I think a lot of us can get so wrapped up in the events scheduled from the first Sunday in Advent until Epiphany that we miss out on the real reason we are celebrating. That said, there are many things that you can do to bring Christ back into the celebration of His birthday.
Advent Wreath: This is a tradition that goes back to my childhood. On each of the four Sundays of Advent, we light candles and read passages from the Bible that relate to that Sunday’s candle. We do the Prophets Candle, Angel’s Candle, Star Candle, Shepherds Candle and the Joy Candle. In the center is the Christ Candle, which is lit on Christmas morning. When we’re done the reading, we discuss what each passage means.
Becker House: After the Christmas Eve service, we walk down the street to a special house. The family that lives there has always decorated the front of their home quite lavishly. There are all kinds of lights, animation, dolls and other Christmas type things.
Candlelight Service: There are three services at our church on Christmas Eve. As we enter the church, we’re given candles that will be lit at the end of the service. It is a time for marking the true meaning of the holiday.
Christmas Morning: This is one day where I am usually not only willing to get up early, I’m the first one up. When the kids were young, we’d take some jingle bells and ring them outside the bedroom door, then sneak back downstairs. We’d put on the lights and a recording of Christmas music. That was the clue that it was time to get up.
We don’t open our presents when we first get up, however. Oh, we look to see what “Santa” brought, but before wrapping paper comes off of presents, we have breakfast and do the last reading with all five candles lit. After breakfast, we then get to open packages.
Nativity Scene: Somewhere I read about a different way of setting up this scene. Instead of having it all grouped together, I set it up on the kitchen table. Only the pieces for that week’s reading are in the spotlight. As the events unfold, other pieces come out. I also set the Magi and their camels up, and move them closer to the scene each week. The set doesn’t get put away until Epiphany, which is January Sixth.