Focusing on Worship

Looking for unique worship experiences is also important to families during the Christmas season and they often begin by celebrating Advent.

Karen Witemeyer has a wooden Advent scene that hangs on the wall. Beginning Dec. 1st, her children open the first little box and pull out a tiny piece of the nativity. Each piece has an accompanying scripture telling of the incarnation. But she encourages people to celebrate advent with their children with or without fancy props. "Before we got the wooden set we did something similar using portions of scripture each night. Celebrating Advent is a great way to spread the excitement of Christmas over the whole month and use the time to focus on the Savior."

Carrie Turansky author, homeschooling mom, and wife of Dr. Scott Turansky, founder of The National Center for Biblical Parenting (www.biblicalparenting.org), says her family has special books they save to be read only at Christmastide. They read some of the books aloud and others on their own, allowing them to worship as a family or in solitude.

Worshipping through the visual arts is a blessing that can easily be overlooked. "Take time to look at art that portrays the Christmas story," says Carrie. "Let your children try their hand at creating a Christmas drawing or painting. Younger children can create a collage from old Christmas cards. These gifts can then be offered to Jesus as an act of worship or to the neighbors as an act of service."

Like other families, the Turanskys have a special collection of music they bring out for the season. "Many of the Christmas Carols have wonderful stories behind them," Carrie says. She recommends sharing with your children the stories behind the carols to give them a deeper understanding of their worship. She recommends Joni Eareckson Tada's book, Christmas Carols for a Kid's Heart, which includes stories of 12 Christmas carols and a fully orchestrated CD.

Music is also a part of Evelyn Evans favorite Christmas experiences. One occurred when a friend invited her family to join in listening to the Hallelujah Chorus. "We used a Bible and looked up verses as we went along," said Evelyn. "The fireplace was on and the room quiet. Scented candles flickered while we enjoyed the music, spicy cookies, and hot tea. It was wonderful." Evelyn recommends selecting only portions of the work if children are present. "You don't want the experience to become so long that the younger ones can't appreciate it."

A special worship tradition for the James family starts about 4:00am on Christmas morning, when the world is quiet. "I make a treat like hot chocolate and some cookies or muffins, and we light candles, but have no other light," said mom, Pamela. "We sit together holding hands while my husband says a beautiful prayer. Then, we sing songs that really bring into focus what it means to be a Christian. We like the wee hours because we can worship in peace. There are no people knocking at the door or calling on the phone. It's just us and the Lord and it's awesome."

Bringing Christ Home

Whether you choose to incorporate one of these ideas into your family tradition or have a special tradition of your own, may this Christmas be a blessed time of bringing Christ home to your family.

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A home schooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website offers home schooling hints, book reviews, and a free weekly devotional, Soul Scents. Subscribe to Soul Scents at www.soulscents.us. You can contact Paula at Paula@soulscents.us.