There’s a lot of hopelessness in the world right now, but Christmas is a time to celebrate the greatest hope that exists for human beings. The hope that salvation brings through Jesus! This episode will encourage you to think through how to instill generosity, share the gospel, create traditions, and keep the focus on the Lord during Christmas with your family.
In This Episode We Cover:
- Don’t judge other believers’ Christmas traditions.
- Discuss your family traditions as a couple.
- Ways to keep the focus on Jesus.
- Helpful resources to use with your kids.
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Scripture In This Episode:
Colossians 3:14-16 – “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Romans 14:4-6 – “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, o bserves it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.”
Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Luke 12:15 – “And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
2 Corinthians 4:4-11 – whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Luke 2:2-20 – “This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
- Favorite Christmas Books: http://courageousmom.com/favorite-christmas-bks/
- The Santa Controversy: Is Your Child’s Heart Distracted From the True Meaning of Christmas? http://courageousmom.com/the-santa-controversy/
- Reuse Your Christmas Tree by Turning it into a Resurrection Cross: http://courageousmom.com/easter-tradition/
- Give Yourself Some Grace Mama: A Special Message to a Pregnant or Postpartum Mom During the Holidays http://courageousmom.com/give-grace-mama/
Previous Christmas Podcasts:
- Should Christians Celebrate Christmas: https://courageousparenting.com/episodes/should-christians-celebrate-christmas/
- A Special Christmas Episode for the Whole Family: https://courageousparenting.com/episodes/a-special-christmas-episode-for-the-whole-family/
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Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show with parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.
Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom, and I’m Isaac from Resolute Man. We’ve been married for 21 years and have seen the fruit from raising our eight kids biblically. Based on the raw truth found in the Bible, we can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children.
Too many children from Christian families are walking away from their faith by age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Join us as we start an important conversation about effective parenting.
Welcome back to the podcast. Hello, everybody. We’re excited to talk about Christmas today. I know I can’t believe it’s already that time of year. Oh, we’re loving it.
We have our own Christmas tree story already, but we may or may not get to that kind of hoping.
We don’t get to that one little bit.
There is no maybe so we had some experiences, but we’re super excited to be sharing this because so many people have been reaching out asking for resources, haven’t they?
That’s right. Yes. So many people know that over the years, just blogging and writing and even teaching in moms groups, we’ve shared I’ve shared a lot of different resources for helping you to keep the focus on Jesus during this holiday season, during the Christmas season.
And so I’ve been getting a lot of messages, people saying, where are those blog posts? Where are the links to those books? What are your favorite advent devotionals? What kind of traditions do you do? And we actually have articles written on all of those questions. So we will put links to those in the podcast notes. Yeah. Which you can find at courageous parenting dot com. If you just go to the hamburger menu button and you push podcast, you’ve probably been talking about Christmas for a dozen years now.
Yeah, probably even more.
Yeah. Yeah. So a lot of good stuff packed in here before we get into it. That world is changing. Obviously everybody knows that. Right. We all have different opinions about what’s happening. I sense probably a lot of us, a lot of you with us are in alignment about many things, actually about what seems obvious. Someone just messaged me right before this podcast saying it seems like a lot of people have blinders on more on the non Christian side of things. But although there are some Christians with blinders for sure, just not seeing what’s going on. And so it’s a lot going on. So with that in mind, we want to have a direct connection with you. We don’t know how much longer we’ll be on Instagram or Facebook, for example. We don’t know how much longer will be allowed to say beyond Apple iTunes podcast or Google Play or these kinds of things. So what’s really important these days is that we have a direct connection with each other. One way we have a direct connection is through email. So if you’ve not signed up for our email list, I would encourage you to do that. Egregious parenting, dotcom. Also, all of these episodes with all the resources and everything we talk about is on the podcast Under the Tabs. But if you’re new to the site, a pop up should appear to sign up for or subscribe. If that doesn’t happen, you can message us if you want to be part of that. Also, another way to be directly connected with us in a better way, more safe way maybe is to join us on parler. We haven’t done a lot in the parlor app, but we so far are seeing that that’s a more safe place to be able to continue on social media, perhaps these kinds of things. So anyways, we encourage you to do that. Also, we’re getting settled in.
But you could be praying for Angie because she has some serious morning sickness.
Yeah, I’m thankful because it’s a sign that the baby’s healthy, but it’s been rough, I think, for everybody in the family on different levels. Definitely an opportunity for growth and sanctification again.
But, you know, even last night was a really hard night for me. Yeah. Really, I was really sick last night, so I just continued prayers for me because we’ve got a lot on our plate and it’s hard to get up the energy to even shoot a podcast.
Yeah, sometimes just talking makes me feel like I’m going to vomit.
So which you would even know more about if you got our email today, which was an update on the Tobins in the ministry. So make sure you get that stuff, because we do share CampbellI there, too. All right. We’re talking about parenting tips for Christmas. And we’re going to start by talking about not judging each other, other Christians, about their traditions.
Yeah. So Christmas has become, I would say, over the last while we’ve been married.
Twenty one years. Yeah. And I would say that it’s increasingly become a contentious subject among many Christians. And obviously everyone carries their own baggage and their own traditions, both, you know, things that they are really thankful for and maybe things that they’re like, oh, I definitely don’t want to do that with my family right now.
And so in knowing that, I think that it’s just really important that we have Grace with one another. I mean, it doesn’t mean just even judging other people takes energy. And we don’t want to waste energy on that during especially when there’s so many good things going on during this time of year. And so Isaac and I thought it would be really encouraging just to share a few scriptures with you guys and to maybe challenge you in your perspective. And so. For us, we have shared you guys know, if you’ve been following this for any amount of time, we did a podcast on why or should Christians celebrate Christmas. That was last year. Adaptions beforehand and put a link in this in the podcast notes to that one also, because it’s a totally different podcast than this one. And you know that that is definitely our opinion based upon our personal convictions. And we are good friends with people who have different convictions than we do, but we’re still able to be good friends. And so I just want to challenge you with that, that, yeah, it’s important to be in fellowship with people who are like minded.
Hey, we is like mindedness. We know people that don’t do the Christmas tree. We know people that do the Christmas tree, but not the stockings. We know people that do the tree and stockings, but not the gifts.
Yeah. You guys, at a point, we know people don’t do any of them. Yeah, exactly.
And you know what though, that we’re looking for us, maybe to them we have seemed different than them. Maybe. I have no idea. Yeah. But what we have experienced is love and grace going both ways. And so we just want to encourage you guys, challenge you guys with that as well. Now, does that mean that we just do every tradition or every cultural thing that comes our way without researching it and praying about it?
Absolutely not. Well, no, like, absolutely. And I might make a little judgment if someone’s doing this.
Absolutely. Don’t lie to your kids about Santa Claus. That is one place I might have a real strong opinion.
I mean, we’ve talked we talked about this on the Santa versus Grinch podcast so you could go back and listen to that.
But, you know, we don’t want to create a pathway of lying about something magical, miraculous, something with a superpower or something, because they see they can’t see, which is kind of what we encourage them to believe about Jesus later, right?
Yeah, it can just cause some well, for especially for certain kids that are more logically analytically minded, it can become a real thing that they struggle with in knowing what to believe is true and trusting mom and dad later.
So but we do teach about Saint Nick because he was a real dude. That’s right. Yes.
We share those resources to in fact, we have a whole article on courageous mom dotcom. We’ll also link to that. That is on the Santur controversy.
Just make sure your kids don’t tell other kids where maybe their parents are wrestling with this and haven’t worked it out yet. Always believe parents should be the leaders, their kids. That’s right.
Can we talk about that in the article, too, you guys? So if that if Santa is a big question in your mind, we have a lot of resources on that. We talk about it in both the podcast and on articles on courageous mom dot com. So we’re not going to dive deep into that. But we do just want to challenge you guys that while we should encourage one another not to judge what other people’s convictions are, that doesn’t mean that you don’t do research.
You don’t pray about and evaluate different tradition opportunities with your spouse and then come up with some personal convictions, if you will. Yeah, and I would also say hold some of them loosely. I know that over the years we didn’t have it all together the first five.
So it I still don’t you know, we’re still navigating this thing some years.
I’m like, wow. Even though we tried hard, the kids seemed a little too focused on presents. That’s happened before. And then we kind of recalibrate. Absolutely. I think on the judging thing, though, we we are to judge make judgments about other believers in terms of judging the fruit, the fruit, you know, and then the local nature of things, maybe how much fellowship we have with them or exposed you are to make judgments about these things for the protection of your family or fruitfulness of your family. But when it comes to issues like whether to have a Christmas tree or not, that is just not something that we should care about if somebody is doing it or not.
Doing what we’re saying is this is one of those open handed versus a close handed issue when it comes to salvation. OK, now some people say, but whole Christmas trees are pagan idol worship right now. And we’ve done the research on that, you guys. And the reason why I’m saying this is because people will end up emailing me saying I just really wish you would do your research on that. And, well, I actually have. And so as Isaac and we get that there is a history of pagan worship behind that, the history of people using Christmas trees. But guess what? There’s also other stories in there are redeemable aspects to having a Christmas tree as a traditional item.
And this is the thing. That’s why if you judge it and you don’t know the intention of the person’s hard behind, then you could be judging in accurately. Yeah. And it could make you potentially judge a person and make other boundaries or whatever based upon your inaccurate judgement. And so we need to remember that man only sees outward appearance. God judges the heart like it says in scripture. But there are other ways. I’m just going to go there, I’m going to say I view a Christmas tree the way I view a pumpkin. So if you’ve listened to should Christians celebrate Halloween, we are definitely not Halloween celebrators. No, you can go back and listen to that podcast. But I am not a I’m not about to give any good creation that God made to to the devil. He’s not allowed to own it. OK, so he can’t have a pumpkin and he doesn’t get the Christmas tree. It says in Genesis that God created the plants in the trees. And what did he say? He said, it is good. It is good. And so it is all in the eye of the beholder. It is all your responsibility. Right. It’s your responsibility to not make an idol out of things, to not make an idol out of a Christmas tree. And if people did do that, you can do something different. And you know what? We actually have tools. There is a book called The Legend of the Christmas Tree. This is an awesome book that we’ve read to our kids on that points to Jesus. And we also do another tradition now, just since we’re talking about Christmas trees. Yeah, we have for years, I think since I was four or five, saved our Christmas tree and allowed a different kid each year to turn it into the resurrection cross that we use at the the Resurrection Sunday.
Yeah, come April. And that’s just a fun craftsy project where they take all the branches off the tree using a little saw and then they turn it into a cross. And it’s a special thing to remember Jesus’s birth and how it’s connected to the resurrection, the death and resurrection of Jesus. And so there are ways that you can actually make it a memorable thing that gets kids hands involved, that they look back on their childhood and they remember Jesus and it points to him.
Kanfer Unity here. Colossians three fourteen through sixteen. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body. And be thankful that the word of Christ dwell in you richly and all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. So, so important. Let’s have unity and. But let’s figure out what our convictions are with the Holy Spirit prompting us to do. And let’s celebrate Christmas. Let’s have great Christmases superimportant. By the way, side note, you have to be, you know, going to church or with other people to sing hymns and spiritual songs.
So don’t let go of it.
There were rules somebody is imposing upon you cause you to disobey the Bible must be with each other in person. It’s streaming songs and worshipping together through an Internet is kind of what I do.
Just want to share one last thing when it comes to the Christmas tree thing before we move on. Yeah, because I was thinking about this just, you know, critical thinking and logic. You know, one, God doesn’t want to be worshipped the way that idols were worshipped. But he also talks about food that was sacrificed to idols in Romans Chapter fourteen. I’ll just push that out there. Isaac is actually going to read from a different part of Romans Chapter fourteen, I just realized. But that particular chapter talks about not judging someone else because in their conscience, it’s not sin and really evaluating. It’s a challenge actually for Christians to evaluate what is sin and what is not sin.
Right? Yeah, right here. Says says not who, but not him. Who eats despise him. Who does not eat and let not him. Who does not judge him. Who eats for God has received him. Who are you to judge another servant to his own master. He stands or falls. Indeed he will be made to stand for God is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day above another another Systèmes every day like let each be fully convinced in his own mind, he observes the day observes to the Lord, and he does. Who does not observe the day to the Lord. He does not deserve to observe it intoxicating and all this so and so.
And one of the reasons why it talks about eating is actually it talks about this is an important part, says he, who eats eats to the Lord, for he who gives God thinks, and he who does not eat to the Lord. He does not eat and gives God thanks, for none of us lives to himself and no one dies to himself. And that’s an important aspect.
So one might not like to eat bacon and another likes to eat bacon.
I’m on the bacon side, the bacon side. And you know what, though? This is the thing I when I was thinking about Christmas trees and I was thinking logically, I was just totally a God thing that you put that Bible. Isaac looked up the Bible verses for this episode and he put it right there. And I on a totally different note, I’m like writing notes in our podcast is just how we function team work. But I wrote down like people used to sacrifice food to idols. Right. And we don’t do that any more today. We don’t need to because Jesus was the final sacrifice. But does that mean we stopped eating?
Now we still eat food. We still eat food. And so you can still have a Christmas tree, just don’t worship two idols, don’t don’t do it in a way that is going to make an idol out of your Christmas tree, right?
Yeah, absolutely. So let’s talk about traditions more. So it’s super, super important to really think about it.
We encourage you to reevaluate, hey, what are the traditions we’d be doing that we like? And I know we’ve had that discussion before and I would think of a couple. And then as you get a little frustrated with me and go, we have way more traditions than that.
And and then I’m like, yeah, oh, yeah. There’s all these awesome things we do. That’s true. Oh, that’s true. Oh, that’s true. And some of it has to do with how she grew up. Some of it might have to do with how I grew up, but more of it has to do with the Bible and what we decided together. Yeah. And and that’s really cool.
So and I think that, you know, if I had an encouragement for a young couple that’s just starting to have their kids, I would say don’t try to do too much and put pressure on yourself to make it this huge thing that you have to keep up with every single year you can if you want to, if you have the energy. But just give yourself grace as the years go on and you’re adding kids to your family. Because let me just say like that, we’ve had babies during the month of December, we just celebrated two birthdays. Solman was our Black Friday baby. Megan was December 5th. And so they were two times where I was in postpartum, very fresh postpartum during the Christmas season. And I remember having to preach to myself to give myself grace, that it’s not important to do all the things so and to have to limit those were years that I had to go, OK, so maybe this year we aren’t going to do X, Y and Z, but instead we’ll do these things that are important.
And one thing for us, because Isaac’s not really the cookie dough maker kind of guy, Christmas cookies, this is a big project. And when we had Kelsey was four and half when Megan was born. Austin was just 18 months old and here was postpartum, starting with mastitis even. And my mom came over and she did Christmas cookies with the kids.
And I remember just being sad that I wasn’t in there doing it with them and I couldn’t even eat one because I had sugar and that would agitate the mastitis. And so I was just so sad. And I remember thinking, you know what? I got to let it go. I got to give myself grace. And so I just that’s my message to young moms or moms that are pregnant or in postpartum. You have to give yourself grace. You need to reevaluate and maybe limit yourself, change your expectations so that you’re set up for success and not failure. And don’t let there the peer pressures of cultural societal things. Activities make it difficult for you to keep up with the things that are truly the most important.
That’s a good message. So when you’re talking to each other, you’re analyzing, you know, what traditions are we doing that we like and then what traditions do we need to change and what do we want to add? Those are maybe three good questions around the same thing. That can be a very powerful date night conversation and things we have visited over the years. And really because otherwise you just go through the rhythm. Sometimes that has to do with how you spend Christmas, you know, where are you Christmas Eve, where are you the day of Christmas with different family members and things like that. And we had that was probably the hardest discussions we had in our early years because we really had to figure out, OK, are we driving here or driving there? Yeah. Is it is Christmas actually happening in a relaxing, focused and Christ way are we allowing that to be deteriorated because of the travel and pressure from others to be all over the place? Mhm.
Yeah. And so I you know, and this is again over and over again I Isaach and I want to encourage couples that this is something you have to re-evaluate every year because every year you’re potentially in a different season of life. Right. For us in five years I’m excited to be thinking about, OK, how do we potentially we’re going to have more kids in the family. Maybe some will even be married. Right. We might even have grandkids in five or ten years, lord willing. And so there will be we will still be having this conversation. That’s my point. I hope you guys see this as like a growing point in your marriage where you evaluate how did the kids handle it last year. And part of that evaluation process is actually an important family meeting or maybe one on one conversations that you have with your kids before you have your date night where you ask the kids this one important question, what is Christmas all about? And based upon how they answer, you’ll be able to kind of tell what their spiritual thermometer is regarding what really made an impression on them the year before. Yeah, absolutely. So it’s really important that you ask your kids that question, because then you. Come to the meeting together. Also going, OK, but I’m concerned about this kid and this kid because their focus was on this or, you know, they were gone a lot that year because maybe they were in a play. So they weren’t a lot of the functions. You just need to communicate.
I want to take a moment and give you something for free if you haven’t got it already is the date night one. She is a beautiful document you can download that Will has some key questions on it for your date night. Just get in alignment about what’s most important for your family. No matter what time of year, it’s always important to recalibrate. You can get that by going to parenting dotcom and subscribing to our mailing list. Also, you can get all of our show notes and everything, a courageous parenting dotcom. And I also just want to share real quick about the Parenting Mentor program. So many families are being transformed by going through this. It’s the six week self-paced program with live engagement from us and even direct interaction. So if you want to join us, here’s a little bit more about it and you can find out more at courageous parenting.
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It has given me a vision for not just the different things that we might focus on as parents who are trying to raise our kids basically like our kids are behaving or what we’re doing with discipline, but also the things of heart.
We now have a game plan to how we want to raise our children. We have so many answers to the questions that have been in our mind.
It’s not just these hypothetical situations or it’s not just this. Here’s what I think you should do. It’s let me show you where in scripture this is.
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One of the best things that we’ve done this year, one of the best investments we’ve made this year, and I could not recommend it more.
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So let’s reel off a bunch of traditions that we have.
So we do have a Christmas tree and there have been years where we’ve gone to cut them down and then there’s been years where we just bought one.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And we moved that. You guys know that. And I’m like, oh, this can be the year we got cut really awesome tree down. And so we went and I got the Tendler license and we went and I couldn’t find the areas where you can drive off. So to cut a tree down. So how long were you gone? We wasted like three hours, just trying to find like. Yeah, because you have to be a certain number of feet off the road in these kinds of things. I went the wrong direction. I went the direction I knew were trees, wasn’t the direction that would work.
I even had a map and the map said I could get trees in this direction, but there was no place to turn off. Right. So I’m sure I just messed up. But then I asked a neighbor and he said, Oh, you got to go this way. I go sweet the next week. So the next week we go and we there’s lots of trees and we have this beautiful drive and up on this kind of ledge, not a ledge, but a hill. I made it some more you guys did to have to trek. We had a trek in, you know, there’s like two or three feet of snow. So we’re trekking in. Drew and I and Ethan were up on this hill. And, you know, we’re looking down on some of these trees. And this one looks, you know, the best, looks the best.
So I cut this tree down and wait and it looked the best. Why did it look the best?
It was full and the branches were like coming out the proper way. And it was because snow was on there. There was some weight.
I wasn’t thinking about the physics of the situation, but there’s weight on the branches. So because of snow and they always get the tree down is a little bigger than I thought. But anyways, we want to talk more about that. But I bring it home and we put it up and now it’s there’s no snow on it. So the branches are like sticking not straight up, but yeah, pretty much mostly. Basically very vertical.
All of them and all like, well, this tree just chill. The lawn needs to chillax a little bit and it would not chill out.
Right. It just, just was a springy. And then the next day he’s sitting and then it got brown, it started browning them mean kind of brown right from the beginning.
You just didn’t really notice because the snow.
Yeah. So anyways, big error and the family was so supportive they didn’t say anything negative. In fact I heard positive comments which was funny.
And, and then the next day they were all sitting there and I go, that is just the absolute ugliest tree I’ve ever seen.
And everybody starts laughing. So we ended up buying a Christmas tree, buying a tree.
But right down the street from where we live was this awesome place. And I met Marty, one of our neighbors, yet one in town, and he’s a pastor, so was fun to meet him. And I met this other family meeting people. So anyways.
What we’re talking about, traditions, Christmas tree, so we all that to say we get a Christmas tree somehow. Yeah. And we decorate it as a family, which we’re still kind of working on. Yeah.
And because, you know, in and then we do we like the stockings. Absolutely. But everybody knows the parents. Put them, fill them.
It’s kind of like a fun way to easily wrap a few little small gifts.
That’s the way for us to be secretive about small gifts that we can give them, because sometimes as kids get older, we kind of ask them, you know, what they need, want things like that. And they they’re kind of more particular. Yeah. So we can be, you know, surprise them with stockings and then and it’s fun and we do gifts. And what else do we do beyond that stuff?
Well, the kids people have asked me a lot about gifts. And so yeah, we do do gifts but we don’t go overboard. Not to say we haven’t gone overboard in the past. We have. Yeah. And we will never do that again. We just you know, as far as evaluating spiritual thermometer things and realizing, oh yeah, I don’t really like the focus was that year, but we typically have the kids draw names for each other so they get one special gift for one sibling. So that just it helps with cost wise because there’s so many of them. And then they really can put a lot of thought into that one gift. It’s not that they can’t get gifts for others, but they’re kind of assigned to get one gift for one sibling. And then we will do typically about three gifts for each kid, which that wasn’t until like four or five years ago. Everybody’s counting up like we have, you know, ten people in our family. They’re not huge, huge gifts. That’s a lot. We do have a budget for each family and we have a budget for Stockmann kid. Oh, yeah. Yeah, for each kid in our family. And so we we pretty much stick to that budget. We’re pretty, pretty careful with that. But Christmas shopping in the past always started for me, like in September, so that I could get good deals.
So but we do lots of other things not related to that. So you mentioned the Christmas cookies, a lot of things around food. We often will do the Christmas boxes. Franklin, Franklin Graham does, you know. Yeah. Stuffing Christmas boxes, Operation Christmas. We’ve done all kinds of things in a in the generous category that are, you know, trying to stir. Giving gifts is more powerful than receiving gifts.
And in the kids, it’s always been a focus in the past, whether it was remember, one year we we collected sleeping bags. Yeah. Like a Christmas party. And we asked everybody to bring a sleeping bag or a pillow for the homeless for the gospel mission. Yeah. And so we’ve done stuff like that. We’ve also done fundraisers for the Pregnancy Resource Center at Christmas time and taken that with the kids to drop it off. Those are always like memorable things where the kids are hands on involved. I especially when your kids are little, those are like the best memory type things. But we’ve also had times where another idea is to take as an amount of money and talk to the kids about who they want to give it to or what ministry they want to give it to when we do that for it.
Yeah, I remember this one year where we kind of started that where I had a thousand dollars in cash and it was a time of abundance, you know, for us. And so this was just an extra thing we were doing. And I said, I really want you guys to think and pray about how we use this. How can we use this to have the maximum blessing on other people?
Right. And we had multiple ministry like catalogs, like World Vision was one that we had like to donate to. There was why wham, we did The Voice of the Martyrs. We had catalogs and they all have like, oh, by go or buy chickens or different things like that.
And so there’s so many ideas out there, we’re just rattling off some things to get help.
Local families sometimes you can find through your church or something like that, or even a neighbor as somebody that just needs groceries and needs or they have money or a single single moms.
My heart goes out to the single moms. I remember my mom was single a lot of my growing up. So my heart goes out to them for sure.
Yeah. Project Angel Trees, another awesome ministry. A lot of churches do that. That’s something that is fun to wear. I don’t know if they’re doing this with covid, but remember how that one year we were able to get gifts for a child of a prisoner and then go to a local community center and we were able to meet the kid and give them the gifts and do a craft together. And so there’s things that you can do that are really in person.
Suggestions to things like that. Serving just depends on the kid’s age. Right. And what’s going on. So you have to be the judge of that. But super important to think about that traditions, what other traditions are hosting gatherings and worshipping.
So she always thinks the more that we do, we’ve done different things over the years for a long time. When you had your big business, right. We always did the Christmas party. That was a huge I mean, it was a ministry. We had over one hundred people in our home. We would feed them and.
We even had some artists come play music and I mean, it was always such a good time of bonding and building community with people that Isaac worked with.
That was when we really were involved in more you, as you to called marketplace ministry in that sense, where you were in the business world, but still trying to be a light and love people.
And so opening up your home for hospitality has always, I guess that that would be the best way to describe kind of what we’ve done in the past, over the years. But even like last year, we had something new where our church was going to go caroling and we couldn’t go caroling at the center. So we ended up caroling in our home together spontaneously. And it was really fun, too. And so, you know, there are different things that you can do. Things have changed this year because caroling may get harder for people. Right. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen.
Yeah, you can just sing from the street and maybe you can amplify it. I’m just brainstorming right now. Maybe you can amplify everybody’s singing with technology and people will come out onto the porches. I wish people had porches, front porches, not a lot of them, but maybe they’ll come outside.
Yeah. Yeah. So another type of tradition is doing Advent devotionals or during an Advent calendar, we’ve done a Jesse tree before. In the past, we’ve the giving manger was a new one that we did last year, which I’m really excited about. If you’re watching the YouTube version, you can see me hold up like giving Manger is it was super, super cute.
It’s just a little ceramic doll of baby Jesus and it comes with all of this straw and a little wooden manger. And then it comes with a book that has a really beautiful, detailed biblical encouragement about baby Jesus.
And then it also comes with a deck of 52 cards that you can go through with your kids that are just service opportunity ideas. And so as your kids are serving at the end of every day, you can ask them what they did to serve and they can put a straw of hay in the baby’s manger, which is kind of a fun thing to do.
There’s also organizations you mentioned the PRC, so obviously we’re very much pro-life, which I know you are as well. And so putting your money where your heart is and so and where God has placed convictions and, you know, organizations you benefit from. So we always have focused on that, too.
Yeah. So, you know, blessing those who are in spiritual authority over you also is a great thing. Your pastor and a pastors. Oh yeah. And and those who serve diligently, like if you you guys know that where we kind of stand on like Sunday school and that kind of stuff, we usually take our kids to church with us. But if you have been ministered to by this, someone specific that’s always in the nursery when you drop off your toddler, what if you were to get them a special Christmas present as a thank you? That would probably just really bring them joy and feel appreciated. There are different things that you can do to love on people who have blessed you, the person who led the Bible study at your church.
I remember there was a time one of the traditions I used to have when I was a leader of people, numerous people, is I would handwrite two cards, Christmas cards.
That was a big job and I would have to handwrite each one.
And for me, that was a lot. Maybe that’s normal for you, but it was just important to me. I could have like ordering online, had them printed and things like that, which I’ve done before. But at that time, I just really felt like, wow, let’s just get back to personal. Mm hmm. So how can you be personal and touch people’s lives and sometimes through cards? That’s a way to do it.
Yeah. So it doesn’t have to be a big, extravagant thing. It just needs to be thoughtful and from your heart, other things that have come to mind. When I think of just traditions we’ve we’ve tried to do together as a family, I think of just even when we when we are hosting or when we’re going to other gatherings and bringing a gift, a special gift that blesses the hostess and her family. Right. And so, for example, last year I gave probably five or six different giving major sets. But you can get those on Amazon, you can find out the giving major dotcom. But, you know, whatever it is that you feel like is going to help that family be a blessing to them, maybe introduce them to something special that’s centered around Jesus. Yeah, it’s a great way to do that. Also, calenders, the Advent calendar or the advent candles that go on the table. Those are really fun to do with your kids as well. We’ve done that in the past. We’ve done it for a couple of years.
But there are certain traditions that you can do. And over the years, ours have kind of changed.
And we will come back and revisit one, three or four years later. You know, we have favorite Christmas books if you guys want a list of resources. That’s kind of a tradition as to read a lot of Christmas books, that’s about Baby Jesus books that point us to Christ books. The point is to salvation and to the true meaning of what we are focusing on during this time. And we have a huge basket full of those books. So you can find all of those on courageous mom dotcom at the link that we will put in here for those.
And we try to go to community events, too, whether it’s a Christmas tree lighting or something at a church. Sometimes it’s not the church we’re going to, but they have a really good nativity scene. Live Nativity. Oh, yeah, those are going on. Bend, Oregon had a really cool one when we lived there. So just being out there involved and connecting with people and bringing the true meaning of Christmas to life with your kids and nothing does that better than the Bible. So definitely Bible reading during this time leading up to Christmas. That’s part of the traditions, is all. I mean, what I talk about scripturally towards, you know, the Jesus birth and what that means and all those kinds of things. So traditions are fun. Let’s see where we are. So, Luke, six thirty eight and three that will give in given to you good measure. Pressed down, shaken together, running over will be put into your bosom for with the same measure that you use it’ll be measure back to you. I just thought this was cool because it’s not like an equation.
We’re not like prosperity gospel people. But we do believe in what the Bible says. And when we give there’s things that come back to us. It’s not always money or physical things, spiritual blessing.
It’s the spiritual blessing always count on.
You can always count on. And it’s just amazing. And you want your kids to experience that giving all year, don’t you? But here’s a time where giving can come to life. Now, is it OK to give? Presence to your kids at Christmas is giving, OK?
Well, yeah, I mean, we’ve talked about this a lot over the years because we’ve even had years where we didn’t actually there was I can think of one where we we were struggling financially the year before we were not. And we were just like, you know what? The focus was too much on gifts. And so we wanted to focus more on giving. And it ended up being an awesome Christmas year. But we were convicted after that year to bring it back. And part of it was just the conviction that when you think about the birth of Jesus and we think about God’s gift to the world, was he gave us this right. He gave us that gift. And that as we are giving gifts and being generous, we are doing that in honor of the greatest gift that was given to us through Jesus Christ, which was salvation. And and then, of course, you know, thinking about the actual nativity, a lot of people call it the nativity. But the story, the recounting of baby Jesus when the wisemen. Yeah. And they give gifts. They give expensive gifts, actually lavish gifts. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to give expensive gifts to your kids. It’s not what I’m saying. But the point is, is that they traveled far. They sacrificed much to give a gift to the king of kings.
And so there definitely is this element of how when you’re giving a gift, you can point it back to the story of Christ.
Mm hmm. I like what it says in Luke here, 12, 15. There’s a great scripture, by the way, to jot down and have on hand for your kids during this time. Take heed and beware of covetousness. For once, the life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.
So setting things up there is a positive, I think in a lot of respects, energy about receiving something from your parents and excitement in the kids.
We just don’t want that to become the focus, the focus and overwhelming where we want Jesus to be overwhelming. It reminds me of before the birth of Jesus, what we’re generation upon generation upon generation waiting for. They were waiting for the Messiah to come.
So because those generations were indoctrinated by their parents in a positive way to wait for the Messiah to come a savior. Because that was happening traditionally all throughout time. When Jesus was born, now not ever be accepted it, right, but when Jesus was born, wow, what an amazing thing. But now that that is in the past from where we live. Maybe there’s something hurting about the anticipation in our kids. Maybe there’s something hurting and the anticipation of celebrating Christmas Christ’s birth in us.
Well, and I think to now more than ever, like for us, a lot of what we’ve been talking to our kids about in year twenty twenty, I’ll be honest, is the second coming of our savior, right? Yeah.
And there is a lot of, um, biblical imagery of actually aligning the first coming and the second coming. And so that could be a beautiful city. They could do with your kids as well and be really good. And it’s something that we should always be looking for and desiring is for Jesus to come back.
Yeah, absolutely. So the focus is what we’re talking about. So what is Christmas about in your family? Might be something good to talk about. What do you think about that?
Well, I think this is a part where we talked I just want to bring up we talked about not judging others, but we didn’t say you can’t challenge others. Right. And the Bible does say as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. And I do think that there’s an element of like sharing with others what you do and don’t do and and why. And it doesn’t have to be a forced conversation. But if it does come up, it can be something where you can learn from other people, which is one of the reasons why we’re sharing, too, is just to give people ideas in the midst of all the craziness that’s happening in the world. Hey, don’t forget, it’s December and this is when we usually take time to really focus on this, on the birth of our lord and savior. And I think that challenging one another to remember that and not to get overwhelmed with what’s going on with the election or the unknowing of what’s going to happen afterwards. Right. But instead to pause and to go. You know what? I’m not going to let this overshadow this time. I’m going to focus on this with the Lord in my kids.
I’m going to teach my kids. I’m going to be purposeful. We’re going to switch things up. Maybe we’re going to change what we’re studying with school and we’re going to study the scriptures even more. Maybe we’re going to we’re in do some kind of community service as a family because we need to get outside of our needs and thinking about what is happening to the world and serve other people and their needs.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think that’s that’s right on. And so what can you do to keep the focus on the birth of Jesus and what he did for us and why that’s significant and the love of God? And do they see do your kids see you leading up to Christmas? Just loving God, reading scripture focused on that? Or are you scrambling, trying to get everything done and make sure the house is perfect for all the hospitality and all that stuff?
Yeah, I just would encourage moms that you can you can practice hospitality. You can still keep the focus on Jesus without having to do all the glitz and glitter and all the things. And so if this is a year where you just can’t do it all because of other responsibilities right now, it’s OK. It’s OK. God looks at the heart and he knows your intentions. The other thing I would say is that there are many resources that you can use to help you if you are just feeling like I don’t know where to go. First of all, I would say make sure you have a Bible because this is the greatest tool. Just reading straight from Luke every year. Isaac reads from I think it is a different places.
Some years you read from Matthew, some years from work. But the gospel stories are recounting.
I keep correcting myself. I don’t like Saints story because it’s history. But just reading the history of the coming of Jesus to your kids out loud, you don’t need any other tool. But if you want something else that’s fun, that’s split up for you, that maybe is a little easier. Maybe you do better being disciplined. If you have something that’s laid out for you where it’s like day one, you read this day to read that there are some great devotionals out there. One thing that we’ve used over the last ten, well, I don’t know, maybe it was seven or eight years. Is the unwrapping the greatest gift by an Basecamp? You can do it with a Jesse tree or you can just do the book another another great devotionals. Then came Jesus by Laura Williams. And then there are some other resources, like there’s a devotional by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. That’s one that I’ve done personally with just by myself. That’s been a real encouragement to me and we have a link to that in our resources.
Also, I just want to encourage you, moms and dads, that when you read scripture, it is more powerful than when your pastor read scripture from stage. Your pastor has an important job to do, and it’s so important that they go to church and hear the pastor preach. Not saying that it’s not important, it’s very important. But what’s more powerful and more influential with your kids is when you read scripture to them, you are the parent. You are the God authorized influencer in their life, the most important ones. So when you are leading up to Christmas, I encourage you to go through like Luke Chapter two, which is the Christmas story.
And I would read through it and talk about how to bring it to life. I’m not going to read through it right now. You can listen to or other episode if you want to hear that. But there’s some incredible things happening like the Angels in the Sky and the multitudes and how they’re celebrating the birth of Jesus. There’s some incredible things that you can really bring to life if you think about what you’re reading.
So read it yourself, think about it, and then teach it to your kids. And it’s going to be awesome. Even if you’re not used to doing it, do it.
It’s great. And then you can also Google other passages they have to do with Christmas or Christ’s birth or in Isaiah or talks about the birth of Christ. And these are the messiah coming and these kinds of things, so super important because then they’re what are you tying in the Old Testament to the New Testament prophecy happening? All these things are really, really cool. So I think that’s a really important thing to do. So any more on resources?
And, you know, I just encourage you guys to go to courageous parenting dotcom, click on podcasts. You’ll see a list of links to our resource blog posts that have it courageous mom. You’ll see links to our two previous podcast, because I think we did two podcasts in season one on the topic of Christmas. And we just really are praying for you guys. And we hope that this is a memorable year, but that you are blessed in that the true, true thing that we are all focusing on. Remember, this is the thing when it comes to Christmas, we’ve been asked many times, should Christians celebrate? And I’m just going to drop this one sentence. And we talked about this more in depth in the podcast, but. Do you think that God. Is delighted any time his people are worshiping him. Yeah, any time, so if there is a reason to focus more on him.
We should do it and what an amazing hope we have in Christ and in uncertain times, sometimes it can feel like there isn’t a lot of hopefulness around us, but you can be a beacon of hope because of what you know, you know, the good news and you have the good news.
You have salvation. You’re a Christian. You have the gift of the Holy Spirit in you.
So we don’t have to rely on our own strength to read the Bible to our kids. We have to rely on our own strength to share the goodness with others. We don’t have to rely on our own strength to protect us when we proclaim the gospel and work settings. We don’t need to worry about anything. We’ll do it on the Holy Spirit. We’ll do it and we’ll be protected. And if we run into some trouble, God will redeem it. Absolutely. Sometimes I think about the pastors and the churches right now and in and them not meeting.
And I’m like, well, sometimes you have to have civil disobedience. Why? Because the the state the government should never call you to disobey the word of God.
And that’s kind of when, you know, you need to do something, we need to be fellowshipping with each other, we join a home church, join a church that’s meeting. If you can’t finish this meeting, invite people over, preach the word.
It’s so it’s so important as you are sharing that I actually had this vision in my head because I’ve seen a lot of people posting. Well, yeah, Joseph took Mary because they had to go and be registered for the census in their day. True. But then what happened when Jesus was born? The ruler Herod. Who is an evil man? He was a schemer and he was scheming to do the devil’s work. He was going to try to slaughter baby Jesus and he slaughtered many babies. So what did they do? What did Joseph and Mary do? They fled the government. They fled. And so sometimes we are called not to just stay right some. So we just have to be discerning. And so I think that this story, the story that we’re counting and the recounting of history of Jesus’s birth and how he came into the world and how he lived and how his parents, you know, took care of him is more relevant now than ever.
So there was a great migration back then and God was using it. And there’s kind of a big migration happening now. Guess what?
God is going to use it and he is using it.
But wherever you are, yeah, we should be meeting for church and trusting God in that because this is an important time and we need to be around other Christians. It’s super important to spur each other on, to sing songs together and to rejoice in the good news. And your kids need to witness that, because what do you want them to replicate in their future, which may not be likely isn’t going to be easier than today’s present. That’s right. Thanks for joining us.
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