30 Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas

Our world makes it challenging to keep Christ in Christmas.

Anyone else notice that?

Don’t get me wrong: I love this season. The lights and festivities. I’m a Christmas baby and I find this time of year magical. I love experiencing it with my kids…the excuse to wear Christmas pajamas days on end, reading holiday books, sipping hot chocolate and eating cookies for lunch

But more than anything, I want to make it meaningful. I want Jesus to be the focus. I want my kids to know what the day and all the celebrating is really about. They won’t hear it at school or see it in the sales advertisements. They will know because we will show them.

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Here are some ways we make Christmas meaningful (and a few ideas we plan to implement):

  • Set up a Nativity and make it a focus in your home. [We put ours front and center on the entry table in our home].
  • Hide baby Jesus and “seek” Him Christmas morning before opening gifts. [I did this first thing last year. Here's how I found it half an hour later. Turns out Mary had a little Snowman. I love little kids].

  • (or) Gift wrap baby Jesus in your nativity and let this be your first unwrapped gift Christmas morning.
  • Take a cue from the Magi and limit the gifts and reminding kids it’s not their birthday, it’s His.
  • Have a daily family devotion that unwraps Christmas. We are loving The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas.
  • Participate in Advent. Anticipate, count down to Jesus’ birthday.
  • Light an Advent wreath each day leading up to Christmas.
  • Have a birthday cake for Jesus or go all out and make it a birthday party!
  • Watch DVDS like Why Do We Call It Christmas? that help you tell the real story of Christmas.
  • Give your kids the gift of giving: Have them shop with purpose. This year we are giving our kids money to shop from the Compassion gift catalog.
  • Or buy something that blesses twice and changes lives (Mercy Shop).
  • Don’t stress about things that really don’t matter this Season. I have been a Christmas hoarder in the past. Last year, I had two newlywed couples come and dig thru my decorations. I saved two boxes of things I value most and gave the rest away. It’s simple this year and I like it.
  • Make the Nativity interactive with tools like What God Wants for Christmas. It’s from the creators of Resurrection Eggs.
  • Do something for someone else on Christmas Day. For the past few years, we’ve played Secret Santa for a family in need. It’s one of my favorite traditions.
  • Talk with your kids about giving God a gift. What does He want from us?
  • Hang a stocking for Christ. Fill it with notes just for Him.
  • Invite someone to share Christmas dinner with your family.
  • Shop for single mom. This year playing secret santa and dropping off gifts for a single mom!
  • Don’t participate in the excessive commercialism. Enough said.
  • Watch The Nativity Story together as a family. We started this tradition two years ago. I think this PG movie tells the greatest story ever told very well.
  • Help your kids shop for their siblings.
  • Talk about the symbols of Christmas.
  • Be generous as a family at Christmas-baking, giving, doing.
  • Hold a Yule log party: it’s an old European custom to bring in an enormous log on Christmas Eve and it in the fireplace (or fire pit) and say prayers. Today, Yule log cakes and eggnog are served. You can sing carols, read Scripture, tell stories, pray for the new year, and have good fellowship.
  • Bake, make or buy a special gift for your Pastor. We did Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls a few years ago. What a gift!
  • Cherish traditions with your family. Start a new one! Like the next one:
  • When preparing your Christmas meal, set a literal place for Jesus, your honored guest.
  • Attend church on Christmas Eve.
  • Read Luke 2 together on Christmas Eve or morning. We’ve been doing this since before we had kids.
  • Leave a Nativity out all year long. I did this last year and it was really special.
How do you keep Christ in Christmas?
[edited repost]

Origami Owl {Giveaway}

Congrats to comment #107, Jennie (check your email)

I love a good story.

And I’m not just talking about books. I love the story that life tells–the ups and downs, highs and lows.

Have you heard of Origami Owl? It’s jewelry that tells your story.

It’s such a fun idea!

THE MISSION OF THIS COMPANY: IS TO BE A FORCE FOR GOOD; TO LOVE, INSPIRE

+ MOTIVATE PEOPLE OF ALL AGES TO REACH THEIR DREAMS +

EMPOWER THEM TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS.

merry and bright

Here’s how it works: Visit Origami Owl

Step 1|Choose your charms:

b2da841b-9e49-4d79-9bbf-959e4e069788CORRECT_CHARM_BANNER

 

Step 2| Choose your locket:

6c7ff933-1e0f-4573-a3a7-deefd5062516steps-lockets-2

 

Step 3| Choose your chain:

f3703d52-489f-424d-a51f-827dc622051dsteps-chains-2

My oldest daughter is about to turn the big

14

 

And she loves stories. And jewelry.

I can’t wait to give her this for her birthday!

1. gold numbers 1 &4  2. silver locket  | 3. garnet birthstone | 4. flute | 5. Eiffel tower

Ribbet collage

Origami Owl has so many choices to represent all the chapters in your life. And I think it makes a pretty special gift.

Today, my sponsor is giving away this gorgeous set to one lucky winner:

Gold Living Locket with Heart Window Plate

 

Take a look and tell me what you love in the comment section and that will be your entry to win!

The Kind of Fight Every Marriage Needs to Have

This is the one where I’ve been married 19 years and turn 41 years old all in the same week.

This is the one where I tell you we didn’t get to this place in our marriage because we are lucky. We aren’t celebrating 988 weeks because we are blessed or holy or because we beat the odds.

We have been married for nearly two decades because we haven’t quit.

That’s not to say there haven’t been a few times we haven’t wanted to.

But we are fighting our way to a lifetime together.

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The other day I got an email, the kind l I dread reading.

The ones that say, “My husband is leaving me. He won’t go to counseling. He won’t try. We are Christians, we love God, just not each other any more.”

I don’t know how to answer heartbreaking words. I’m not a healer. Or even that good of a listener. But people reach out because they recognize a miracle marriage.

When I wrote this post about divorce in America a few weeks ago, many were shocked by the hard facts. How can 50% of all marriages–among Christians and non-Christians, even atheists-all end? How can the statistics be the same for believers and non-believers?

I don’t know. But I think the answer might be simple: Christians are human.

Christians fight. Christians are tempted and often give in to sin. Christians have emotional affairs. They look at pornography. They hold grudges. Christians stop trying.

I’m not excusing these choices. They are sinful and can destroy a marriage. But a marriage filled with forgiveness, fight and God can overcome even the worst humanity.

marriage

Our marriage has been filled with some pretty hard days. One of them was last week. We haven’t arrived into some heavenly level of married bliss. Some days, weeks, lo, months, we claw our way back to each other. We fight hell itself to see eye to eye and to keep loving.

When I look at the mosaic of our 19 years, there are a lot of broken, mismatched pieces. There are jagged rough edges. Up close and personal, it’s not that pretty. But when I step back, I see that we’re still creating and the picture only gets lovelier with time. We are still forgiving, we are still committed and I can see a glorious picture of redemption. It’s bits and pieces of both of us glued together with a lot of God.

I urge you today to fight. Sometimes we don’t have a choice and the sin of divorce is committed against us or it’s the only option for peace in a bad situation.

But that’s not the norm, many many marriages end simply because people stop trying.

Don’t be a statistic.

Happy anniversary, Terrell. Thank you for being a fighter. I love you.

Have a Merry Little [Dayspring] Christmas

I’m trying to hold fast to my I don’t have to do all Christmas mantra this year. But I still have to buy gifts for Some of The People. Buying online, getting free shipping or at least a great price, staying away from the mall, these are the things my Christmas list is made of at this point in the season.

It’s not too late to get some great last minute deals at Dayspring. Use code 25gift to save!

These are a lot of items less than $5 bucks with the coupon. Here’s a few of my favorites (click on the pictures):

Redeemed - Beautiful in Its Time - Framed Necklace

Lyrics for Life - Open the Eyes of My Heart - Wall Art

Redeemed - Truly Beautiful - Keychain

And there’s are a lot of  additional Clearance Gifts on sale, too! Check them out.

Like these beautiful lanterns for only $11.99
Love Came Down - Light of the World - Decorative Lantern

Orders are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas through December 16th. On December 16th we’re offering free regular shipping with code FREESHIP. (You can’t use 2 coupons at once, so if you wait, prices might not be the same, but you can get free shipping).

On 12/19, all orders will receive an upgrade to 2-Day shipping at no additional cost (normal shipping fees apply) with code FREE2DAY *affiliate links used

Rhinestone Jesus

I’ve been working on this for the last year… the story I’ve been longing to tell.

 

And I’m so excited to announce my new book!

 

RhinestoneJesus_foreword_1

Back Cover: In high school, Kristen Welch wore a big, sparkly rhinestone “Jesus” pin to school every day and carried her Bible wherever she went. (Yes, she was that girl.) But she didn’t realize her faith, though sincere, was shallow; much like her artificial accessory, it would one day tarnish, no longer a true fit for who she was. As real life catapulted Kristen into places and situations she’d never imagined, there came a day when she stood shocked in the slums of Africa and realized in one desperate moment that Jesus wasn’t enough for her. At least . . . she wasn’t living like He was. On the brink of a risk bigger than any she’d ever taken, Kristen knew she didn’t stand a chance—unless she was willing to put aside the rhinestones and get branded by the real thing. Rhinestone Jesus is the story of one woman’s journey from comfortably living a safe, “good-girl” faith that didn’t cost much, to realizing that God was daring her to say yes to a bolder, more authentic, more dangerous way. This story of spiritual adventure throws the doors wide open for any woman who’s ever thought of herself as “just a mom.” Kristen will inspire and empower you to say yes to God right where you are—and stand amazed at how your life will shine.

Available May 1, 2014

Pre-order your copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Christianbook.com today!