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In the church Christmas pageant I wrote, “The Nativity Alive,” the children carol at the home of a reclusive man who has a Nativity set displayed in his front yard. A few of the rowdy kids actually steal the baby Jesus from the manger, much to the chagrin of one little caroler who is left behind when the elderly homeowner opens his front door.
This little girl is about to learn all about the baby in the manger and how this will change every Christmas thereafter. She feels sad hearing about His death, then learns about what His resurrection means to all who believe and longs for the children who stole the baby to know the full story.
How does knowing Jesus change your Christmas and the months following?
After Christmas one year my kids said, “How long before Jesus is on the cross?” They wanted to maintain that focus, spirit of anticipation, and celebration. Why not? We can stretch Christmas and celebrate God’s love long after December 25.
Valentine’s Day offers a perfect opportunity to look at any one of the 500 Bible verses on love. Or take Corinthians 13:4-7 and write one LOVE IS (there are 14!) on each strip of paper. Connect them into LINKS of LOVE to be taken off, discussed, and modeled each day of February leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Lent is not unlike Advent. How can we connect Christmas to Easter and point our lives to the cross and beyond during Lent?
- When you take your Christmas tree down, cut two sticks from the trunk and save them for an Easter cross.
- Journey to the Cross: The Complete Easter Story for Young Readers is a great family devotional for Lent.
- Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs
- Easter Egg Set – 12 Resurrection Eggs
- Amon’s Adventure: A Family Story for Easter is a series of daily adventure stories by the same author as Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent.
Christmas without Easter would be incomplete. We can celebrate Christmas more fully because we know the rest of the story. The good news is that Jesus was born so that He could die for our sins, rise again, and bring salvation for those who believe in Him.
Christmas is really a celebration beyond December 25 and Easter. It’s a celebration for eternity for those who accept the greatest gift God has given.
Lord, we want to focus on YOU, the ONE eternal gift of Christmas. Like Joseph, may we obey Your direction. Like wise followers, may we learn of You. Like Mary, prepare our hearts to embrace Your Child. Help us sing like the angels throughout the season and run to the manger on Christmas Eve. May we celebrate Your birth, life, death, resurrection all through the year.
In Your name, Amen.
About Ann Stewart
Ann just won the Christy Award for Best Debut Novel of 2017 with Stars in the Grass, originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. When she's not writing, she's waving her arms directing musicals, teaching middle schoolers, or watching UVA Basketball, This is Us, or Madam Secretary. In her free time she hangs out with her husband, raising two lovely daughters and a whole flock of fuzzy sheep on Skye Moor Farm, in Virginia--where unscripted drama provides plenty of entertaining material.
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