Christmas is going to be very different this year. We aren’t sure what it will look like, but it will be different.
Family traditions of the season are very important. For many years Focus on the Family has encouraged families to develop traditions around Advent and Christmas. Before James Dobson retired from Focus he often talked about his family’s tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas day. That’s not my tradition. I go for the turkey. It’s easier. But hey, they ate Chinese in the movie A Christmas Story, so why not?
This year, however, traditions will be changed. And some of us may feel the absence of those traditions very sharply.
So let me make a simple but I think important suggestion. Develop something new. Make it a practice, throughout the seasons of Advent and Christmas, to deliberately and repeatedly focus on what Christmas is all about.
That suggestion is no surprise to you, so may I give you some specifics. First, a few seasonal details. Advent begins Sunday Nov. 29 this year and ends on Christmas Eve. It includes 4 Sundays. Christmas day begins the “twelve days of Christmas” season. That’s right, its not just a song, it’s a season, from Christmas Day to January 6, Epiphany. The visit of the Wise Men is celebrated on Epiphany.
Each week will focus on a scripture that is connected to worship at this time of year.
Nov. 29 and throughout that week read and reread, Isaiah 11:1-9. Advent means the King is Coming. What GREAT HOPE! The shoot of Jesse is Jesus. Notice how Jesus is described and what he will do when he comes. Make a list of both things, adding something each day.
Dec. 6. The king is COME. What GREAT JOY! Read Isaiah 9:1-7. Notice that light shines because a Son is born. Write down who the Son is.
Dec. 13 Jesus is God in flesh, What GREAT REDEMPTION! Read Isaiah 53:1-12. How is Jesus’ sacrifice described and what does it do?
Dec. 20 Jesus is with me. What GREAT STRENGTH. Read Isaiah 7:13, 14 and Matt 1:18-18. What does Emanuel mean... to you?
Dec 25 Jesus Christ is born! Read Luke 2:1-20. If you have kids, get them together AFTER the gift frenzy and read it together. Remind everyone on Christmas Day that Jesus’ birth is what we are celebrating.
You may miss seeing the relatives, but you may your sense of joy strengthen, as you focus on Christ at his birth.
God bless you,
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.