14 Easy Ideas for Your Newsletter
Help Families Keep Christ in Christmas
You may use the ideas below in any of several different ways to help the members of your church more meaningfully celebrate the Chris Child's birthday. For example, include the ideas, one per week, in your service folder during the weeks that lead up to Christmas. Include selected ideas in your December newsletter. Post some of the suggestions on your congregation's Web site.
• Merry Christmas! Merry is a word used almost exclusively at Christmastime. It means "full of cheerfulness" or "lighthearted joy." What a fitting word to pair with Christmas! Jesus came into the world to lift sin's burden once and for all. His coming not only makes our hearts light, but he is the reason we have joy - a lasting cheerfulness - that transcends hardships, illness, and even death. As you reflect upon Christ's coming, may God empower you to share the Savior's birth with greater-than-ever joy. Merry Christmas!
• As you decorate your home for Christmas, explain to children the meaning behind some familiar Christmas symbols:
- Angels appeared to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds, telling them about the promised Savior.
- Christmas lights and candles represent the Light of the world - Jesus.
- Wreaths are round to remind us that God's love for us has no beginning and will never end.
- Greenery's fragrance signals life - the new life as Jesus is born and the eternal life Jesus won for us through his life, death, and resurrection.
• Sit down with your family as December begins. Work together to formulate a list of activities you've done in the past to celebrate the Christmas season. On a calendar, also list obligations and duties to which you have already committed this year. Then, work with other family members to prioritize the list. Jot events onto a calendar, including only things that comfortably fit. Be sure each family member gets to include at least one favorite activity. By trimming down the to-do list, you'll all be better able to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
• Keep your focus on the true meaning of Christmas! In crossword-puzzle fashion, horizontally print the word Christmas on a piece of graph paper. Throughout the month of December, encourage family members to add words that relate to the story and meaning of Christmas. For example, the letter s at the end of the word Christmas may be used to make the vertical word saved. See how big your puzzle can grow!
• Children are so eager to give Christmas gifts, but often they do not have money of their own to buy them. Encourage preteens to make a coupon booklet filled with no monetary presents like shoveling sidewalk snow, refilling bird feeders, praying for a special need, entertaining the family with a piano tune, or reading the Christmas story aloud. Younger children can include coupons for hugs and kisses, an impromptu puppet show, or a shoulder rub. Help your children understand that the very best gifts come from the heart and need not cost a thing!
• This year, decorate your Christmas tree in stages:
- On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, simply display the undecorated tree. (Read and think about Jeremiah 23:5–6.)
- On the next Sunday, add lights to the tree. (Read and think about Isaiah 9:2 and John 8:12.)
- Add small, brightly wrapped boxes as ornaments to the tree on the third week. (Read and think about Romans 6:23.)
- Place a star atop the tree on the Sunday before Christmas. (Read and think about Matthew 2:1–12 and Daniel 12:3.)
• Here's a hand-y way for families to make a garland that "grows" right along with the family. Cut out everyone's handprint. Attach the print to a length of red or green ribbon. In each successive year, add a current handprint to the growing garland. Both adults and children enjoy seeing the handprints "grow" each year, and the resulting garland can become a keepsake for parents until the children have families of their own!
• Emphasize the blessing of giving this Christmas with this simple idea: Organize the gifts under the Christmas tree by giver. When it's time to open gifts, let children take the gifts from their giving pile and pass them out to others. It really is more blessed to give than to receive!
• Need a last-minute idea that will keep Christ the focus of the Christmas season? How about serving as Jesus served? Call your local food pantry, shelter, or Salvation Army to ask how you could help. Volunteer with your Bible study group, youth club, or your own family to serve meals, stock shelves, or deliver meals and blankets to those less fortunate.
• Can't think of a gift to give to Uncle Bill? You aren't alone! Many families are redirecting their gift-giving at Christmas. Uncle Bill and many others on your shopping list likely have everything they need! Instead of racking your brain for a suitable gift, why not consider giving a monetary gift in Uncle Bill's name to your local food pantry, homeless shelter, or single-mothers' workshop?
• Let children help you make Christmas tree treats this year. Mix up a batch of krispie treats, using the recipe on the cereal box. Add green food coloring to the melting marshmallow mixture until you get a dark green color. Add cereal, and stir until well coated. With buttered hands, shape into conical forms. When cool, stick a toothpick through a large marshmallow and into the bottom of the cone shape to make the tree's "trunk." Decorate your trees with red candies or red rope licorice.
• Greet your family on Christmas morning with Wreath Pancakes. Simply pour the pancake batter to form a round wreath in the griddle. Serve with strawberry or raspberry syrup.
• Children may be surprised to know that many firefighters, police officers, nurses, and others do not get time off for Christmas. To show your thankfulness for these often unsung heroes, plan to make and deliver special treats on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
• Many families enjoy traditions as they decorate the Christmas tree. This year, begin a new tradition when it's time for the tree to come down. As each ornament is removed, name one way God has blessed you during the year now past. If you've received some ornaments as gifts, take a moment to pray for the person who gave you the ornament, and praise God for placing that person in your life.
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