Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Christ-Centered Christmas Tree

I am so excited about December this year.  I always look forward to planning fun things for my family to do that will fill our home with the spirit of Christmas.  This year I have decided to make and decorate a "Christ-Themed" Christmas tree. 

I wanted to get another tree for the family room that was all about Christ.  If the Savior were to walk in our home and see this tree, I would want him to know that it was all about Him. 

I have gathered up some very special ornaments........to be wrapped up for one of the children to open each day of December.  There are some sweet stories that go with each ornament that we are going to try to read each night.  In the evening before the kids go to bed, we are going to gather around our tree and read our story and open their special ornament to place on the tree.  Some days, Depending on "life" we will have a fun activity to go along with our ornament and story. 

More than anything else, I want my children to know and feel the love of the Savior in their lives.  I want them to recognize the spirit and crave its presence and to truly feel the spirit of Christmas. 


So here we go....

Day 1: Today the kids got to unwrap Christ's tree.






 We picked a good spot in the living room and placed a few of the ornaments that I have had a chance to wrap...underneath. Then we read the story titled "Part of a Miracle". This is one of my favorites. You must read:

       Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: " I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!" The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it's way to the ocean. " I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world! The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.
Years, passed. The rain came, the sun shone and the little trees grew tall. One day three wood cutters climbed the mountain. The first wood cutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. "Now I shall make a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" the first tree said.
       The second wood cutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It's perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. " I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"
       The third tree felt her heart sink when the last wood cutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the wood cutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me." He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax, the third tree fell.
       The first tree rejoiced when the wood cutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, or treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the wood cutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and awed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river, instead she was taken to a little lake. The third tree was confused when the wood cutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. " All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."
Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. "I wish I could make a cradle for him." Her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. " This manger is beautiful." She said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.
One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and a thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She new she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awoke. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.
       One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten wood pile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hand to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.
The next time you feel down because you didn't get what you wanted, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.

Day 2:  The kids unwrapped a couple boxes of white lights to be strung on our tree. 




We read a little poem called "Gospel Tree" and talked about how Jesus is the light of the world. 

There once was a shining Christmas tree
Standing out where all could see.
Its brilliance captured every eye
And seemed to cheer each passer by.
"The lights are so bright," they would say
And hesitate to walk away.
The tree stood proud ablaze with light
For every light was burning bright.
Then some bulb was heard to say
"I'm tired of burning night and day;
I think I'll just go out and take a rest
For I'm too tired to do my best;
Besides I am so very small
I doubt if I'd be missed at all."
Then a child lovingly touched the light,
"Look, mother, this one shines so very bright.
I think of all the lights upon the tree
This one looks the best to me."
"Oh my goodness," said the light
"I almost dimmed right out of sight.
I thought perhaps no one would care
If I failed to shine my share."
With that a glorious brilliance came
For every light had felt the same.
Our Gospel, like this Christmas tree,
With little lights which are you and me,
We each have a space that we must fill
With love, and lessons and good will.
Let's keep our tree ablaze with light,
With testimonies burning bright.
For our Gospel is a living tree
That lights the way to eternity.
 I love that the lights are white because it is so symbolic of the Savior...pure and without sin. 

Day 3:  We opened 3 angels to be placed on the tree.

For the top



We talked about how angels were there that heavenly night proclaiming the birth of the Savior. We read the story called " The Littlest Angel" which you can find here if you want to read it. 


Day 4:  The kids opened an ornament of a letter J....because J is for Jesus. 



Turned upside down, the cane makes a "J"
For Jesus who was born on Christmas day.
Turn it upright like the good shepherd's staff
Who pleads to the Father on your behalf.
At the top you'll see the saving crook
Used on the lost sheep he never forsook.
The striped whisper softly, "By his stripes we are healed".
The red represents His blood that was spilled.
The white gives us hope to become pure as He,
By forsaking our sins, white as snow they may be.
The peppermint oil that flavors this treat
Is known for its strong healing properties.
Now each time you see the striped candy cane,
Remember dear child. He knows your name. 

Day 5:  The kids unwrapped a nail ornament. 




It's Christmas time at our house
and we're putting up the tree.
I wish I could find some simple way
to remember Christ's gift to me.
Some little sign or symbol
to show friends stopping by,
The little babe was born one day
but He really came to die.
Some symbol of His nail-pierced hands,
the blood He shed for you and me.
What if I hung a simple nail
on my shining Christmas tree?
A crimson bow tied round the nail
as His blood flowed down so free,
To save each person from their sin
and redeem us for eternity.
I know it was His love for us
that held Him to the tree,
But when I see this simple nail
I know He died for me.


Day 5:  The kids opened this ornament of an angel with the word JOY on her skirt.  Then we read a story called "A Brother Like That" which you can read HERE.






Day 6: I was so excited about our tree decoration today....most especialy because I actually made it.....instead of just buying it.



 I thought up as many names as I could that the Savior was known by.

-Wonderful, Counselor, Jesus, Lamb of God, Alpha and Omega, Bread of Life, Light of the World, The Good Shepherd, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Son of the most high, Everlasting, Emmanuel, Savior, King, Redeemer, Beloved Son, Carpenters Son, Christ Child, Comforter, Creator, Deliverer, Divine Son, Eternal, Exemplar, First Born, The great I am, Healer, Living Water, Lord, Master & Mighty One. 

 Anyways, I typed them up and printed them on cardstock and laminated them.  Then I strung them through some pretty ribbon to make a garland for the tree. 

Then we read a story from President Monson's  Christmas Devotional....which is so touching!

President Monson recalled an experience he had as an 11-year-old boy attending Primary. One day, the Primary president, a gray-haired lady named Melissa, asked him to stay behind to converse with her.“She placed her arm about my shoulder and began to cry,” he related. “Surprised, I asked her why she was crying. “She replied, ‘I can’t seem to get the Trail Builder boys to be reverent during the opening exercises of Primary. Would you be willing to help me, Tommy?’
He promised that he would, and soon found that his promise ended any problem of reverence in Primary.
“She had gone to the source of the problem – me,” he said. “The solution was love.”  Years later, Melissa, who was in her 90s, was living in a Salt Lake City nursing home.  “Just before Christmas I determined to visit my beloved Primary president,” President Monson recounted. While driving to the destination, he heard on the car radio the song “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” He thought of the wise men who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Christ child.
“I brought only the gift of love and a desire to say thank you,” he said. He found Melissa in the lunch room of the nursing home staring at her plate of food. As he spoke to her there was no response, only a blank stare. He took her fork in his hand and began to feed her, talking all the time about her service to boys and girls as a Primary worker.  Two other residents of the nursing home gazed in puzzlement at him, and one said, “Don’t talk to her. She doesn’t know anyone – even her own family. She hasn’t said a word in all the time she’s been here.”  As the lunch ended and he stood to leave, he held her hand and said, “God bless you, Melissa. Merry Christmas.”  “Without warning, she spoke the words, ‘I know you. You’re Tommy Monson, my Primary boy. How I love you.’ She pressed my hand to her lips and bestowed on it a sweet kiss filled with love. Tears coursed down her cheeks and bathed our clasped hands. Those hands, that day, were hallowed by heaven and graced by God. The herald angels did sing.”

Day 7:  The kids opened this beautiful ornament that reads "Keep Christ In Christmas" and then we read the poem "T'was The Night Before The Savior Came"....which you can find HERE. 




.......And that ends the first week of December for us.  I am so excited to see how the rest of the tree turns out as we decorate it in His honor. 

1 comments:

bh said...

You are amazing! What an awesome way to remember what this season is all about!

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