Well, Christmas day is finally here—and my kids can hardly believe it!
I pray that you will set aside some time to thank God for the incredible gift of his Son.
If you’ve never read the Christmas story to your kids, you can find it in the first two chapters of the book of Luke.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.
“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven,and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.
After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.
All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
Merry Christmas, from all of us at Shine.FM!
Listen to today’s audio here.
What’s one of the best Christmas gifts you can give your kids this year?
Well, it’s NOT an i-phone, i-pod, or i-pad…or a deluxe Rainbow Loom set for your 7-year-old daughter!
It’s making faith relevant in your home.
Unfortunately, several studies show that a large number of Christian teens are abandoning their faith in college. And new research indicates that many of these kids aren’t coming back to the church—or to Christianity.
That’s why it’s crucial for us to be intentional about passing our faith to our children.
If our Christianity is limited to an hour or two on Sunday mornings, our kids will come to view our faith as hypocritical and meaningless.
Also, research conducted at the University of North Carolina shows that teens who are actively involved in a faith community are much less likely to be involved in some of the risky behaviors that so many kids fall victim to these days.
Also, if you have a tee or pre-teen at home—it is VITAL for them to be involved in a healthy, discipleship-oriented youth group.
And of course PRAYER is critical in making faith relevant in your home.
Pray for your kids, and pray WITH your kids. And as you pray, ask God to help you provide your children with the kind of unfailing love and clear moral guidance that they’ll need to survive in a world that is full of a bunch of dangers and temptations.
An excellent place to go for resources that will help you be more intentional about passing on your faith is Focus on the Family. I’ll admit that I’m kind of partial to that ministry since I worked there for 8 years. You can reach them at 1-800-A-FAMILY and find them on the web at FocusOnTheFamily.com.
I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.
Listen to today’s audio here.
It does not take much to make someone’s day this season. Why not give a little “cane?” Lisa has an idea. Listen here!
‘Tis the season for giving! Are you and your family bored on a cold weekend? Lisa provides a SACK weekend tip that will warm your heart and fill the stomach of others. Listen here!
Lisa shares the pluses of decorating a minor, yet key, home object; and someone to bless this holiday season:
Shining Acts of Christmas Kindness! ‘Tis the season for giving. Listen here to see what you can do to impact someone this season!
Pembroke Township Library District
13795 E. Central St., Hopkins Park
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
For information about donations, phone the library at 815-944-8609 or Faith in Action at 708-363-2568.
A mom says that her boys have way too much stuff! For Christmas, they will not be getting toys but another form of a gift. Lisa shares the twist on giving this season! Listen here!
Read this mom’s full blog here!
We’re pretty lucky in our family. I can cross off three out of four of our birthdays in May alone! Then Christmas and the fourth birthday are taken care of in December. This makes for a lot less time worrying about buying and giving presents and a lot more time thinking about how much stuff we have.
In fact, all of that thinking about not buying presents gave me a thought: I really can’t imagine having more things in my house. More toys, clothes, sippy cups… we’ve got so much already. I’m constantly packing and donating toys my boys no longer play with, it seems. Now, I don’t want to diminish or sound ungrateful for the amazing generosity of our friends and family, we’re beyond thankful for all they’ve given us… but it’s just… so much. So much more than they need.
My boys really do not need for another thing.
I know my favorite thing about presents… it’s giving them. I spend extra time and care thinking about giving gifts to my own family, to our friends and to their families. I try to be thoughtful about my own gift-giving and I know how difficult it can be to find that perfect gift sometimes. Occasionally, before a birthday party or event, I get overwhelmed and buy something just to bring it… and maybe that’s not the right approach.
What if nobody gave my boys presents anymore? What if we only gave GIFTS.
The gifts of experience, adventure and more importantly, familiarity that they truly need. Instead of the things (toys, games, clothes) that they didn’t even really know about or want? The only thing I truly think my boys need to have is more time with their family…
So, starting now, this year, before the holiday season begins, I’m beginning a new tradition. Although we’ll always be grateful for the presents we and our boys receive, I’d ask that our friends and family offer these experiences and time spent with our boys instead of money spent on them.
I’m not going to tell you what to do, or what to buy… but here are some suggestions:
Instead of buying my boys a toy lion, why not take one (or both) of them to the zoo to see a real one? To spend some time with a family member or friend would mean so much more to them than another toy.
Not a lot of time to give? What about contributing towards one of the (shockingly expensive) activities the boys will be participating in? Piano/drum/guitar lessons. Swimming lessons. Summer soccer season. Dance lessons.
Don’t have a lot of money? (Hey, neither do we! No big!) — How about just spending some quality time with the boys? Set a day and take them to the park. Take one of them on a bike ride. Take one to the movies. Take them to a local play center. Instead of in
We have a really good friend who, back in May, couldn’t make it to Cash’s third birthday. She said she wanted to drop off a present at another time and I said, “He really doesn’t need anything, but we’d love a visit! Actually, instead of a present, why not just take him and do something with him just the two of you?” In the end she, her boyfriend, and their friend and her daughter ended up going to the zoo with Cash and he LOVED it. He asks about this friend a lot now, and wants to spend time with her again because he enjoyed it so much.
This is what I would like for my boys to grow up with. Not mountains of toys (which are growing bigger by the minute, I swear!) but experiences and close relationships with the people in their lives who matter most.
Here’s the thing: I always think about the what ifs: what if something happened to me? What if something happened to their dad? They’ve built strong bonds with some family members, but others are only seen on occasion and only for short periods of time. They’re unfamiliar and being young, the boys often don’t remember them on special occasions and it breaks my heart. Building relationships now with these family members and friends will only benefit them in the long run if something were to ever happen to us.
These are the things I think about, people. Deep, I know.
But seriously, if you’re in our circle of friends or family, please don’t buy my kids presents but instead give them the gift of your time and love. It doesn’t have to cost anything, but it’s really the ONLY thing they need.
vesting in their toy collections, invest in your relationship with them.
When confronted with the realization that a little boy might not make it to Christmas, a town brings Christmas to him a little early. Listen to this inspiring story here!
Do you know about the life of St. Nicholas? Learn a little about it by listening here!