I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post as I shared our family tradition of The Grab Bag. If you missed it, scroll back and take a look. As promised, today I am going to share another family tradition that helps us focus on the true meaning of Christmas. With all of the hustle and bustle of the season, it can be challenging to maintain a practical focus on the birth of Christ. Amid all of the parties, shopping, wrapping, baking, and fun activities, Christ can fade into the background if we aren’t intentional about worship during the Christmas season.
Maybe that is not a challenge for your family, but in my family, if Mom and Dad don’t consistently bring Christ into our conversations and traditions, it probably isn’t going to happen. There are many ways to do this, some of which include listening to sacred Christmas music, family devotions, attending church Christmas concerts, serving at a soup kitchen, or participating in a charity like Samaritan’s Purse or Angel Tree.
A Different Kind of Gift
There is one thing that I do each year that has become a special part of our family. Each year I give each person the gift of a verse of scripture from the Christmas story. With this gift comes a prayer that is echoed throughout the year.
I prayerfully read the accounts or prophesy about the birth of Christ. Isaiah, Matthew, Luke, and John are often the books that I will find my Christmas treasure. Once I choose a gift and short prayer for each person, I write the verse and prayer on a blank index card. I fold the card in half, making a name card that I place on the table for Christmas dinner. Some years I decorate the card a little, but most of the time I just write their name and their gift with a Sharpie and keep it simple. During our festive meal on Christmas day, each person shares their card with the family. This is a simple practice, but over the years it has become very meaningful to our family.
A Gift that Keeps on Giving
In the margin of my Bible, I always write __________’s Christmas Verse and the year. Through out the years, as I come across a Christmas verse, I stop and pray that verse for each person. Anytime we pray for someone, we give the gift of our heart to them, whether they are aware of our prayer or not. I love the idea, that there are verses I have prayed for my children for ten years or more.
The last thing that I often do with the verses is I slip them into a little photo album. In this book, I keep slips of paper where I have written verses and prayers for my children through the years. Through the years I have added many prayers and verses as the children have grown. I keep this book in a drawer beside my bed and periodically open it and spend time praying for my children. This is a simple and practical way to give an eternal gift to my children.
Verses and Prayers
Here are some examples of verses and prayers I have used. I have included these verses to save you a little time if you would like to incorporate this idea into your family this year.
Luke 1:46-47—Praise and Rejoice
Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! (NLT)
Prayer— May ______ truly rejoice that Christ is our savior.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him. (NLT)
Prayer: May God do many great things in _______’s life and may they be faithful to acknowledge His mercy in their life.
Luke 2:20—See and Hear
The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. (NASB)
Prayer: May ______ see and hear God this year. Fill their heart with praise for the glory of who You are.
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. (NLT)
Prayer: May ____ believe and accept your gift of salvation this year.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (NASB)
Prayer: Fill _____’s heart with great joy as they see You at work in their life this year.
They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (NLT)