Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gift for Jesus

On Christmas Eve our family likes to talk about the birth of the Savior, and the gifts the Wisemen gave to Him. After we talk about those gifts, we talk about the gifts that we can give to the Savior. We write them down and place them on our Christmas tree. After Christmas we will put our note in a place where we will be reminded each day to serve others and to remember Christ all year. It is a fun tradition and helps me to remember why we celebrate Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christ Centered 12 Days of Christmas - Updated!

So, I must be on a 12 Days of Christmas kick this year, but I wanted to share with you the 12 Days of Christmas that we like to do. I actually want to show you two ways of using these tags. One way, is to give gifts to neighbors or friends. We have tried to cater the gifts to the specific ages and needs of the families. It has been fun for our kids to pick out gifts for our neighbors, and it helps them to remember that it is always better to give rather than to receive. Some of the gifts may seem silly, but those suggestions are geared more for younger children. These suggestions, are merely suggestions. The magic of this, is that it is really easy to cater it to fit individuals and individual families. The gifts can really be anything that goes along with the theme. There have also been some great ideas posted in the comment section below, and I appreciate those comments! This isn't meant to be another burden to check off at Christmas time or another financial burden. It is really meant to be a fun way to serve others and to remember Christ at Christmas. Please do this, so it suits you and your family, and have fun!

The other option, is to make this more of a personal journey towards Christ during the holidays. It isn't always an option to be able to give physical gifts, especially at Christmas, but we can always give of ourselves. We have also used these tags as a reminder to do a personal challenge each day to see the needs of others and to come closer to our Savior. These challenges, as are the gift ideas, are merely suggestions. You do what you feel will bring you and your family closer to the Savior.

On the first day of Christmas, Jesus Christ gave sight to the blind.
Gift: Christmas Movie, googly glasses, binoculars, or anything symbolizing sight.
Challenge: Read Matthew 12:22-23
Today, open your eyes to truly see the needs around you, and help someone you wouldn't normally help.

On the second day of Christmas Jesus Christ was the light of the world.
Gift: Candle, flashlight, night lights, or anything having to do with light.
Challenge: Read John 8:12 and Matthew 5:16
Let your light shine today and use your talents and spiritual gifts to lift someone's burdens and brighten their day.

On the third day of Christmas Jesus Christ healed the sick.
Gift: Operation Game, First Aid Kit, Toy Doctor Kit, or anything symbolizing healing.
Challenge: Read Matthew 5:25-34
We cannot always heal another physically as Christ did, but we can help to heal the spirit. Today do one thing to help heal a relationship or a person in need.

On the fourth day of Christmas Jesus Christ gave the gift of charity, the pure love of Christ.
Gift: Heart shaped cookies, heart shaped ornament or anything that symbolizes love.
Challenge: Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
Try to treat everyone you encounter today with Christ-like love. Show those closest around you how much you truly love them.

On the fifth day of Christmas Jesus Christ fed 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and  2 fish.
Gift: A nice loaf of bread from Great Harvest or Kneaders and swedish fish or anything that symbolizes this miracle.
Challenge: Read Mark 6:34-44 and John 6:35
Today give of your physical or spiritual sustenance. You could make your favorite Christmas treat and deliver it to a special person, volunteer at a food bank or you could share with someone something that spiritually sustains you in times of need. You could even write a note to someone who has sustained you during a difficult time in your life.

On the sixth day of Christmas Jesus Christ made the deaf to hear.
Gift: Christmas CD, bells, or anything that symbolizes hearing.
Challenge: Read Mark 7: 32-37
Sometimes the voice of the Lord is drowned out by everyday life and we are deaf to his teachings. Take a moment to listen to the Lord and to truly listen to the needs of those around you. Listen with your heart, and act upon those feelings to do good for someone else, today.

On the seventh day of Christmas Jesus Christ gave the gift of selflessness.
Gift: The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke (There are some nice illustrated versions)
A Christmas Carol  or anything that symbolizes selflessness would work really well, too.
Challenge: Read Mark 10:42-45
Minister to someone who may feel lonely or forgotten, and give something to someone that only you can give. Remember that Jesus Christ was always concerned for the one on a personal level and try to emulate this today.

On the eighth day of Christmas Jesus Christ gave the gift of baptism.
Gift: Bottled water and dove white chocolate, bath toys, or anything that symbolizes baptism.
Challenge: Read Matthew 3:13-17
Reflect on what it means to be baptized. Today commit to change one thing in your life that will help you come closer to the Savior, be reborn, make amends if needed, and immerse yourself in goodness.

On the ninth day of Christmas Jesus Christ gave the gift of the Holy Ghost, the comforter.
Gift: Blankets, warm coat, or anything that symbolizes a comforter.
Challenge: Read John 14:26
Many times the Lord blesses the lives of his children through us. Be a comforter to someone today.

On the tenth day of Christmas Jesus Christ made the lame to walk.
Gift: Fruit by the Foot, fuzzy socks, gift card to a shoe store, or anything that symbolizes walking.
Challenge: Read Matthew 15:30-31
Walk in someone else's shoes today, and try to see this person as God sees them.

On the eleventh day of Christmas Jesus Christ clothed those in need.
Gift: New clothes, Christmas socks with candy, warm fuzzy socks or gloves or anything that symbolizes clothing.
Challenge: Read Matthew 25:34-40
Donate some old clothes to goodwill or DI, make a blanket or article of clothing for someone in need or for the homeless, or donate your time sorting clothes or other items at a clothing charity.

On the twelfth day of Christmas Jesus Christ gave his life for us so we can live with him again.
Gift: Picture of the Savior, Nativity or anything that symbolizes Jesus Christ.
Challenge: Read Matthew 26:36-75, 27, 28
Commit to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ and to remember the sacrifice that he gave for us that we might live. Write your testimony of the Savior and share it with a family member or friend, or write your testimony in your journal.

Note: If you have any ideas for gift please share! There are a ton of different ways to do this and I would love to hear some. If you want to do this, it starts tomorrow! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Gift Tag Printables

Each year I have the hardest time trying to surprise my husband for Christmas! Every year I think that I am being so sneaky and he always guesses his presents! So, this year instead of trying to surprise him with that perfect gift, (hasn't worked the past 6 years) I decided that I would try doing something a little different. I thought it would be really fun to do the 12 Days of Christmas for who it has always been intended for, you true love, right? Don't get me wrong, I am totally going to do the ring the door bell and run 12 Days of Christmas surprise for someone in my neighborhood, but I wanted to add this for my cute hubby.  He told me that it can be hard to feel the Christmas Spirit when he is so stressed about finals, so I thought this might be a good way to help him feel like he is a part of all the merriment.

I think for me, the goal is going to be to find small gifts that represent some things that I love the most about him and also some of the Christmas memories we have had. For example, his aunt makes a mean red velvet cake and he shared his love of red velvet cake with me the first Christmas we shared together. So, one of the days MUST be red velvet cake!

So, get out there and spread some Christmas cheer to that special someone!!! Also, if you have any great gift ideas for that man in your life, please share! I am in desperate need of some help!