Christmas is full of so many things. Presents, trees, lights, santas, cookies, music, elves, cards, wrapping, stockings…the list goes on forever and ever. All of these things, in and of themselves are wonderful things that can add to the traditions and memories of our families but I think that sometimes we can find ourselves literally completely wrapped up in it all. From my own experience, I know the season can become more about the endless shopping that needs to be done or the numerous parties that need to be attended or the mounds of gifts that are placed under the tree and somewhere in it all the real reason for the season is completely lost.
Noticing the ever-increasing need to always have more things our family has found it important to keep the focus on the season of Christmas centered the REASON for Christmas. While there is always that innate excitement for Christmas morning, we have worked to direct the focus of that morning on the most precious gift ever given and the countdown towards that day on God’s Love and the sacrifice that was made when he came to Earth as a baby so long ago.
While trying to keep it simple, one of the God-centered traditions we started last year was our Christmas Angel tradition. It seemed that many people where doing the ever-popular Christmas Elf and while I love seeing Facebook posts that show all the trouble those sneaky little elves have gotten themselves into, it just didn’t cover the true meaning of Christmas (and well, since our kids know the Santa “truth”…I guess it really wouldn’t have been as much fun anyway). So for us we have a sweet angel doll that is hidden each night. The kids take turns each morning, (because arguments break out otherwise…nobody said they were the angels) walking around the house in search of the hidden angel. Placed with the angel is a specific act of love and kindness that becomes the focus of that day. For us, some of the acts are things that can be done within the family and many are things that are done outside of the family. Below are just a few ideas for some of the service tasks that have been (or will be) delivered by our Christmas Angel.
* Write 3 notes of kindness to your sibling and hide them somewhere in the house where they will be found
* Make a special treat and deliver to the postman, and/or trash collector
* Buy a gift card for the person in line behind us and hand it to them on the way out
* Write a card/letter to somebody special and mail
* Sponsor a child and go shopping
* Make a card or special treat for the teacher, pastor, bus driver, neighbor, etc
* Ride around and look at Christmas lights and leave a note for those that really made your night
* Take some money to the library and pay for somebody else’s fees
* Do 3 extra specials for a sibling and a parent
* Surprise somebody with a phone call
* Drop change in the Salvation Army bucket
* Head to the park with a handful of stickers and pass them out to the kids that you see
* Deliver donuts to the firehouse/police station
* Go caroling at a nursing home
In our house the kids are so excited to find Angel’s new hiding place each morning and usually even more excited to discover what things they will be working on for that day. Hopefully in the process, they are learning more and more about the TRUE meaning of Christmas and are able to spread more and more of it’s joy throughout the season.
NOTE: For those who are interested I’ve also found that there is an official Christmas Angel set that can be purchased at an affordable price. While I do not have this particular Angel I know it is based on the same principal and even comes with a book. They have both a boy and a girl version. The boy, in particular is really, really cute! I’m not sure how we’d ever get rid of our already loved Angel but if the year comes that we must, or she needs a boy backup, I know I’ll be heading their way. And no, I’m not getting anything for saying that…they really are pretty cute. Now, off to hide Angel with her next Christmas act of love!