Call me crazy. I’ve decided to combine all three this Christmas.

I rolled this out last year as a trial and it went over so awesome with my kids that they asked if I was going to do the same this year. Yeah for new traditions!

You might say, “But Jesus is the real reason for the season you don’t need anything else. Lock the elf in the closet and hide the chocolate for a bad day.”

You’re absolutely right. Jesus is the reason we celebrate. And the more fun, laughter and family traditions I can build around Christ will only serve to remind my children that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV – More info on this below).

If I’m afraid that a freaky looking Elf is going to steal God’s glory or confuse my children about the true meaning of Christmas, then I have bigger problems on my hands.

My life and conversations with my children should show them Christ and help lead them into a relationship with Him all year long, not just once or twice a year.

I can see how kids would get confused if the only time they hear about Jesus is at Christmas and then we throw in a bunch of other stuff too. Of course their focus would be skewed. But if they hear about Jesus all year long, come December, it’s just time to crank up the celebration!

That’s why we’re doing all three.

Here’s how it works for me and my family.

1. Each day my kids have to find the Elf (I think most folks are familiar with him…the Elf on the Shelf guy).

2. The Elf will always have with him a piece of paper which has the daily scripture verse on it.

3. My kids then need to look up the bible verse in their bibles and read the verse aloud. They take turns each day. It’s helped them to learn how to navigate the bible and become familiar with scripture.

4. Once they have read the verse they can then open up that day’s Advent bag.

5. Some of the bags have the traditional Advent Chocolates, some have little gifts and others have things they have to do (like give someone at school a compliment today or pray for each of your teachers at the beginning of class today….silently not out loud that would just be weird). I keep the bags simple too – brown lunch bags with a few stickers.

That’s about it. And however you decide to do it, remember there is no “right way” to celebrate Jesus.

Thanks for reading! My prayer for you and your family this holiday season is that Christmas becomes just one of the many days you celebrate Christ throughout the year, not the only day.

Till the next time,

Julie B.

ps. Here is more insight into the bible verse I used. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Paul was a Jesus follower. And he wrote a letter to a group of people who were believers in Jesus as well, they lived in Corinth (hence the book of Corinthians).

The Corinthians had a problem. They now believed in Jesus, that He was the Son of God who came to die for all so that their sins would be forgiven. However; old habits are hard to quit.

They felt like they still needed to follow the Old Testament laws, just in case, in order to please God.

Soon they were tied up in rules, ceremonies and regulations.

In this particular part of the letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminds them (and us) that God provides freedom from sin and condemnation, not us. There is no working your way to Heaven; after all then it becomes all about us doesn’t it.

When we accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation – He removes our heavy burden of trying to please Him and our guilt for failing to do so. By trusting Christ we are loved, accepted, forgiven and freed to live for Him, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Freedom to rest in His love for us not based on how we “do” things or the “right way” to celebrate.

Jesus wants your heart not your good deeds. Having done both, I can say that rules and good deeds are easier, they really don’t require much of us other then “actions” now and then. Giving Jesus your heart is a little more demanding. It means laying aside pride to admit that I am a sinner and in need of a savior. However, when we lay down pride we pick up peace, joy and freedom and I’m sorry, that’s just awesome.

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