How easy it is for us to get lost in the trappings and trimmings of the modern-day Christmas season—the one that begins earlier and earlier each year. “Christmas in July” is on its way to becoming a reality, it seems!
What are some things you do to remember the birth of Jesus in the midst of the holiday hubbub? Perhaps this year you and your family could make salt dough Christmas ornaments representing the Nativity scene. While creating the ornaments, have one member of the family read the story of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:18-2:12; Luke 2:1-20).
Discuss what it might have been like for the shepherds to suddenly see angels while out tending the flocks, and then later beholding the King of kings lying as a baby in a manger.
Talk about how Mary and Joseph might have felt that holy evening (see Luke 2:19).
Spend time pondering together the wonder and love of the first Christmas.
Here’s the recipe we used to create some simple ornaments, using cookie cutters to form a man (Joseph), woman (Mary), baby (Jesus), angel, and star:
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup water
- Mix ingredients thoroughly until dough forms.
- Roll dough out to ¼-inch thickness.
- Cut out shapes using cookie cutters (or you can design your own shapes).
- Using a toothpick, pierce a small hole in the shape for ribbon or string. (The size of the hole will depend on the size of the ribbon or string you wish to use.)
- Set the shapes on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Bake at 200ºF for about 30 minutes, or until the shapes are hard but not brown.
- Tie ribbon or string through the holes, and the ornaments are ready to be hung!
- Optional: We left our ornaments plain, but you can paint them to add some color to wherever you choose to hang them.
This is the time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but we can reflect on the life of our Savior throughout the year. James Merritt’s new release, 52 Weeks with Jesus, would make a meaningful Christmas gift for yourself or a loved one, especially with the start of 2015 just around the corner.
Want more ideas for focusing on Jesus this season? See our post A Christmas Gift from Harvest House to Your House: Advent Calendar Ideas and download free printable Advent calendar cards featuring Scripture on the birth of Jesus.