Countdown to Christmas
Focus on the joy and meaning of the season by sharing in a simple family activity each day leading up to Christmas. You can also follow along on Instagram as we post activities each week on our @churchoftherez account.
Go outside and spend a few moments in silence looking up at the stars. Imagine how the wise men felt as they sought Jesus, leaving their homes to follow a star. As you look at the stars, pray that God will lead you to find Jesus every day in each part of your life.
When your family sits down to eat, sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus after you pray. You might even bake a cake and decorate it to celebrate the birth of Jesus. After your meal, walk around to the homes in your neighborhood singing Christmas carols. Include “Happy Birthday” to Jesus among the carols.
Read the Christmas story found in Luke 2:1-20. Be creative and act it out
As you look at Christmas trees, remember they are called evergreens, reminding us of the everlasting love of God found in Jesus! Choose a favorite ornament and share with someone why it is your favorite.
Choose a few favorite Christmas songs to sing with your family. Consider writing a praise song to sing as well.
We are to listen to and know the word of God. Choose some favorite Scripture verses. Write them on slips of paper and place them in a container, creating a “Blessing Box.” Each day, choose one from the box and read the verse aloud or select one each week to read repeatedly and memorize.
Mary treasured special moments in her heart. Take a photo or draw a picture of your family doing something that you treasure in your hearts. Ideas could include praying together, playing games, eating a family meal or vacationing. Journal special words that have been said to you.
Mary and Joseph had both challenges and joys as they raised Jesus. Offer a spoken or written prayer for the children in your family – immediate family, extended family, family of faith. Thank God for creating each child in God’s image. Ask for guidance as you serve as a parent or loved one in each child’s life.
Pile in the car and drive around the community looking at Christmas lights. Look for all the characters in the Christmas story including Mary, Joseph, the angels, the wise men, some animals, the innkeeper and, of course, Baby Jesus!
Sunday School guides, teachers and other volunteers give generously of their time, helping us understand God’s teaching. Write a thank you note to someone and deliver it in person on Sunday or mail it.
Discuss what your family has done this year that would be considered a “gift to the Lord.” Think of a way you could give one more “gift to the Lord” this holiday season. Consider creating a gift for another person, helping a child or family in need, making a financial contribution to a church or agency.
Mary and Joseph were amazed at the things that were said about their son. Take a few minutes to say one nice thing about each member of your family. Write these down and put them with your holiday decorations to uncover next year.
Place the name of each family member in a jar. Ask each person to draw a name. Encourage each family member to serve as a “secret servant” to the person whose name they drew. Serve one another by doing kind deeds, drawing pictures, helping with chores, encouraging with hugs or thoughtful words.
Worship God through prayer, scripture, dancing, singing, coloring, playing instruments and breaking bread – all in honor and praise of God.
Spend some time simplifying your living space. Clear out some of the toys, books, clothes and other belongings. Mindfully select what your family will keep. Take gently used items to secondhand stores. Give thanks to God for what you have and help those less resourced.
Create a celebration Christmas chain for your family. Cut several strips of green and red paper. Ask each family member to write or tell you something he or she can celebrate. Write one on each strip of paper and connect the strips together forming a chain. Add to this each day as you wish. Give thanks to God for your many blessings.
Turn off the lights in the room. Light one candle. Talk about how Jesus came to be the Light of the World. Discuss how your family can be light in the darkness also.
Write a Christmas prayer together as a family, encouraging ideas from all members – young and old.
Build relationships and share your faith with others this Advent season. Invite someone to your home for a simple dinner or dessert. Interview an older couple or person, asking about their holiday traditions and memories and what makes Christmas meaningful for them. Offer to care for the children of a single parent, a busy couple or a neighbor.
Ask one another, “If you could give the entire world one gift this Christmas, what would it be and why?”
In this busy season, take a moment each day to be quiet and still before God. Encourage members of your family to close their eyes and breathe deeply, giving thanks for God’s presence.
Giving care to others is one way we can show God’s love. Buy or bake sugar cookies, then frost and decorate them as a family. Share them with someone who may feel alone or sad this season. Spend time visiting with the person and pray he or she experiences God’s comfort and love.
Pray as a family saying, “Dear God, thank you for Advent and Christmas. Thank you for this time when we can focus on Jesus and his love. Please help our hearts be open this season so we can grow to know, love and serve you more deeply. Help us to share your love with all people. Amen.”
Enjoy a family Christmas movie together. Watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Talk about the themes of peace and talk about how you can be peacemakers in your family, your community, and your world. Pray for peace everywhere.
As you receive Christmas cards, place the cards at the dinner table. Each night, pray for the members of the family whose cards you received that day. Do the same as you send greetings to others.