Friday, December 16, 2011

10 Ways To Decorate Your Heart For Christmas

I am taking a break today from my December "Reel Christmas" series to focus on the devotion I have running over at P31 Encouragement For Today, called A Cup of Christmas COCOA.

If you are visiting my blog today, then welcome! At the bottom of the post, find out how to win today's COCOA giveaway which was mentioned in the devotion.
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It is hard to believe that Christmas is only nine days away. It seems that it takes forever for the holidays to begin, then the whole season flies by way too quickly! So quickly, it often comes around before we have all the gifts bought, decorations put up, and cards mailed. There is just too much to do in too little time!

Unfortunately we often use this excuse of "busyness" to secretly justify that it's okay to focus all our time and energies on all those Christmassy-type things that are screaming for our attention.  But deep in our hearts, we know Jesus should be our focus, and we may even feel a twinge of guilt for having an out-of-focus Christmas. So how do we change that habit? How do we get in-focus, in the midst of the holiday whirlwind?

Today's devotion talked about using the acrostic C.O.C.O.A. to help us stay focused on Christ - because COCOA is synonymous with Christmas, right?!

Aside from drinking hot cocoa, and to insure that I stay focused despite all my crazy-Christmas-to-do's, I made a list of ways to decorate our hearts for Christmas. Even though there are only 9 days left until Jesus' birthday, it is never too late to get in-focus on the reason we are celebrating!

1. Display a nativity scene in a prominent place. If you don't have one, consider getting one. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and range from very expensive at specialty stores, to very inexpensive at dollar stores and thrift stores. Regardless of the monetary value, any nativity scene is beautiful. You can even make your own if you are a crafty type of gal, by doing an Internet search with the words "homemade nativity".

2. Read scripture each day of the month, including the Christmas story found in the gospels.

3. Attend a Christmas program, or a Christmas Eve service at a local church. If you do not have a home church, attend at a friend's church, or check your local listings. This year you can also attend church on Christmas Day, since most churches will offer regular Sunday worship.

4. Listen to Christmas music that is focused on Jesus, not just jingle bells.

5. Spending more time in prayer this month than you usually do - thanking God for the blessings of the past year, and seeking His peace and blessings for the coming year.

6. Keep a Christmas journal. Record your thoughts about the Christmas season, how God is working in your life this month, or meaningful Christmas poems or articles that you come across. You could also jot down Christ-centered ideas or activities that you have heard about from others, and consider doing them this year or next.

7. Share Christ with someone who needs to know that there really is "Something more" to Christmas, just like the Grinch discovers.

8. Step outside of your comfort zone to serve someone in a way that you would not normally do. Put aside convenience, and put on compassion.

9. Give the gift of scripture. A special way to share God's Word is through a blessing box, or a treasure box as I have often referred to it. It's a little box full of bible verses, with your friend or loved one's name inserted into the verses. This is a priceless gift, which can minister to someones heart all year round. Click here to see a previous blog post for more information and a list of verses.

10. Give a gift to Jesus. Give each family member a red note card, and ask them to write down one gift they want to give Jesus this year. It could be forgiving someone who has hurt you, surrendering a negative attitude, committing to serving others, stepping out in faith to embrace a special calling, or spending more time in His Word. It is simply a promise from our heart to God's heart. Hang the completed note cards on your tree, or wrap them up and put them under the tree, and open them on Christmas morning and pray over them.

Today's COCOA giveaway is a festive Christmas coffee cup with Romans 6:23 on it, filled with chocolate, and the acrostic C.O.C.O.A from the devotion attached with curly ribbon. It would make a great Christmas gift for a friend, or keep it for yourself!

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment stating how you keep Christ in your Christmas!

**Drawing will be held on Monday, December 19th, and will be shipped the same day,
or as soon as the winner emails their shipping address. **

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90 comments:

highheartedly said...

I love your ideas. 6-9 are new to me.
I wrote a blog post today about nativities and such. Just about answers your question. But I think a key difference for me this year (and I always look for how each year is different) is listening and waiting on God for what to do, even what to gift friends and family. He is pulling me closer.

The Sodas said...

Thank you for this devotional. I too love Hot cocoa and so this will serve as a reminder each time I sip a cup. For me it's the quiet moments in front of the Fire where I just sit with my savior that keeps the holiday season in perspective and learning to be truly present in each and every moment and not preoccupied with the next thing on the agenda.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your devotion today. I love my nativity's. I love listening to Christian Christmas music. I thank God for my blessings throughout the day and keep a happy spirit. Lisa V.

Teri said...

I make a point to say Merry Christmas from my heart to almost everyone I pass. I believe this is Gods way of reminding them (and me) HE is Christmas. Merry Christmas!

Lori M said...

What an amazing idea. . . I plan to buy hot chocolate packets and print out your C.O.C.O.A. message (with your permission, please?) to place in all the mailboxes where I work. Since everyone I work with is not a Christian, I can't think of a better gift than sharing Jesus in a fun way. . .after all, who doesn't like to sit and relax with a cup of cocoa? I bought special mint, mocha creamer to add to mine for the holidays. . YUMMO!

Unknown said...

Thank you for this easy to remember strategy for keeping CHRIST in Christmas. I have started a collection of nativities and find one after Christmas on sale. My kids love setting them up. I have them right as you walk in the front door so no one can miss them. Merry Christmas!

Mary Clifford said...

Thank you for today's devotion! I am a teacher in a Christian school and sharing Luke 2 with my students as well as children's books such as "The Other Wise Man" by Henry Van Dyke reminds me daily in this season of God's great abundance and joy!

Tammy said...

Thank you for today's devotion. I believe I will use it for all my co-workers. I keep christmas in my heart by listening to christmas music, buying gifts for less fortunate people than I, and by having my nativity scene out all year.

Tammy said...

Thank you for today's devotion. I believe I will use it for all my co-workers. I keep christmas in my heart by listening to christmas music, buying gifts for less fortunate people than I, and by having my nativity scene out all year.

Tammy said...

Thank you for today's devotion. I believe I will use it for all my co-workers. I keep christmas in my heart by listening to christmas music, buying gifts for less fortunate people than I, and by having my nativity scene out all year.

Tammy said...

Thank you for today's devotion. I believe I will use it for all my co-workers. I keep christmas in my heart by listening to christmas music, buying gifts for less fortunate people than I, and by having my nativity scene out all year.

Diane Bare said...

Inviting friends and family who don't know Jesus to our Christmas Eve service. Cutting back on gifts sothe children understand the real meaning of Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I will be putting the nativity under the Christmas tree as a good reminder of what Christmas is all about, a babe who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who was born and placed in a wooden manger, died on a wooden cross but who rose to live on High-Hallelujah!!!!
Janet
jbaehrel@hvc.rr.com

SavannahsSmiles said...

We display a nativity and spend Christmas day serving others.
christinaburrell@hotmail.com

April said...

Today's post could not have been more perfect! Not only to hear those wonderful reminders about where our focus should be this season. But also, I am giving packets of cocoa and choc/peppermint dipped marshmallows to the group of volunteers I lead at church. Adding your acrostic to each one, really makes the gift complete! (I will of course share your blog address with them too!). Thanks so much!

A Journey For Life said...

I love lists and acrostic's!! Wonderful devotional, thanks for putting it together and sharing! I love Christmas music and listening to my daughter sing them! We also enjoy doing an advent calendar. Making cookies is another wonderful Christmas tradition! Our favorite thing to do is look at Christmas lights, it seems so magical and really puts me in touch with God!

Karen C said...

I love your ideas to have a Christ focused Christmas. I usually send Christmas text messages for family and friends and I will uplift the name of our wonderful Savior.

Janine said...

How do I keep Christ in Christmas? Our family does a Christmas devotion each day, I make sure our Christmas music is primarily Christ-centered and not just jingle bells, and we attend special Christmas services and programs at several churches. Merry Christmas!!

Heidi J said...

I display our nativity front and center on the buffet in our living room. Love the acronym and ideas. Thank you!

Trina said...

I love the idea of the Cocoa gift cup! I have several people in mind for whom that would be a perfect gift!

Erin said...

I loved your devotion today! I love making cocoa gifts for my friends & you have inspired me. Thank you for such a great giveaway & for giving us a great perspective on the CHRISTmas season.

The Scott Journey said...

Great Cocoa devotional! I try to keep Jesus the central part of Christmas more each season. Many wonderful ideas are shared and I cannot add them all as then I would be just adding more things to an already busy time.
*Central is being in the Word: reading Luke one chapter a day- 24 chapters- to go beyond Luke 2 to get the whole story! Advent devotion.
*angels & manger scene come before other decor!
* prayer for myself, family & overgifts & cards (those given & rec), Christmas poetry (Annn Weems: Kneeling in Bethlehem), Christmas pagent @ church or living room, passing on kindnesses and blessings, participating in missions- doing or giving, music, esp Messiah and others, choosing JOY and Smiling and being Thankful for Gods gift
of love: Jesus!! DDScott

Pam said...

Beautiful devotion today and one I will remember with the COCOA acrostic. I'm founding out this Christmas that simple really is better : ) Taking time like never before to adore Christ this Christmas in our home is bringing a peace and joy that all the other Christmas activities and lists of to-dos have never brought.

Merry Christmas!
Pam

Kristin said...

Those are great ideas and you are right who doesn't like Cocoa. Especially when you think of Christ in it.
I just don't make everything else as important. We keep gift buying simple. Only immediate family and with that we draw names. So it makes it a joy rather than a stress. We enjoy talking about the first and best gift of Jesus.

Rohna said...

This is a great devotional and I am going to spend some time with it and my 8-yr-old daughter this weekend (and some hot cocoa!). I carry a lot of guilt about not being intentional enough in spending devotional time with my daughter because she has two autistic brothers and they demand so much of my physical and emotional energy. Thank you for encouraging me to carve out some time for us to enjoy some hot cocoa and think about the true meaning of Christmas.

Tracie Miles said...

These are all wonderful ideas and ways to keep Christ as the center. Thank you all for sharing! And anyone who wants to is welcome to share the devotion, and the acrostic, with anyone who could use a little COCOA. :)

Samantha said...

I love the C.O.C.O.A. message! I am a teacher to urban youth and the acrostics are fun and easy to remember. This will be presented to the girls today, I am so excited! Sometimes it takes a visual for them to be constantly reminded of how God is a part of every aspect of our life. God has been doing miracles!

Debbie said...

I am so thankful for your devotions. I start each day by spending time with the Lord, and in His Word, before I jump into the business of the season. He fills me with the truth, patience and gentleness I need to get through each day of shopping, wrapping, parties etc. I am so thankful for His life, death and resurrection so that I could have peace during this
crazy time of year!

The Calm of His Presence said...

Tracie,

Thank you for reminding us to stay focused on Christ this Christmas. This year is an especially hectic time for me. It has been very hard not getting overwhelmed. As crazy as the days have been, each night my husband & 2 kids & I have taken time to sit at the foot of our Christmas tree and read our Advent message for the day. It has helped us stay focused on Christ this Christmas season.

Mary

hollisterlyn said...

I will be making a Treasure Box for each of my Bible Study ladies for Valentine's Day~what a fabulous idea! (Too late for me to do this Christmas but a neat idea!) ~lyn

NMT said...

I am new to your blog, but will be an avid follower starting today. I loved the idea of a treasure box. Thanks for sharing the idea. I keep Christ in Christmas through my daily Proverbs 31 Ministeries Daily Devotional, where I linked to your blog, reminds me of where my focus needs to be each mornining.

Anonymous said...

Tracie, I must thank you for your article, "A Reason to Celebrate"! It appears our lives have paralleled this year with similar hardships that I would have never imagined a year ago. It has been a struggle for me to see His purpose and understand His plan and because of this I have felt He has left me or forgotten me. I know this not to be true and I should praise Him through these trials that He may find me even worthy of the refining, is reason to celebrate. Thank you for reminding me. As we candidly speak with our children about our struggles and blessings this year, we will do so over a cup of steaming cocoa! Again thank you!

Suzie said...

What a lovely way to keep Christ in Christmas! I will never look at hot cocoa the same way again! I LOVE IT! Our family has a wooden calendar filled with treasures inside tiny boxes which represent each day of the month of December. Each hidden treasure is revealed on a daily basis and hung on the calendar as we gather together to share what scripture goes along with each treasure piece. On December 24th, the hidden treasure is Baby Jesus and we place Him in the manger with excitement, thankfulness and awe. Thank you again, Tracie, for such a remarkable reminder of Christ's love for us during this holiday Christmas season.

agape13c said...

What a lovely post. We have always tried to keep Christ front and center in Christmas. One of the best ways we found is to read the Christmas story in Luke to our children and now grandchildren. Your give-a-way sounds delightful.

Pam Runyon said...

I take time every morning--even if it is only 5 minutes--to read a short devotion from an Advent book we bought when our children were little. I have a cup of something hot and read the words about Christ's advent. I am very intentionally thankful for just that one thing--His advent--for those few mintues each morning. It gives a warm, loving focus to my day.

Janice said...

I always put up an nativity scene and we always attend a Christmas program at church. I love some of your other ideas because it is so easy to get away from the true meaning of Christmas...

Created for this... said...

Our family has a special advent calendar that has a reading from the the Bible each day. On Christmas morning, we gather all 24 that we have read up until then and read them all again.

Kathleen said...

Love the devotional and all your ideas. Thank you. Christmas is a difficult time of year for many reasons, but yesterday God did a wonderful work in my life and released me from some of the emotional pain.

I have a nativity set every year - actually two or three. This year I bought a Little Peoples nativity set so our grandchildren could play with it and it could be a teaching tool. We always read the Christmas story Christmas morning. Usually we have others in for a meal and find ways to share the gospel. I try to share Christ in all our Christmas cards as well.

God bless you and yours. What a faithful God we serve.

Kathleen

Joyce Kay said...

We are going to attend the Christmas program at our church this coming Sunday. 4 of our 5 children are in the program. I'm excited to watch our 2 younger children (ages 4 and 5) this will be their first Christmas program to be a part of. Our 2 older children are 10 and 11, then our baby is 13 months. The older two have been in several programs. Our children are well aware of what the real meaning of Christmas is....its not all about the presents....but Jesus is the reason for the season. Love to you and your family during this Christmas season.

Hester's Heart said...

Thank you Tracy for your devotion. One activity we have done to keep Christ in Christmas is to write a commitment to Him on paper, (as a gift) and then wrap it in a box and put it under the tree to open and share with others Christmas morning.

God bless you in your ministry. Hester,

Anonymous said...

We have a few nativity scenes that we put out every year. We will be attending the Christmas Eve candlelight service and Christmas morning worship service at our church. I also love listening to KLove! They have a good mix of Christian Christmas music and non-Christmas music going on right now.

Catherine said...

Thanks for the reminders. The busyness of the season often distracts me from what's really important. Daily time with the Lord is the best anchor I know to keep me focused on His Coming.

Angie Swanbeck said...

It is a struggle every year to keep the crazy out of Christmas and let the Joy of Christmas permeate our days. Your suggestions are definitely going to be taken seriously. Thank you for sharing.

Magdala Ray said...

In our family, my father established the tradition of hanging our stockings at the beginning of Advent. Throughout the four weeks of Advent, in addition to lighting a new candle each week on our Advent wreath, we hid little gifts or encouraging messages in each other's stockings. Each morning, we could check our stockings to see if someone had left something for us. However, we could not take the item out until dinner time, when we all sat down together to share a meal and Advent devotions. Then we could each go to our stockings and discover what was in them. This put an emphasis on preparing our hearts and sharing the Christ Child's love with each other rather than the frantic anticipation of Christmas Day gifts.

Zosha said...

You are so right! The month begins with the joy and expectation of the celebration of the birth of our Lord and by mid month becomes a frenzied, chaotic struggle to fulfill the expectations of what the world has to offer rather than the basking in the joy of our relationship with our Savior. Love the ideas on the blog.

Kathy Kubik said...

I keep Christ in our Christmas outwardly by sharing the love of Jesus through my actions, praying for those I love, giving to those in need, and displaying several nativity scenes through our house and outside. I hang crosses on our tree, and explain to my two young daughters the true meaning of Christmas. I hold it in my heart though my drawing closer to God, and my prayer, and my always increasing thirst for Jesus in my life. Every year Christmas gets brighter for me as I grow spiritually as a Christian. It is not about receiving gifts, but rather about the one true gift that was bestowed to us. Jesus.

Dana said...

Great ideas Tracie,

Thanks for all you do. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

I really needed this advice.

Carrie P. said...

Right now I try hard to keep Christ in my son's Christmas. Each time we talk about Santa Claus, I try to say, "You know what else is special about Christmas?" or something like that. That way we can talk about Jesus and his birthday. My son's only 3, so we don't go super deep into it, but at least he knows Jesus is a very important part of Christmas.

Laura said...

In past years I struggled with finding the true meaning of Christmas. I know the Christmas story, but somehow the whole idea of giving gifts, the commercialism of it all, really bothered me. There are so many hurting people in the world that have so much less then I do. I feel that this is where Jesus would want us to give gifts. To really show the love of Christ to a hurting world. So I am focusing more on Jesus everyday. Taking time to do my devotions, read the bible and pray that God will show me how I can touch someone else's life. I am refusing to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of a hurried commercial Christmas. I am giving myself "Grace" to not worry about the Christmas cards, or the perfectly wrapped present and all of the baking and focus on how I can make a difference in someone else's life. It feels so good and I feel peace and Joy! Thank you for your inspiring devotion..... BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD....Psalm 46:10

Anonymous said...

I love the words your chose to go with COCOA. This year my daughter got married and moved within an hour away from us where she did live 13 hours away. She wants to start a family and that's what keeping Christ in Christmas. I just had two surgeries in Oct. and still recovering so I know the greatest gifts God has given us is Jesus and to know what's important in life, family and friends and share with them.

Ju said...

I love the hot COCOA devotional. We are trying to teach our kids that there is something more important at Christmas than the gifts. We are so blessed. We are trying to show others that Jesus is the reason for the season, and for what we have everyday.

Michelle D said...

I love listening to Christ centerd Christmas music, especially "Snow", Christmas album by Go Fish! We have a nativity set displayed in our living room. We have been using the 12 Family Life Adorenaments for a family devotion to learn more about the names of Christ. On Christmas Eve, my family will attend our church's Christmas Eve service.

KT said...

Tracie excellent devotion with COCOA. Also many of the ideas you have listed in your blog I am already doing, We gave collected a number of nativity sets over the years for varous reasons and last Christmas I told my husband let's leave them all out this year. So they all were left out in place of other items we normally display and it has made such a difference in where my focus has been thru the year. You and all the other wonder Proverbs 31 ladies are a blessing to me and I pray everyone of you will experience a truly blessed Christmas. Kay

Kim Volk said...

My bestfriend passed away on December 5th. What I have missed since then is talking to her about all that is going on in my life. But what I have discovered is that I am turning to the Lord more now and talking to Him. My days are very busy and hurried and I find myself pausing and asking Him for help and direction and as I see Him at work it encourages me to keep my mind on Him. After all, it is about Him and not all the parties and everything else that is going at 90 miles an hour. When all else ends, He is the only who is always there.

VKB said...

This is a WONDERFUL devotional. One of our family's Christmas traditions is to make a huge batch of homemade "instant" cocoa, put it in Christmas jars w/ribbon and give it out to our friends and family. We try to do it at the beginning of the Christmas season so they can enjoy it all through the month. Since reading this - we now have more to add to our tradition and can share the COCOA message, (with your permission - please) & witness of the TRUE meaning of Christmas! It will also make our "cocoa tradition" much more meaningful for my three little granddaughters; they are small now ages 2,3,& 5. What a great way to teach them that you can enjoy "tradition" (hot chocolate) while still celebrating Christ's birth as the focus of Christmas! THANK YOU so much again, for sharing this with all of us.

mep said...

Tracie thank you for these ideas. I made my mother a blessing box and put it in the toe of her stocking. She's 86 and lives alone 3000 miles from me. Please pray that it brings comfort to her when she's feeling lonely or troubled.

Janet W. said...

Hi Tracie!
I'm trying to keep Jesus first in my mind this Christmas season by not getting stressed about what all I need to do!

Merry Christmas,
Janet W.

Colleen Reske said...

I set up our Nativity on my hutch by the kitchen table where we see it often. I am a singer and enjoy the beauty and joy of the season through the music I share. My favorites are the songs that tell the Christmas story in so many ways. I am enjoying writing encouraging articles on my blog "Hope to find" to help others keep Christ centered amidst their holiday preparations.

Veronica said...

I really needed this.... It gives ab different perspective and the one that hit was the nativity scene and discussing scriture with my son. Thanks for encouragement ....veronica

Lynn said...

I have been doing a lot more praying and Bible studying (not just reading) this year and it is spilling over to my Christmas preparations. Although in my head I knew the real reason for celebrating I still got caught up in the festivities. I am much more peaceful this year and grateful for all the blessings God gives each and every day. Thank you for your words of encouragement and instruction.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the Cocoa gift idea. This year is extremely tight, and this is a great way to let people know you care for them without hurting your budget! And the focus on GOD is such a blessing- for the giver and the receiver!

Anonymous said...

I keep Christ in Christmas by putting out my homemade nativity scene and if possible, I attend the Christmas Eve service at my church.
Donna
fitzh2o1@frontier.com

Mama Mpira said...

I love the idea of the treasure box. I host a ladies breakfast once a month and we are thinking about gifts and giving, so I will give them a tiny notecard to take home to write the gift THEY would give Jesus. Thank you for all your 'decoration' ideas!

Leigh F said...

We do a nativity every year where you open a box for 7 nights to see what the gift was. The kids look forward to it every year.

Dorothy said...

Our church has just completed its seventh year of what we call The Nativity Trail. We take visitors on a hay ride trip to Bethlehem to see the birth of Christ. It's a humbling experience and a great reminder that it's all about HIM! Amen!

Donna said...

I sing in the choir and we sing at 2 of our 5 Christmas Eve services. My kids (and now my grand babies) come to the last service. On Christmas morning we read the Christmas story before we begin opening gifts.

Anonymous said...

I have several nativities and see them throughout our house.
Martha T.@CRPrairie1@imonmail.com

A Mom After God's Own Heart said...

Thank you for this. It was so needed for me today. One way I do is to read the Bible accounts of The Nativity story in different Bible Translations throughout the month and reflect on how Mary would have felt through this special time in her life.

SandyN said...

Christmas music, church activities, and our daily lives all keep Christ in our Christmas.

GrammaGrits said...

Definitely Christmas music keeps me mindful of the season and Christ's birth! Thanks for the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

I try to go above and beyond in my giving this month - in time, in prayer, in helping out, and in all ways that I feel can make a difference to those who are hurting. I also do an Advent devotional (Rediscovering the Chrsitmas Season on YouVersion.com is this year's devotional, and I'm really enjoying it so far). - Kris C.

Ollie said...

Thank you so much for reminding us of the real reason for Christmas. I love this season because CHRISTmas is the reason for the season! Love what you did with my favorite winter hot drink cocoa. We do need to remember that it's not about us or that special gift we are hoping to receive but the real gift is to receive "the Gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior."

Courtney said...

I'm visiting from the first time from P31 because I enjoyed your writing there so much. I appreciate these additional ideas here, too, especially the idea to thank God for the blessings of the past year. If I take the time to really think about that, there are so many things I have to be grateful for. It is going to take a long time for me to thank God for all that, but it will be a worthwhile exercise. Thanks for your inspiring words!

Letty said...

I try to be intentional about looking for people in need I can minister to with food, money or encouragement throughout December. We set a limit to spend on gifts for each of our immediate family and if we have an abundance, look for others to bless.

Carla said...

I love this devotional. I copied it, changed the font to cursive and printed it out. I will be giving it to a Christian friend who is a widow with 3 kids. I also printed another copy and gave it to a friend at work who is a Christian. I love cocoa so this is a great way during the winter season to keep Christ close. Thank you for this great acrostic !

Ann : ) said...

This year we started the tradition of having a child friendly nativity under the Christmas tree for our young granddaughters to play with.

Elaine Segstro said...

We like to celebrate Christmas as Jesus's birthday (Dec. 25). Our presents are done on Dec. 5 - St. Nicholas day. When our boys were little we had a birthday cake for Jesus and sang Happy Birthday to him. Now we still try to focus on Him with church and reading the Nativity Story.

Ann-Margret said...

Great suggestions!

To keep my focus on Christ at Christmas, I have pared back things like decorating, gift-giving, dressing up, etc. I try to focus more on worship and meditation and I've become more involved in the planning of the Christmas program at church, encouraging more emphasis on the life and ministry of Jesus (i.e. why he came to earth in the first place) than simply focussing on the baby in the manger.

Pam G. said...

I keep Christ in Christmas by praying for others. Wishing others Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays (most seem to like Merry Christmas better). Giving to organizations that help others & donating items. We will be worshiping on Christmas morning by praising our Lord. Making sure our grandkids watch some of the real meaning of Christmas shows. Mostly trying to love others more.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for this great devotion! These are wonderful ideas. Each year, we look for a way to bless a child outside of our family...someone at church with a need, filling Operation Christmas boxes, and this year my son's Junior Church is collecting money to purchase chickens/goats for families overseas for sustenance. We also keep an annual journal of activities we did that year and answer questions, such as "Who is God", "Describe God", etc. It is precious to read past years responses and how much they have grown in the Lord year by year!

Anonymous said...

I celebrate by buying a birthday cake for Jesus in honor of His birthday on Christmas and share it with either church members or with family.

Enger Adventures said...

Thank you for the lovely reminder in today's devotion.

Faith said...

We are planning a bday party for Jesus with cupcakes that I hope my newly tonsiless 6 year old can eat:) Missed this devo yesterday and but LOVED it and glad I read it today.:) Merry Christmas!

Karen said...

Tracie, thank you for the COCOA devotion and sharing 10 Ways to Decorate Your Heart for Christmas!
My hubby and I are empty nesters and our family is scattered so we won't all be together for Christmas, but God is good and gives us what we need each day. I start my day in His word reading through the Chronological Bible with Wendy. It has been such a blessing and I want to be a blessing! I read the Proverbs 31 devotions each day for encouragement and usually save Friday's to read on Saturday. Thank you for all you do!
Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

Karen - cent. OR

kimberlyf said...

What a good and sweet word! I like to keep Christ in Christmas by being others focused and teaching my children the importance of blessing others, so that in a season where their hearts are more inclined to be open, they may know God by our love. Also i keep Christ IN Christmas by leaving OUT Santa. :-)

Anonymous said...

I have placed a nativiin every room to remind me to to us on HIM!

Beth Meverden said...

I just read your COCOA devotion this morning. It was really inspiring. Some ways we keep Christ in Christmas are: doing a Pocket Advent with Scripture, clues and a symbol of each Scripture; getting a gift for another family through Samaritan's Purse; celebrating Christ's birth by doing a "Loving Widows Week" (writing letters, making phone calls, visiting with goodies and making meals). Thanks for your ministry!

Beth Meverden said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the devotion! Remembering to share the love that God showed toward us when he sent the baby Jesus is the best way I know to keep Christ in CHRISTmas. Focusing on the real reasons behind the holiday means putting Christ at the center during the whole year but we get to enjoy the extra reminders at Christmas with beautiful music, decorations (like the nativity scene) and special meals (including in our family a birthday cake for Jesus) and kind acts that honor the Jesus.

Word Wise Pro said...

I will think of cocoa in a different light now! Thanks for the new perspective. All around us, Christ is being taken out of Christmas. Our family keeps Christ in Christmas by participating in several activities that benefit those less fortunate. For us, that IS the Christmas spirit. To serve others as Jesus did.