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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

Togetherness in Marriage

Celebrated English poet John Milton said, “Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named not good.” There is a loneliness in us that only God can satisfy. But there is also a type of loneliness—a longing for togetherness—that only another can satisfy. We all need the togetherness that only another human can provide. Ruth expresses the kind of togetherness I am talking about when she said, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).

This was Ruth speaking to her mother-in-law, of course. But it is equally a statement of the complete togetherness that is to characterize marriage. In marriage we need to be together in the following ways:

1. Physically. “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.” God’s plan for marriage is that we leave our father and our mother and be with our mate. This leaving is to be total so that the new relationship can be shared totally. You should leave your parents geographically (get out of their house), leave them economically (get out of their pocketbook), and leave them emotionally (get out of their hair).

2. Emotionally. “Thy people shall be my people.” Marriage is more than the blending of two lives, it is the blending of two families. You do marry a person’s family. If life is shared in the deepest sense, it must include a person’s family also.

3. Spiritually. “Thy God shall be my God.” There can be no complete togetherness without a sharing of your faith. Spiritual unity (i.e., being committed to Christ) is more important than denominational unity (i.e., being in the same church), but it is best when both are shared. Marriage is best when you can say, “Our Father, our house, our children, our church.”

4. Permanently. “Where thou diest, I will die.” Every day the distance time-wise between the marriage altar and the divorce court gets shorter and shorter. This ought not to be. It is God’s plan that two people be committed together for life. It is only when this is true that we find our highest fulfillment in marriage.

We should all work to strengthen togetherness in marriage. It is one of life’s greatest blessings.

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