Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Worship As a Christmas Tradition

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Leslie Basham: You have the chance to be part of a really unique radio experience. It's a special series on Revive Our Hearts starting January 24. The radio series goes along with a new workbook from Nancy Leigh DeMoss called "Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival". You can do a daily Bible study in the workbook and listen to related material on the air.

For more information you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com or call 1-800-569-5959.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, December 2. Is worship part of your holiday plans? Here's Pam McCune.

Pam McCune: The shepherds came and what did they do? They worshipped the Savior. And then the Wise Men came after he was born, found their way, and they stopped and they just didn't woo and goo and throw a baby shower. No, they worshipped the Savior.

And so what can we do this Christmas? Yes, we can buy gifts; yes we can have great family time. But it would all be sad if we didn't stop and worship the Savior ourselves.

Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We've been enjoying a great conversation this week with Pam McCune and Kim Wier, co-authors of the book, Redeeming the Season, Simple Ideas for a Memorable and Meaningful Christmas.

Pam and Kim are part of Engaging Women Ministries, which involves speaking and conference and retreat ministries, a weekly broadcast ministry and also writing books to help us as women understand how better to apply the Word and the ways of God in everyday, ordinary life matters.

Pam and Kim, thanks so much for being here with us this week to help us get ready for Christmas.

Kim Wier: Oh, it's fun. Thanks for having us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And I appreciate so much how you share out of your own lives. You're both moms. You have five children between you. And you are very transparent in your book, sharing out of your own failures and disasters. People love to hear about our failures, don't they?

Kim Wier: It makes us all feel better about our life when we hear somebody else's is falling apart. So we're happy to oblige.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: But you learned from them and you've also gone to the Scripture and said, "How can we take back Christmas?" It's so easy to give over to and be controlled by the pandemonium and the chaos and to let other people, in the commercialism and the culture, control how we view Christmas.

But you have just kind-of put on the breaks and said, "Stop, we're not going to do Christmas that way. We want to do it in a way that honors the Lord, that edifies and builds our family, that ministers to people in need and that helps us to really be worshippers of Jesus Christ through the Christmas season."

Pam McCune: You know, we think about that first Christmas and one of our favorite aspects of it is how many people came to worship the Savior. The amazing part about it is that they were worshipping a baby - a baby I'm sure [that] was drooling and having dirty diapers.

And He hadn't performed one miracle on earth at that time. Who all was it? Let's see, Anna came in the temple and she stopped and she worshipped the Savior. Simeon came, and he stopped, and God put it on his heart to acknowledge Jesus as the Savior and worship Him.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: This is what they had been living and looking for all their lives.

Pam McCune: Exactly, watching for. And then the shepherds came, and what did they do? They worshipped the Savior. And then the Wise Men came after he was born, found their way, and they stopped and they just didn't woo and goo and throw a baby shower. No, they worshipped the Savior.

And so what can we do this Christmas? Yes, we can buy gifts; yes, we can have great family time, and yes we need to reach out to others. But it would all be sad if we didn't stop and worship the Savior ourselves.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I think one of the reasons, perhaps it's harder for us to worship, is that we're not hearing and seeing it all for the first time as the shepherds did and Anna and Simeon in the temple.

If I had an angel choir come and sing to me, I'd probably be a little bit in awe too. But we've heard this, those of us who've been around the Christmas story and the Gospel for years and years and it's so easy to lose the wonder.

I was really challenged about that earlier this week when I was talking with a man. I asked him how he came to know Christ. And this man, in the course of minutes, was standing there bawling, talking about how fifteen years ago he came to faith in Jesus Christ. He heard a song about the cross of Christ; God opened his eyes, gave him faith, and it is as fresh to him today as if it just happened yesterday.

And I stood there thinking, Oh, Lord, I've gotten crusty about all this. It's too familiar to me and I want eyes at Christmas time to have a fresh sense of the wonder of who Christ is, why He came, what He came to do. I want to be able to have tears at times in reflecting on what God has done.

And one of the things I appreciate about your book, Redeeming the Season, is that you talk about how we can use visual images and objects that are part of our Christmas celebration to remind us of what it's all about.

And as I was reading your book, I was thinking about many times in the Old Testament, when God would give His people visual images and He would say, "Put these rocks here; build an altar here; look at the blood up on the lentil; look at the sacrifice taking place; look at the fire in the burning bush."

God gave His people smoke and fire and pictures. Why? Because He said, "I want you to remember what this is about. And I want you to tell your children what you've seen, what you've experienced, and I want them to tell their children."

And I think one of the important ways of passing on meaningful Christmas traditions is to begin to invest meaning in some of these symbols and pictures that we have as part of our Christmas celebration.

So help get us started in your families and your homes, how do you take some just normal Christmas objects and how do you invest them with meaning so that you're teaching your children and you're getting the fresh sense of the wonder of what it's all about.

Kim Wier: One of the things that we love to do is to redeem our Christmas tree. It's in the middle of everything you do at Christmas. You gather around it. You open presents by it. You sing carols around it. You decorate it. It's a big part of Christmas.

And so, one of the ideas we came up with was "attribute ornaments." We take twenty-five plain old plastic Christmas balls that you can buy at the craft store and a paint pen. On each ornament we write one attribute of Jesus. It might be: forgiving, loving, good, omniscient, faithful, whatever. We give you a list of twenty-five in the book. And we even give you scriptures where you can find Jesus displaying those attributes.

Then one at a time during the course of the holiday, we'll add them to our tree and we'll talk about, "What do you think it means that Jesus is faithful? How have you seen Him be faithful in your life?" And then we'll look up a couple of scriptures that show His faithfulness really in action.

And it is an incredible way to expose not only our kids but also adults to these great attributes. And the result is, when you look at our tree on Christmas day, it isn't just a tree about our favorite ornaments, it is covered with the goodness of God.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Something else that I enjoyed reading about in your book was how you use Nativity scenes or crèches as they're called. Pam, you use those crèches in your home to help your children really grasp the details of the Christmas story.

Pam McCune: I do it for my children, and I do it for me. First off, I have my first Nativity under my Christmas tree because I don't want to just look at presents under there, but I want to go back to what are we celebrating. Once again, it's the Christ child. But I like to use it in different ways.

When we travel, the thing that I buy as a souvenir is usually either a Nativity set or an ornament to remember where we went. We'll write the year and the date and where the place was. I like to have them in every room. The reason is not because I want to see how may Nativities I can have, but it's to stop and remember wherever I go, what am I celebrating?

I want to stop and remember the baby, and why the baby came. The baby came to be a man who was God to pay the penalty that I couldn't pay, to do for me what I couldn't do for myself. And so as I go from room to room, I can look at that, but I love that my children love them too.

The first one they loved was my precious breakable one, and they did break it, even though I told them, "Do not touch the breakable pieces," they broke.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So now you found some that aren't breakable?

Pam McCune: The good part was that I was sad that it was broken, but I was really happy that they wanted to touch Jesus. I didn't want it to be relegated to, "Don't touch Jesus, He's too precious!" Yes, He's precious, but what would I rather them play with than Jesus and Mary and the whole first story and talking about it.

So I got some non-breakable ones and my daughter, she loves it, she puts it right in the middle of her room. And it all centers around the first Christmas, those different pieces. And she uses them almost like a Barbie set, and they talk to each other and you would not believe the stories of the first Christmas according to Madison.

Did you know that Joseph carried Mary because she was so tired, and the donkey was tired? Joseph was very tired after he carried her, but I loved how nurturing he was according to Madison.

And then you go into Conner's room and no, you don't see them in the middle of the floor, they are guarding the entire room because you don't know how many people were trying to break in and kill the first family. And the animals, they were very good guard dogs. And they are grunting to each other and they are fighting; they're putting on wars, all according to his perspective.

And I love it because you never know where his pieces might end up. But because they are with him and they're a part and he's talking about it, and is with it, that it's an interactive experience.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And Pam, you're not suggesting that we want our children to rewrite the Christmas story.

Pam McCune: No.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We want them to know the facts as they took place and to know the difference between fact and fiction, which is why we always take them back to the Scriptural account.

But I think it's such a great thing that our children would come to feel a part of the Christmas story and the biblical stories and to enter into that experience themselves. And something as simple as a Nativity set in the home can be a visual reminder to them of what it is that we are celebrating.

Let me remind you, if they don't get that in your home, there aren't many other places in our culture where they're going to get it.

If you look even at Christmas cards today, you won't see the word Christmas. In these secular card catalogs, you see Seasons Greetings; it's been edited out. And people are seeing all kinds of images about the season, but they're seeing very little that is of spiritual significance.

So if you're like me, you're probably right about now bringing out your Christmas ornaments, your Nativity sets, placing them in different places around your home. Let me encourage you to invest those decorations with meaning and to do, as I do, to have them in different places in your home, different items, things on your tree, Nativity sets, things that will remind you of different elements of the Christmas story.

And then talk about those with your children. Explain to your smallest children, even before you think they're old enough to understand, be talking to them about the biblical account with its details and the story involved.

You want your children to grow up believing that this is a special story. It's true, and its significance is not just for Christmas decorations for right now, but it's something that will last for all of eternity.

Leslie Basham: Our friends at FamilyLife have figured out a way you can connect with your kids in a meaningful way. They've created "Adorenaments," which are a set of Christmas ornaments that teach children the different names of Christ. Kids love discovering what each ornament is about and hanging them up.

You can get more information on "Adorenaments" and all the ideas our guests have shared this week by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

Our Web site is a great place to Christmas shop. No lines, no getting kids in and out of the car, and no shipping and no sales tax. You can also call to order "Adorenaments" at 1-800-569-5959, that's 1-800-569-5959.

When you contact us, would you consider making a donation to Revive Our Hearts to make programs like this one possible? A friend of the ministry has created a matching challenge.

All gifts that our listeners give between now and the end of December will be doubled up to $250,000. Tomorrow we'll hear more about connecting with our kids this holiday season. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Our guests, Pam McCune and Kim Wier, have a Web site that can let you connect with their ministry. It's Engagingwomen.com.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

Thank you, Lynn and Tammy, for preparing today's Revive Our Hearts for the Internet.