A Discipleship-focused Holiday Tradition

This Christmas is much different for our family than Christmases of years past. We have 3 adult children now. Our son, Payton, got married this summer, and our older daughter’s wedding is coming up this Friday. Our “baby” is now 17, and I can honestly say (as I’ve said many times before) that this season of life is my favorite so far.

By God’s grace, we’re seeing the fruit of years of tradition in our family, and it’s exciting to behold.

  So much of what we did as parents was God leading us in direct answer to our prayers. We prayed every day for wisdom, for the right words in the right situations, for discernment into their hearts, and we prayed that our children would love Jesus and love people—preferring others over their own whims and way.

As I think back through the years, God gave us many discipleship ideas that we implemented in our family, and we now get to see the depth of how He used them as our children are grown. We stand in gratitude and awe of how God has worked.

There were several things that we did through the years at Christmas that really impacted our celebration of the holiday.  I wanted to share one of those traditions with you this week, for you can easily adopt this into your own Christmas celebrations, and I promise that it will be as transformational for your family as it was for ours.

The Names of Jesus Tree

It was important to us that despite the busyness of this season and the fun of seeing family and friends, enjoying the beautiful décor, etc., that we always keep our focus on the real reason behind all the fun and festivities. We endeavored to put traditions and activities in place that kept our eyes on Jesus and never on ourselves, and Christmas gave us some great opportunities to do that.

We prayed that our children would love Jesus wholeheartedly and to serve Him without reservation, and we tried to take advantage of every opportunity we could find to turn their hearts and minds towards the One Who had given so much to them.

During Christmas, when there are so many distractions vying for our attention, we wanted to make sure that we focused squarely on why we were celebrating in the first place—that Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, had come to earth and this was the time of year that we focused on that even more intently than we did during other seasons.

In fact, the whole world was singing His praises in the stores and on the street corners during this time, and we wanted to make sure our children truly absorbed the wonders of His birth.

So, we set aside a special tree in our home that was only for the names of Jesus. Each night during our family devotions time, we would discuss a name of Jesus and put that ornament on the tree as a reminder. We’ve done this with homemade ornaments, and now we have two beautiful sets of ornaments that I found several years ago.

We’d take time during the Christmas season to focus deeply on Who Jesus really is and how His names impact us today.  We got a richer sense of the reason we celebrate as we took the time to investigate what the Bible has to say about His names—Jesus, Savior, Christ the Lord, Emmanuel, Wonderful Counselor, and so many more.

We’d use passages of scripture and hymns to dive even deeper into our time of worshipping Him and praising Him for the gift He gave us all those years ago as He left the splendors of Heaven to be born of a virgin, live a sinless life, and die to save us from our sins.

I created a names of Jesus devotional that I would love to share with you. It gives you some ideas of scriptures to read and things to discuss as you talk about some of the various names of Jesus throughout this season.

I’ve also included an Advent reading schedule for your personal and devotions. These short passages of scripture will help direct your thoughts and meditations all season long.

You’ll find these resources to be great tools as you’re focusing on your mission of discipling and pointing your children to Jesus during this month and throughout the year ahead.

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