Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Twelve Days of Christmas

As we observe the twelve days of Christmas, from December 25th to January 6th, here are some ideas to continue devotionally meditating on the Christmas story in your household and as a family:

1. Watch the Sparkhouse video "The Magi"--

2. Read the Christmas narratives from different gospels out loud as a family, including Luke 2:1-20, John 1:1-14, and Matthew 1-2

3. Check some great Christmas books out from the church or public library

4. Light a Christmas candle each day in honor of the presence of Christ in our lives

6. Pray morning, noon, evening, and night prayers using this great prayer resource from a Lutheran church in Hawaii:

7. Give things away: plan to participate in a January housecleaning, giving away at least one thing out of your house every day of January. Start cataloging what you will give, and who you will give it to.

8. Go visit someone: in a nursing home, a prison, the hospital, a homebound church member, a neighbor you know is lonely during the holidays. Call your church office and volunteer for a worship or service ministry.

9. In honor of the extravagant gifts given in the last few days of the twelve days, give a really big year-end gift (or a beginning of the year gift) to your favorite charity, perhaps your local church or a world relief agency like Lutheran World Relief:

10. Feast: shut everything off, fire up the oven, and enjoy a really great sit down meal together as a family that you all prepared together. Light a candle for Christ, and give thanks for another year of blessings. Pray the Lord's Prayer before you eat.

11. Worship during the twelve days: Gather with your own congregation for carols on the first Sunday after Christmas, then again the second Sunday after Christmas for an Epiphany celebration. If you are traveling, use this handy tool to find an ELCA congregation near you:

Share other great Twelve Days traditions your family observes in the comments below, and Merry Christmas! May the light of Christ shine in your hearts, and be the justice and reconciliation we seek in the world.

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