since that was when they were traditionally rung from the olden days.
3) The famous bell of St. Patrick resides in Ireland, and according to tradition, Patrick, used it to gather the Irish people together for the teaching and preaching of God’s Word. With time, the bell came to be associated with the Lord’s work.
4) High in the towers, suspended between heaven and earth, bells have represented communication between heaven and earth, or humans and God.
5) It is also said that “every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”
6) In olden times bells were assumed to chase away evil spirits as they ring out the bad and ring in the good. Bells represent the death of the devil (ignorance) and the birth of goodness (enlightenment).
7) In modern times Father Christmas uses jingling bells accompanying his sleigh progress to announce the birth of goodness and new beginnings and ultimately to remind us to seek enlightenment that is, to develop the good within us all!
As you can see, as bells ring they can give us a feeling of peace and joy.
1 Timothy 2:8
John Chapter 17
What are the good things we can ring in and the bad we can ring out?
How can we communicate with our Heavenly Father?
Go Caroling and RING THOSE BELLS!
I heard the bells on Christmas Day Hymn pg214
Jesus Christ showed Importance of Loving One Another
Mistletoe is an aerial parasite that has no roots of its own. It lives off the tree to which it attaches itself and, without that tree and light, it would die. Mistletoe was believed to have special healing powers just as Christ healed all that believed. This shows us that we can only really love through our Heavenly Father (whom we are attached to) and Jesus Christ (the light). Mistletoe is a Christmas symbol of our love which derives from and exists only because God loves us. Heavenly Father created us in love and caused us to be able to love. Kissing under the mistletoe is thought to bring a greater love between a couple in love and is considered as a promise to marry and a long life filled with happiness only if they attach themselves to Heavenly Father and open their hearts to allowing Him to guide them. We also need to remember to show our love in a way that our loved one will know that he/she is loved.
1 John 3:18
Are we showing those we love that we really do love them?
Write a love note to a significant other or to a family member.
Twelve Days of Christmas
There is Sweets all around our Home as we Follow Jesus
We are able to make gingerbread houses with sweet treats and candies. Our love for one another in our home and fulfilling our responsibilities as parents, children, wives/husbands, and siblings our home can be heaven on earth and so very sweet. We need to look at our gingerbread selves and see if we are being as sweet as we can be in our gingerbread home. This can remind us of our own home and the way we can make our home sweet and made with love all year long as we continue to do what it is that we are commanded to do and what was shown to us by Jesus Christ.
Titus Chapter 2
How do we have love in our home?
Is there something we may need to work on?
Make a Gingerbread House
Joy to the World Hymn pg 201
Many Things Lead to Jesus Christ Today
Poinsettias are native to Mexico. They were named after America's first ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett. He brought the plants to America in 1828. Later the Mexicans, converted to Christianity, were the first to celebrate the poinsettia's Christian meaning. They saw the poinsettia's red leaves as symbols of a deep love for Jesus. Mexicans in the eighteenth century thought the plants were symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem. Thus the Poinsettia became associated with the Christmas season. The actual flower of the poinsettia is small and yellow. But surrounding the flower are large, bright red leaves, often mistaken for petals. Mexico's legend of the Poinsettia tells of a poor Mexican girl Maria and her little brother Pablo who were disappointed they had no money to buy a present for baby Jesus at the annual Mexican Christmas festival. On Christmas Eve Maria and Pablo stopped to pick some weeds, for baby Jesus. As they placed the weeds around the Manger, the green leaves miraculously turned into bright red petals. Soon the Manger was surrounded by beautiful star-shaped flowers as we love to see during the holidays. The poinsettias can remind us of the star that was in the sky that led the wise men to Jesus. Although we don’t have a bright shining star now to follow, we still have some things around us that can help lead us to Christ today.
2 Nephi 32:3
What are the things that lead us to Christ today?
Make a list of ways we can follow the star to Christ today.
The First Noel Hymn pg 213
Jesus Christ is the Light of the World: We can Lead People to His light
Candles represent Christ, the Light of the World, our everlasting light and salvation. Candles also remind us that we are to be light to others, to show them the way to Christ. As we all know, Christ is the Light of Life, but as all candles, the flame can be lit onto another candle, so another candle can shine. Just as Jesus Christ has shone the way, we too can do the same for others by using our the flame from His candle to light our candle so we may light the way for others and guide them to Jesus Christ. Candles were often placed in windows during the Christmas season as a sign to those passing by that shelter and warmth could be found within.
How can we be the light to someone and who needs the Gospel in their lives?
Make a plan for missionary work this month and put it on the calendar.
Go Tell it on the Mountain
Do What Jesus Would Do and be Happy All Year
Elves are always so happy! Why? Because they are giving! Just as elves are cheerful as they help make toys all year round without asking for anything in return, we can make our days cheerful all year round as we do the Lord’s Work, not only during Christmas but every day. Jesus taught that giving to those in need is actually credited to us as if we gave to Him! Though people in need cannot return the favor, we will be given a feeling of happiness. During this season and all year round let us consider how we can follow the Lord’s example and give generously and cheerfully — particularly to those in need who can offer nothing in return.
1 John 4: 20-21
There are many ways to show love and charity to others without money, what are they?
What are some service projects we can do through-out the year to help others?
Pick a gift for each sibling and parents to spread cheer to them and make sure you listen to your heart and how happy it makes you feel to give to someone else. It can be an even happier feeling than receiving gifts.
It Came upon the Midnight Clear Hymn pg 207
We Need to Remember our Covenants We Made
Eight Reindeer were chosen by Santa to guide his sleigh. When we are at least 8 years old, we are able to choose to make a covenant to remember and follow Christ. We know that it may not always be easy (just as it may not always be easy for the reindeer to pull the sleigh) but as we keep our promise to keep the commandments and remember Jesus we will be led to Heavenly Father.
Go over the Commandments
Are we living up to our temple recommend and baptismal covenant?
Bake 8 different goodies together as a family
Be sure to follow the recipe just as we need to follow the commandments!
O Holy Night
Nutcracker and Nuts
Jesus Christ made it Possible for us to Repent and be Forgiven of our Sins and as we do we become Christian Soldiers to Fight off Temptation
Nuts are a traditional Christmas food, not only because they ripen in fall, before the dead of winter, and can be kept for months if stored properly, but also because they are symbols of repentance. Nuts have three parts to them, the bitter skin which encased the nut on the tree, the leathery hull, and the nut meat. The bitter skin splits on the tree when the nut is ripe and the ripened nut falls to earth. The bitter skin is like the bitterness of recognizing the fault and being guilty which is always bitter to begin. However, this bitterness will release the sinner to seek forgiveness. The hard shell of the nut represents perseverance, because with sincere perseverance we can be forgiven and then find the third part which is the nut meat, the sweetest part. We can be as a nutcracker, a Christian soldier to stand up and crack our sins and repent and do what is right in the sight of the Lord.
How do we repent?
Share some Nuts
Make up a skit where you might need to stand up for what is right.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Saint Nicholas Followed Jesus’s Example by Giving with a Humble Heart
It is said that Nicholas’ parents were devout believers who had long prayed for a child. As an only child, he was raised with great affection and special attention. However, when Nicholas was still a young boy (likely a teenager), a plague struck his city, and both of his parents died. Though a loss like this might turn some away from God, it seems to have drawn Nicholas closer to Him. The loss of his parent’s also seems to have made the boy’s heart tender to the suffering of others. It is said that Nicholas was almost certainly imprisoned during a time when Christians were persecuted which lasted for a total of eight long years. Years of suffering for his faith had most certainly deepened his character in a manner worthy of respect. There are an overwhelming number of stories regarding Nicholas’ generosity. Saint Nicholas was very generous to the poor, but most often anonymously. After his death on December 6, a tradition of gift giving was begun in his honor. Though the modern Santa Claus has devolved into a secularized figure surrounded by fantasy, his image can serve to help us remember the real St. Nicholas, a man who devoted his life to serving God and inspiring others to do the same. Furthermore, the idea of giving gifts in Santa’s name is a useful practice. In essence, when gifts are given in Santa’s name, they are given anonymously. Secret generosity is consistent with how St. Nicholas gave gifts, and more importantly it follows Jesus’ instruction to let our giving be done in secret and not with pride.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
1 Corinthians 13:4-5,13
Why do you think it’s important not to be proud while giving?
Is there something bad that has happened to you that you can help others with?
Ring and Run, anonymously, for at least one family that needs cheer this season (refer to the list from before), using the goodies that were baked. Think of yourself as Santa as you do it!
O Little Town of Bethlehem Hymn pg 208
Jesus Christ came to Earth and will Return again!
The true meaning of Christmas. The story of Christ’s birth.
Luke Chapter 1
Matthew Chapter 2
Discuss the birth of Christ
Discuss the nativity and what each person in the nativity represents.
What can we learn from each person in the story of the birth of Christ?
The Wise Men?
Mary and Joseph Dinner
Have a meal surrounded by only candle light.
Share crackers, bread, jerky, grapes, cheese and anything else that Mary and Joseph would have ate while discussing the birth and the second coming.
The Nativity Movie (with popcorn, of course)
All Children’s Christmas Songs in Primary Book!
Jesus Christ is the Light of the World!
A mirror of starlight reflecting our thanks for the Star of Bethlehem.
Red: Christ’s blood shed for us all.
Blue: Our royal heritage.
Green: Everlasting life.
White: So our sins shall be if we repent because of the purity of Jesus Christ.
Yellow/Orange: The golden streets in Heaven and royalty of Christ
Red- Romans 5:8-11
Blue- Romans 8:16-17
Green- John 3:36
Yellow/Orange- Philippians 2:5-11
How is Jesus Christ the light of the world?
Has there been a time when he has been the light in a dark room for you?
Go look for Christmas Lights or go to a Display.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Hymn pg 209
Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life
Christmas pastries are made with flour and remind us of the many uses of bread in Scripture. The Jewish people offered cakes made with oil to the Lord. Jesus multiplied loaves to feed four thousand people and came as the Bread of Life. He multiplied the loaves of bread as a way to show kindness to feed the hungry. He also taught us that he is the Bread of Life as we know that we all need bread to live and not be hungry, just as we can believe in Christ which will give us true life. We are able to remember Jesus Christ during every sacrament meeting as we take the bread and water.
Just like we need bread to live we also need Jesus Christ to fully live and need to follow him in order to live with him for Eternity and be happy with no hunger.
When we take the sacrament do we truly think of Christ’s life and what he has done for us?
Make Christmas Cookies after Christmas Eve Dinner
Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful Hymn pg 202
Warm Fire and Hot Chocolate
As We Have a Testimony of Jesus Christ We can have Warm Hearts
During the cold season we are able to warm ourselves by a warm fire while enjoying hot chocolate. We can warm our spirits every day by turning our lives toward Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Through gaining a testimony and keeping it strong, it will warm us up even during our coldest days.
How can we gain and keep our testimony strong?
Sing Happy Birthday for Jesus and cut the cake
Share our Testimonies over a cup of Hot Chocolate
I believe in Christ Hymn pg 134