A Countdown to Christmas- Part 1 of 2- for now or next year

I started this countdown on December 1st.  yes, yes, i know it’s the 11th, but I wasn’t thinking of a blog post until today.  New bloggers, whaddaya do with ’em?

 

So anyway, “this past Sunday” was November 29th but, well, just read it.  You’ll get the point.  Thanks.  🙂

 

Every time there are 5 Sundays in a month, my church has what we call “Out of the Box Sunday.”  It’s where we do things to serve the community we are in (the Pellissippi Corridor and specifically Karns High School).  This serves as a way to immerse ourselves into the community the way Christ intended for His church.  So this past Sunday, we made Christmas cards for all of the teachers at Karns as a way to show them we appreciate the use of their space- we have classes in their classrooms and try hard to get them all back in order so they wouldn’t know we were there (they know, we just don’t want to make them clean up after us).  We also decorated trays of cookies to take away and share or keep- it was just one way to be in community with our church family, too-  and we made countdown to Christmas chains.

 

A Countdown to Christmas Chain is literally a chain of daily ideas or ways to have fun and prepare for Christmas day, starting with 24 days til Christmas and counting down to 1.  Shopping and family obligations can take the fun out of the season and, even if you’re doing that stuff together, it’s not difficult to get wrapped up in the “job” of it instead of the real meaning behind it.  In my heart, Christmas is about family and most importantly, about the birth of Christ Jesus.  So when I made my chain, I made it with my work family in mind.  I also kept in mind cost- we already have families to buy presents for and finger foods to bring in for this place, so I was thinking about fun things to do together that won’t break the bank.  The links were printed and laminated with Scripture already on them that I will share daily, too.  Here’s a couple of ideas- and keep in mind that I made the list, so you know that it can get a little goofy…

 

  • Decorate your bedroom for Christmas!
  • Write Santa a letter!  Tell him about all the great gifts you’ve received and, regardless of your age, tell him about all the ones you didn’t get but still wish for!
  • Build a gingerbread house- and if it falls over, put a toy dinosaur on it and call it a victory!

 

So, see?  Nothing very painful.  I will be posting the scripture and “unveiling” the daily fun activity here by my desk for all to view.  If you can’t come to me and want to see it, just respond to me (not to ALL) and I will be happy to keep the email chain up for you.  We don’t have to do this stuff here or after work- unless you want to!  But it’s my way of giving you all an idea of some things (that are mostly free) that you can do to have fun with your friends or families.  The ones that aren’t free are probably made up of stuff you already have laying around the house!  So let’s do this and we will start here with this one:

 

Countdown- 24 Days til Christmas

Scripture to Read-

Matthew 2:9-11  English Standard Version (ESV)

9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

 

Fun Idea:

  • Invite neighbors or friends over for a night of board games…. Take pictures to share!

 

Yeah, so I didn’t have the calendar with me to work with weekend ideas, but you get the gist of it!  If you can’t do it tonight, save it for another day this month.  And you don’t have to do them all.  I just wanted to jog your minds for ways to celebrate Christmas without stressing.  I hope we can all look back at this month and laugh and, of course, make fun of each other for some of the junk we did!

Peace y’all and Happy December!

Countdown- 23 Days til Christmas

Scripture to Read-

Matthew 2:2  English Standard Version (ESV)

saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose[a] and have come to worship him.”

 

You remember the story about how the Messiah was supposed to be coming that would be born of royalty so everyone wanted to go see Him?  Yeah, they were in for a surprise, huh?  Lucky us.  J

 

Fun Idea:

  • Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru!  Pay a blessing forward.

 

Peace y’all…

Countdown- 22 Days til Christmas

Good morning everyone- I hope the paint fumes aren’t messing with you too much!  It’s looking better around here, but it seems that improvement only comes after adversity, right?  Like a potter can throw the perfect vase on his wheel, but it’s structurally useless until it goes through the fire… funny how life does that to us, too.

 

Scripture to Read-

Matthew 2:1  English Standard Version (ESV)

The Visit of the Wise Men

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men[a] from the east came to Jerusalem,

 

The scripture isn’t necessarily in order on the calendar strips, so it skips around within the story, but I’m sure it will all work out in the end…. Wait- yes, as a matter of fact, it does do that.

 

Fun Idea:

  • Bake cookies and deliver them to the clerk(s) at your favorite morning stop.  Chances are, you’ve been going there for years and see that they work nearly every holiday and get little thanks for it.  Like the lyrics to one of my favorite songs these days say, “Why sit around and wait for a miracle to come, when you can be one?” J

 

Peace y’all…

Countdown- 21 Days til Christmas

Oh, Vector Files,

Vector Files,

How I wish you’d work!

If they fix

The errors today

I won’t act like a jerk!

 

Sometimes, if I’d just take the time to say, “Show me, “or “Help me,” my life would be so much less stressful.  I sure hope none of you are as stubborn as I am! Unlike building eFiles now that Vector is “technically” up and running, today’s countdown item is one that should help alleviate stress and lighten your spirits- a no pressure kind of fun thing to do!

 

Scripture to Read-

Luke 2:25-32  English Standard Version (ESV)

 

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant[a] depart in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”

 

People in the time of Jesus were quicker to believe because they had the opportunity to actually see Him.  I’ve heard it said that the most REAL things in this life are the Ones we can’t see.  Today I’ll choose to believe that.

 

Fun Idea:

  • Go “Christmas Wish Window Shopping” with friends or family.  No Buying!!  Wishing Only!! J

 

Peace y’all…

Countdown- Weekend Edition

Since I wasn’t prepared for the weekend events, I will do better this week.  Here’s what you missed for Saturday and Sunday:

 

Saturday- 20 days til Christmas:

Scripture to Read-

Luke 2:22-24  English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Presented at the Temple

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

 

Luke 3:21-22  English Standard Version (ESV)

21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son;[a] with you I am well pleased.”[b]

 

Fun Idea:

  • If you’re unable to “sponsor” a name on a local Angel Tree, go there and pray for the names on it!  Ask God to meet the needs of each tag’s namesake and to bless them through the Christmas season.  That’s the best present we can give.

 

Sunday- 19 days til Christmas:

Scripture to Read-

Luke 2:21 English Standard Version (ESV)

 

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

 

Fun Idea:

  • “Camp out” in front of the Christmas tree with!  Pretend the lights are stars and make a wish on each one… oh yes you can, too! ;0)

 

Countdown- 18 days til Christmas:

Scripture to Read-

Luke 2:19-20 English Standard Version (ESV)

19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

 

Luke 2:33-35  English Standard Version (ESV)

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

 

He came for all for us.  Every. One. Of. Us.  Yep, YOU, my friend, are worth Jesus.

 

Fun Idea:

  • Watch a Christmas movie together.  Grab your kids or the dog or (no, not Sgt. Pepper) your neighbors, grab someone and watch a Christmas movie with them!  Cry at the sappy parts….

 

Peace y’all…

Countdown- 17 Days til Christmas

It’s moving quickly, isn’t it?  I hope you’re taking the time to slow down and see the lights, put up your own lights, drink some wassail, eat something smothered in cinnamon, and to be thankful for the best time of year!  The time of year that some humans actually go out of their way to be kinder, to smile more, to show that they really do know what it’s all about, even if it’s short lived.  In the end, it’s all about the babe… and I don’t mean the one that

 

Scripture to Read-

Psalm 95:6-7  English Standard Version (ESV)

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,

 

Fun Idea:

  • Make a list of everything you love about each member of your family. Write the lists individually on pretty or festive paper and wrap it up to place under the tree for them to open up on Christmas Eve for sweeter dreams before Christmas morning!

 

Peace y’all…

Countdown- 16 Days til Christmas

It’s “Mint Day” for the 12 (Business) Days of Christmas here in my office so I tried one of the donuts…. It wasn’t mint-y… but it was really good… I hope you all know you’re worth a mint to me. J

 

Scripture to Read-

Luke 2:15-18  English Standard Version (ESV)

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

 

Why is it that we have such a hard time believing unless an angel comes to us and says, “Dude!  Go that way!”?  Sometimes I wish I’d get more of those, but real faith believes anyway.  I’ll try that today.

 

Fun Idea:

  • Take some funny photos as a group or family and post them to social media! I’ve got snowman glasses at my desk if you want to borrow them! ;0)

 

Peace y’all…

Countdown- 15 Days til Christmas

I hope everyone is having a great December so far!  Mine is looking like the best one I’ve had in a long time.

 

Scripture to Read-   

Luke 2:13-14  King James Version (KJV)

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 

My only goal in this life is to one day hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  That’s what it’s all about.

 

Fun Idea:

  • Bake a Birthday cake for Jesus!  Who cares what the office of diversity says! We wouldn’t even be celebrating this time of year if it wasn’t for Him, so remember to include Him in your festivities.

 

Peace y’all…

Countdown- Weekend Edition 2

Countdown- Friday- 14 Days til Christmas

Oh, look!  It’s Friday again!!  This time, I’ll give you the weekend ideas BEFORE the weekend.  Don’t know about you, but I have a LOT to look forward to this weekend; friends, food, music, and my son visiting.  Here’s some ideas for ways you can spend yours!

 

 

Scripture to Read-  

Luke 2:12  King James Version (KJV)

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 

Fun Idea:

  • Write and send letters to out of town/ out of state friends or relatives.  Not just a Christmas card, but an actual note.  Remember what that was like before texting?  I’ve got pens if you need to borrow one….

 

Countdown- Saturday- 13 Days til Christmas

Scripture to Read-   

Luke 2:8-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

 

Do you remember in the Charlie Brown movie, when Linus was on the stage and telling this part of the story?  Did you know that if you watch closely, between the frames when he said, “And the angel said unto them” and “Fear not,” you will see that Linus dropped his security blanket?

 

He went from this:

 

Before

To this:

After

It’s a 50 year old cartoon that shows that even this little boy knew he could trust the angel when he said it was all going to be ok…

 

Fun Idea:

  • Visit a live Nativity Scene with family or friends.

 

Countdown- Sunday- 12 Days til Christmas

Scripture to Read-   

Isaiah 9:6  English Standard Version (ESV)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon[a] his shoulder,
and his name shall be called[b]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

Isaiah’s part of the story took place way before the birth of Jesus, but he sure did know what he was talking about.  You see, Adam and Eve burned the bridge between us and God at the fall of mankind.  Being born in sin literally just means being born without the knowledge of God.  But the truth is that God didn’t want us to think He was unapproachable so He gave us Jesus as a way to draw near to Him.  How cool is that?!

 

Fun Idea:

  • Decorate your bedroom for Christmas!  Go all out with lights, stockings, and decorations all over the place! Come on, you know you want to!

 

Peace y’all…

 

 

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