As Christmas approaches it is as if the previous eleven months have been leading to this grand culminating event. It’s almost December and tree trimming can begin!
As women, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make meaningful family memories at Christmas because we know that traditions are important. We want our kids to stay connected to home in healthy ways. But creating a Hallmark moment is not our job. It is God who makes the moments meaningful.
I’d like to take a little pressure off and help you lead your family in celebration and recognition of memorable truth this Christmas season. Instead of focusing on everything going perfectly, I’ve found that focusing on Jesus, the One who it’s all about, is much more satisfying and lasting.
His Advent Names, the new set of ornaments for this year, focus on four names of Jesus because names matter.
In the beginning God created and He named. He called the darkness Night and the light Day. He called the dry land Earth and the sky above heaven. He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, giving each one its name.
Like the sun, each of us is known by our name. Meaning is inherent in a name, giving identity to an object or a person. Jesus is a Man of many names—some scholars say as many as three hundred—which tells us right away that He is not like us.
Getting to know the names of Jesus introduces us to who He is. It’s the starting place for discovering the greatest treasure, a relationship with the eternal God. In learning the names of Christ, our understanding of Him grows. We begin to know Him as He is.
The celebration of Christ’s birth has gotten lost in a swirl of fairy tales and merchandizing. Think about it, the stunning miracle of God becoming human has become trivialized with toys, tinsel, and trips to the mall.
What’s the solution for you and your family? The Bible tells us: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). Learn His names and in doing so you will know more of Him. Seeing Jesus stirs a response of adoration and worship. And the things of earth become less important. Our misplaced affections are righted.
So here are a few practical ways to teach your family these 4 names of Jesus this year through His Advent Names.
Ideas for Sharing the Names of Jesus with Your Family and Friends
1.Use the four globes as your Advent tool. Gather four paper bags and write the numbers 1-4 on each one. Place one globe inside each and fold the top shut or tie it with decorative ribbon. Put all four bags underneath the tree to be opened on each Sunday of advent.
Have your children open one bag, read aloud the name of Jesus, hang the ornament on the tree, and read the corresponding story about Jesus’ name in the booklet.
2. Make a weeklong focus on getting to know Jesus. Hang one ornament a day for a week and read each corresponding story in the booklet on that same day during the week so you can savor the learning experience.
3. Make a night focused on celebrating Jesus. Hang the ornaments all in one evening, taking turns reading the stories.
4. Devise an interactive Jesus scavenger hunt. Hide the ornaments and make scavenger hunt clues for your children to find them.
5. Begin to teach young children to recognize the names of Jesus. You read the name from the ornament aloud and have your child repeat it back to you.
6. Memorize the Bible verses where the names are found is an activity for elementary-aged children.
7. Discuss the names using these questions with teens and adults:
-Why does God want us to know each of these names?
– Why is that quality important?
-Why does God describe Himself this way?
-What does it mean to us, His children, to know Jesus as The Messenger, The Word, and more?
8. Gift the globes by breaking up the set and giving one individually to teachers, neighbors, your mailman, and friends.
May His names adorn your home at Christmas—and beyond—as you give prominence to the One whose birth we celebrate on December 25th, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.