I love Christmas! I love everything about it. I love the shopping especially when I find things on sale! I love the lights, the Christmas stories and movies, the food, the festivities, dressing up, decorating and of course the joy on the kids faces as preparations are being made and on Christmas morning. Yet sometimes the busyness of the season catches up with me and I find myself slipping into stress mode. There’s so much to do! (Of course I could simplify, but then I might miss out on something or so I think.)
Lately though, I’ve been running into people who are not looking forward to Christmas. A couple of friends have recently lost family members and are struggling because they can’t imagine facing Christmas without their loved one. Another friend is struggling with health issues and her family lives in another country so they won’t be able to join her for the holidays. Others are facing job losses, marital problems and many other things. What happened to the Christmas spirit? What can I say to such overwhelming situations? First of all, I know that what they need from me right now is just to be there. A kind word, a hug and a prayer are probably the best gift I can give these friends right now and as God directs, I will offer more. I could invite them into my home or offer to take them a meal. I’m asking God to show me how I can help and pray for each one.
I’m also thankful for what I have. I’m thankful for my family, for my health and my home. Most of all though, I’m thankful for Jesus. You see, as fun as all the trappings of Christmas are, the best part of Christmas is that Jesus is with us. God sent His own Son to be our Savior and friend forever. No matter our circumstances, no matter our messes, no matter if we are far from home or close to family, no matter what, Jesus will always be with us. On earth, He experienced pain, hunger, loss, joy; everything that we experience and He loves us. He didn’t come to a pretty world decked out in red and green bows with lights aglow. He came to a dark, cold world. He came to be the light.
So what does it mean to share the Christmas spirit? It doesn’t mean that we make sure everything is perfect. It doesn’t mean buying the perfect gifts, having the best display of Christmas lights or even being the perfect hostess. What it does mean is that we have something that we can share with others. We have good news; the best news of all. Jesus is here! He is alive and He loves you. That’s news worth sharing everywhere you go. Share the Christmas spirit just like the shepherds did. Peace on earth because God is with you!
Thank you, Lord, for Christmas and all that it means. Thank you that the Christmas spirit is not dependent upon all the trappings of Christmas, as fun and beautiful as those trappings might be. Thank you Jesus for coming to earth and bringing your Spirit to be with us. You bring your peace when we face difficult circumstances. You came to be our Savior and Redeemer forever. I want to share the Christmas Spirit – your love and grace with others this year. May I be your hands and feet, your joy and peace to those who are hurting or maybe those who just need a little cheer in the midst of their stress. Amen.
IDEAS FOR SHARING THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
* Do something nice for someone else – that could be helping a neighbor or someone in your family. If you are a child how about picking up your room without being asked or even sharing a smile with someone. I had someone let me go first in line at the store today because I was in a hurry. We struck up a conversation and I found out she was celebrating Christmas this year without her husband of 61 years who recently passed away, yet she had a smile on her face and blessed me with her kindness.
* Smile at the checker and thank them for helping you. My husband recently did something over and above and gave the checker at the store a candy bar just to thank her for helping him. She was amazed that someone would take the time to do that for her.
* Give something away – it doesn’t have to be expensive. You could give snacks to the food bank, socks to the homeless or even a gently used item such as a coat you’ve outgrown to someone in need. You could give a cookie to a friend, a book or pj’s to a foster child, a pencil to someone at school who needs one. Let your imagination go and find ways to give.
* How about reading or telling the Christmas story to your little brother or sister? Or a friend?
* Help greet people at church or offer to play with the babies while the parent’s attend church.
* Invite someone to attend a Christmas Eve
* Smile at everyone you meet and wish them a Merry Christmas.
Last, but not least, pray for someone. I think I will pray for the woman that I met at the store today. I pray that she know the peace that only you can give Jesus and that she would have family to surround her as she faces the loneliness of Christmas without her husband.
SHARE A STORY: The Shepherd’s Hear The Good News – Luke 2
Mary & Joseph traveled all the way to Bethlehem and they were very tired. (Yawn) They looked for a place to rest, (Knock, knock, knock!) but all the places to stay were full. Mary knew it was time for baby Jesus to be born. Where would they stay? Mary and Joseph found a stable where they could rest and God was with them.
Later that night, something wonderful happened! Baby Jesus was born! Mary wrapped Jesus in warm soft blankets or cloths and laid Him in a manger on a bed of hay.
In a field near by, some shepherds were taking care of their’ sheep. (Say, “Baa, baa, baa.) All of a sudden they saw a bright angel. (Say, “Oh! Look, an angel!”) The shepherds were very afraid! (Look frightened.) They had never seen an angel before. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you. Today in Bethlehem a Savior is born. His name is Jesus. He is lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a lot of angels appeared praising God. (Raise arms and say, “Praise God, Jesus is born!”) When the angels left, the shepherds said, “Let’s go see baby Jesus.” They hurried to Bethlehem where they found the baby lying in the manger just like the angel said they would. They were excited and happy to see Jesus!
Afterwards, they told everyone the good news about baby Jesus. They shared God’s love with everyone. (Cup hands by mouth and say, “Jesus is born!”) God loved us (Hands on heart.) so much that He gave us Jesus. (Hands out as though giving a gift.) Let’s thank God for Jesus.
Thank you for giving us Jesus. Jesus, thank you for coming to earth to be my friend. I’m happy that you love me. I’m happy that the good news about Jesus is for everyone even kids. I love you. Amen
MEMORIZE: Luke 2:11 NIRV (Open hands as though holding a book.)
… a Savior – (Cross arms and then swing outwards.)
Has been born – (Rock a baby.)
To you. – (Extend hands outward.)
He is Christ the Lord – (Point upwards.)
KNOW: Jesus came for everyone because He loves us.
TALK ABOUT: Giving – What gift did God give us?
ASK: Who loves you? God loves me.
AND DO: Share God’s love.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
- Turn up the Christmas music and sing along or sing a capella – just sing and be silly together with your preschooler. Afterwards thank Jesus for coming to earth.
- Pray for people around the world. Pick a country, a missionary or your neighbor and then watch for ways that you and your preschooler can pray and help this week. Help at home too.