Thursday, December 22, 2016

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas


 This is only the second time that Christmas has fallen on a Sunday in Redeemer's history. This year we thought we would pour all our attention and energy into our Christmas Eve and then offer some resources to have a meaningful gathering at home with your loved ones on Christmas morning. We hope you will find at least a few suggestions that will work for your family, and perhaps spark a few ideas of your own!
  1. Read the Christmas Story - As long as I can remember growing up, the Tottens would read Luke 2:1-21 before we opened presents. Now I'll admit, as a young kid I didn't appreciate this as much as I do now. But another option if you've got real little ones is to read the Christmas story from the Jesus Storybook Bible. Don't have it? You can also watch it here on YouTube.
  2. Christmas Morning Worship - Most of us will have music playing in the background on Christmas morning anyway. Well, we've put together a small collection of Christmas carols and worship songs as a YouTube playlist. And if you've got someone tech-savvy enough, each of these videos includes all the lyrics. You can put it up on your TV and have an all-out worship service together! :)




  3. Give Jesus a Gift - Set aside some time on Sunday morning to give a monetary gift to a charity, compassion or mission organization. Perhaps even have a few picked out and let the children decide which one to give to. Take this time to remind them that Jesus modeled this sort of giving for us on Christmas:
    Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:3-7 ESV)
  4. Give Others a Great Gift - Demonstrate the undeserved grace of God on Christmas by giving a gift to your hardest-to-love neighbor or—perhaps harder still—forgiveness to a family member who has wronged you. The Gospel is that through Christmas (and the cross), God made family out of his enemies, and he calls us to love with that same sort of sacrifice.
  5. Observe Communion During Christmas Dinner - While this might seem out of placeto commemorate the death of Jesus on the day we celebrate his birth—it's actually a poignant reminder of the very reason Jesus came. The incarnation was for this very purpose:
    Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-18 ESV)
    Not only that, but as we take communion and proclaim "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again", we remind ourselves that Christmas is not the ultimate coming of Jesus that we fix our eyes on. There is a future coming that will overshadow the first, and when we in communion remind ourselves of his second coming, we are seeing the first Christmas in it's proper context.
  6. Slow Down - This is still a day of rest, after all! Enjoy the morning, enjoy the season, enjoy the true spirit of Christmas that reminds us that because God became a man and did all that needed to be done for us to be right with God, we can now rest—really rest. Your ultimate approval and acceptance does not rest in giving the perfect gift, or cooking the perfect meal, or being the perfect host. It is in Christ alone.

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