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Keeping Christ in Christmas

At the Yuletide season someone always asks, “How can we keep Christ in Christmas?” The answer is simple—try! Christ can be kept at the center of your Christmas if you put forth an effort. Here is my recipe of three specific things that your family can do:

1. Remember the reason for the exchanging of gifts. This has become the dominant feature of Christmas for many families. Parents, make clear to children the reason for exchanging gifts—it is only symbolic of God’s great gift to us, namely Christ the Prince of Peace. Children should be taught to give as well as receive. It is best if children are encouraged to buy gifts with their own money, especially gifts for the needy. 

2. Keep Santa Claus in his place. I would not want to do away with the Santa Claus tradition. A certain amount of harmless make-believe is a part of a child’s growing up, and all children outgrow Santa in a few years’ time. But Santa should never be allowed to usurp the Christ Child’s place. Make sure children understand that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. When children are taught only about Santa Claus and nothing about Christ, Christmas becomes very empty of significance. 

3. Have a brief family worship on Christmas morning. Here is a simple plan:

First, have the family sing several carols together, such as “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World”—or listen to a recording of them.

Then, using images from the Internet or pictures on your religious Christmas cards, piece together the story of the birth of Christ as you recall it. Make it a game. You may begin by selecting a picture of the angel that appears to Mary and Joseph. Next, look for the city of Bethlehem, the shepherds, the wise men, the manger scene, etc. Then ask various members of the family to read aloud verses that pertain to these scenes. 

Finally, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for Christ the Savior, our church, our nation, and our friends. Remember also those who are still in spiritual darkness around the world. Pray for “peace on earth, and good will toward men.”

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Paul W. Powell - www.PaulPowellLibrary.com

Today's Devotional

Applied Christianity

I once talked with a man who was convinced that Christianity was a failure. His conclusion was based on the fact that while our cities are full of churches and preachers, our world is getting worse and worse.

If you think about this criticism, you must agree that there is much religion in America that has little effect on the daily lives of people. While the number of church members may grow each year, so does lawlessness and immorality. But does this mean that Christianity is a failure? No. At the close of World War I a soap manufacturer, walking down the street with his pastor, was bemoaning the “failure” of Christianity. He said to his pastor, “After 19 centuries of preaching and teaching Christ, there is still so much evil in the world. I don’t see how you can go on preaching the Gospel.” 

“I don’t see how you can go on manufacturing soap,” retorted the pastor. “Look at the little urchin playing in the gutter. Neck and ears filthy. There’s still so much dirt in the world. Soap is such a failure.”

“But,” countered the soap manufacturer, “If people will just apply the soap, they’ll be clean.”

“Yes,” concluded the pastor, “and if men will but apply Christ to their daily living, they will also be clean.” 

The evil of today’s world is not due to Christianity’s failure, but to our failure to apply our Christianity. As writer G.K. Chesterton said, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and not tried."

Attend church Sunday, listen to God’s word, then apply it to your daily life and you and the world will both be better because of it.

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