Christmas gift giving is a tradition followed by people all over the world - but what is the meaning behind it? It was God who “so loved the world that he gave” Jesus, the Gift of Christmas, God’s own Son, to bring hope and salvation for all! It is this amazing love that inspires our gifts to each other, given with gratitude, love, and joy.
My husband's family tradition included reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 prior to the opening of presents, bringing focus to Jesus as God’s gift to the world. This practice created a pause for gratitude and reflection, adding rich meaning to the time of gift-giving.
We continued this tradition with our own family, even when friends and neighbors were there. I often wondered what it might look like to include everyone in this tradition in a way that would be comfortable for all and help them understand the meaning. We needed something on hand to enable each person to participate - a “hands-on” faith tool for all ages. It would be a visual reminder for keeping the tradition and become a treasured memory for our children and grandchildren. And what would it sound like if the voices of all - young and old, family and friend, faithful or seeking - could be heard proclaiming the precious account of Jesus’ birth to each other?
The supplies are simple and affordable. This project involves making a series of hole-punched cards to be organized onto an “O” ring and then handed out for reading. Christmas cards and scrapbook paper are cut to 4x6 size and attached with double-sided tape or a glue stick.
The verses, words of explanation, and prayer are printed out and then torn or cut out to add to each card. (Tearing around the words creates a vintage effect and is fun for children. Distress ink dabbed around the edges adds visual appeal.) Punch a hole in the upper left-hand corner of the card, assemble on an “O” ring, and add some yarn and ribbon embellishment if desired.
For the cover, choose a card that takes your breath away (because then you will see it every year!) I loved the rich hues of this image and added ribbons and yarn in similar colors.
Scrapbook paper adds visual appeal to the back of each card. An explanation and words to share prior to the reading of the Christmas story are included as an option. This is not meant to be scripted - a family leader may choose their own words - but for those who are not sure or who are new to the faith, this may provide needed support. You might add your own reflections or meaningful words from a Christmas devotion.
Each verse from Luke 2 is on its own card to be handed out when all are gathered. Even small children can participate with help on cards with “Fear not!” or “Glory to God in the highest.”
Searching to find an image to reflect the verse's text becomes an enjoyable task and, in the weeks before Christmas, you might find time to flip through the cards yourself or with children or grandchildren - ask which one is their favorite or talk about how the words connect with what they see. It’s these processes of taking time, of slowing down, of hearing and seeing, and repetition that will help hide the Word in little hearts. The project text is sized to fit vertically on the card -- but the verses will all fit horizontal orientation as well. It’s really up to YOU how you want to put it all together!
And at the end - a closing prayer!
Download instructions and text for this project here:
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:15