Six Tips to Create Joy in Your Home This Christmas

It isn’t hard for kids to be happy around Christmas, especially if they think there’s going to be a pile of gifts waiting for them on December 25th. But this kind of happiness is hardly the joy the Bible talks about.

 

“Happiness” comes from the Middle English hap meaning “chance” or “good luck.”  Happiness, for many people, is a circumstance: something that must happen to them in order to feel satisfied.

Joy is something altogether different. Biblical joy is grounded in something eternal—in Christ whose coming into the world should be a cause of great joy for all people (Luke 2:10).

6 Practical Ways to Cultivate Joy in Your Home at Christmas

It isn’t hard for kids to be happy around Christmas, especially if they think there’s going to be a pile of gifts waiting for them on December 25th. But this kind of happiness is hardly the joy the Bible talks about.

“Happiness” comes from the Middle English hap meaning “chance” or “good luck.”  Happiness, for many people, is a circumstance: something that must happen to them in order to feel satisfied.

Joy is something altogether different. Biblical joy is grounded in something eternal—in Christ whose coming into the world should be a cause of great joy for all people (Luke 2:10).

 

Here are 6 ways to experience that kind of joy at Christmas.

1. Christmas Light Adventure

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life…Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:12,56)

The tradition of putting up Christmas lights goes back to 16th- and 17th-century Germany when candles were placed on or beside decorated evergreen trees in Christian homes. Some say they were meant to remind Christians of Jesus: the light of the world. Candles were eventually replaced with electric lights in the late 1800s.

Take your kids out for an evening drive to see electric light displays on homes, businesses, and public buildings. As you drive, remind your children that Jesus is the light of the world, the one prophets longed would come into our dark, sinful world.

2. Give Extravagantly

…their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” (2 Corinthians 8:2)

Gift-giving wasn’t always a God-honoring Christmas tradition, but Christmas started to become a more family-centered holiday in the early 1800s, and quickly turned into an opportunity for commercialism.

Rather that merely giving your children gifts, think of ways as a family to give extravagantly and sacrificially.

·       Look for opportunities to send money or resources to others in your community and around the globe.

·       Ask your church leaders about missionaries or local initiatives who need support.

·       Use the gift catalogues put out by ministries like Compassion International or Samaritan’s Purse to buy items for needy people around the world.

3. Take It to the Streets

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (Luke 2:20)

Caroling goes back many centuries. In the middle ages, men would sometimes go “wassailing,” traveling to the home of their feudal lords to sing songs, wishing them health and good will—usually in exchange for cakes, cider, and ale. This tradition was eventually domesticated in Victorian times and became a way to celebrate harmony between neighbors and social classes at Christmastime.

Take your kids caroling with you to visit neighbors and especially shut-ins or those at nursing homes. Find lively Christmas carols that focus on the birth of Christ. Take time to talk to your children about the carols meaning. The joy of Jesus’ coming prompts us to sing about Him.

4. Be Intentional: Slow Down Together

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18)

Christmas can be a very busy season for a lot of families, so in order to take joy in the good gifts we’ve been given by God, it is important to slow down and enjoy one another.

·       Schedule families nights. If you don’t plan it, something will fill that time.

·       Cook or bake together. Find special foods that your family associates with the Christmas season and make them together as a family.

·       Craft together. This is especially great for kids. Find crafts that serve as reminders of the meaning of Christmas.

5. Make Service a Habit

…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)

The path to lasting joy is the road of humility—forgetting about yourself and spending your time to bless others. There are many ways to do this as a family.

·       Make and deliver cookies to the fire station, police station, or hospital employees.

·       Make and deliver treats for your neighbors.

·       Send Christmas cards to military serving abroad.

·       Have your kids set up a hot chocolate stand to raise money for a good cause.

·       Make a meal for an elderly friend or relative.

·       Ring bells for the Salvation Army.

·       Invite a widow or widower from your church over for dinner, and have the kids help to make the food.

·       Have your kids purge their toys to give to Angel Tree Prison Fellowship.

·       Volunteer at Ronald McDonald House.

·       Pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.

·       Make homemade crafts to take to the children’s hospital.

·       Serve food at a local homeless shelter or food pantry.

·       Find ministries in town that have an adopt-a-family program.

There are many ways you can serve others.

6. Do Extra-Special Devotions for Christmas

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

Family devotions are a great habit to get into as a family, but around Christmastime it is a great idea to make devotions extra-special, something memorable to take the focus off the bustle of the holiday.

In past years, we done special Christmas carol devotions with our kids, talking about the lyrics and the stories behind some of our favorite Christmas carols. The kids have really enjoyed these times because they get to sing loud and dance around.

We took 15 of our favorite Christmas carol devotionals and put them into a book this year. The Stories Behind the Music uses Scriptures, classic Christmas carols, and hands-on activities speak to your families minds and hearts the truths of the gospel.

For more Christmas ideas, go to www.intoxicatedonlife.com. 

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