Skip to main content

NOEL--Celebrating the Christmas Season

Now that the girls are older, they anticipate Christmas, specifically the PRESENTS! In attempt to keep the focus of the season not on how and when they receive things, last year I made a poster of activities of Christmastime--things they could look forward to until present-opening-time, and things that keep us focused on Christ's birth and giving to others. We would check off each activity as the days in December rolled by.  This year, I wanted to give even more focus to the different categories of activities and why we do them.  I thought about making my poster say "Christmas JOY" and have each letter of the word JOY be a category with the good ol' acronym: Jesus, Others, Yourself.  But as I've seen more and more entitlement sins grow in my kids (and myself) in our materialistic culture, I didn't want to separate Christ from any of the activities. 
I decided to use the word Noel. I always thought Noel meant "Good News" (probably because of the Christmas carol "Noel, Noel, Good News I tell."  But it is actually an Old French word for Christmas. It's Latin root means "birth", and in Irish they use it in their phrase for December, which means "Month of the Newborn."  I thought this was the perfect word for the entire Christmas season! I wanted the birth of our Savior to be the over-arching reason for all the fun we are going to have.  So our activities fall into a 4-category acrostic:

N= Nearest & Dearest
  • Johnson Family Christmas Eve
  • Family Gift Exchanges
  • Christmas Dinner with Grammy & Grandpa
  • Homemade Christmas ornaments for relatives
  • Christmas cards
  • Make candy and deliver it to neighbors
  • Package for the Pippins
  • Visit the Mirike Family and their new baby boy!
  • Staff Team Christmas party
O = Others
E = Exaltation
  • Countdown to Christmas Advent (with scripture and candy).
  • "What God Wants for Christmas" Children's Story and Nativity
  • Christmas Carols
  • Nativity---toy, decor, and live
  • Worship at church
  • "Merry Christmas with Love" (Prestonwood's Free Christmas Event)
  • Annual Charlie Brown night with hot chocolate (don't laugh at me that I put Charlie Brown in the exaltation category).
  • Happy Birthday, Jesus! family activities (special dessert, coloring activity pad)
L = Living it Up! (All of these "just for fun" activities are so exciting for the girls that they all receive exclamation marks on our poster. :) While browsing online for fun events in the Dallas area, I discovered that you can drop a lot of coin in the "Living it Up" category. However, there are a lot of free events around Dallas, so we opted to just do those).
  • Pictures with Santa!
  • Watch The Polar Express!
  • Decorate our tree!
  • Ice-Skating Show!
  • Paint toenails with red polish and glitter!
  • Ice Sculptures with Grammy & Grandpa!
  • Frisco Square Light Show!
  • Mommy and daughters' date to Kitty's Jr. High Choir Christmas Concert!
  • Cartoons! --Rudolph, The Grinch, Veggie Tales, Mickey Mouse, etc.
  • Bake Mississippi Mud Cake!
  • Make Paper Snowflakes! 
The girls colored their N.O.E.L poster today, and we are hanging it in the kitchen next to our advent.   
(p.s. I don't know what is up with my font color-selector--it is having a mind of its own today). :/

Popular posts from this blog

Top 10 Reasons Why People Don't Read the Bible

I've spent 15+ years in ministry, and I've noticed a problem:
people who say they believe the Bible haven't actually read it, and people who don't believe the Bible don't want to read it. My response to both groups is this: YOU ARE MISSING OUT! Why? Because the Bible is the best proven source for life-changing joy and peace. And since it's misquoted and misrepresented all the time, you need to actually read it yourself in order to know if you do/don't agree with it or do/don't want to read it.

When I mention this, it usually surfaces at least one of these 10 barriers that prevent folks from completing it. Do you relate to any of these?

10 Reasons Most People Don't Read the Bible, Refuted 1. I'm not religious. The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. Jesus has been hailed by secular sources as the most influential person to ever walk on the earth. Most people, even those who don't worship God, agree that Jesus was a good person with a …

Essential Christian Book List

There are impressive blog posts with images and links and amazon store commissions. This ain't one of those posts. My list doesn't contain the most recent pop culture Christian trends. Instead it's simple, dependable, filled with classics--some new, some old, and some perhaps forgotten.

*Note: I'm not calling anything a "must-read" except for the Bible. It's on a list all its own. It's the absolute most essential collection of written words ever, and if you need convincing, please read my previous post about it. 
These books help in your journey to better understanding the Bible, the Gospel, and your identity as a child of God:Study Bible (ESV/NLT/NIV/CSB)Reason for God, Tim KellerFaith is Not a Feeling, Ney BaileyThe Normal Christian Life, Watchman NeeMaster Plan of Evangelism, Robert ColemanMore Than a Carpenter, Josh McDowellThe 3D Gospel, Jayson GeorgesVictory Over the Darkness, Neil T. AndersonWith, Skye JethaniThe Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis Yo…

Life After Summer Mission

(originally published 2013, updated 2018)
If what started out as the hardest summer of your life
-working the longest hours you've ever worked,
-being stretched physically, emotionally, and spiritually,
-relying on God to make it to the end of the week (much less 5 or 10 weeks),
-wondering how you were gonna live happily for that long with all these new people...

If you thought all of that was challenging, you had no idea that the biggest challenge came at the end-

-after God had pushed you through to the other side:
where the work seemed tiring but in a rewarding way,
where the schedule stretched you thin, but you now know yourself and God better because of carving out time for Him,
where you stepped into scary situations and saw God show up in ways only He can,
where you now know once strangers soul to soul, backwards, forwards and sideways, and you love them anyways,
where you experienced that they love YOU in spite of every flaw you possess,
and that saying goodbye to mission …