Christmas Plans – Part 3

Now that you have your dates and your volunteers lined up, it is time to consider your presentation. Yes, it is nice to sign up to sing carols and of course those who you sing for will appreciate your efforts, no matter how professionally done. But now it is time to ask yourself what goals you have. If those are just to check off the box marked, “Did a good deed” or if it arises from mere pity for those in nursing care, then it will not matter much how you present your program. However, if you hope to bring the message, that God sent Jesus to be born in Bethlehem as the Savior of the world, then presentation matters a great deal. Let’s take a look at the wise men again as we lay out our plans before God and consider how they went about their famous journey.

1)	Pick Your Treasure – Just as the wise men didn’t stop at the nearest shopping mall as they were about to enter Jerusalem, we need to carefully pick our songs. I make up song books so that everyone will have the words in front of them, even for the most familiar of songs

2)	Plan Your Journey – The wise men may not have known that Bethlehem would be their final destination, but they did know approximately how far they needed to go. This part includes not only how many songs, but also a short, interesting and Bible centered Christmas message. This may seem obvious, but stop and ask yourself, - when was the last time you saw a Hallmark Christmas movie that had anything to do with Jesus? There is almost nothing in our current culture that tells anyone that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. Even less mentioned is the fact that God’s Son was named Jesus because as the angel told Joseph, “He came to save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
3)	Present Your Worship – At the end of their journey the Bible tells us that the wise men bowed and worshiped. This moment at the end of your program may be the most important 60 seconds of some one’s life. Here as we finish is our opportunity to ask people to give their hearts to Jesus, just as the wise men gave their gifts. This is what Christmas is all about. If we leave our people with nice Christmas cards, boxes of candy and warm hugs, but fail to give them the message of Jesus we will have failed. Let’s ask God to help us to share His message in such a way as to touch hearts and leave them with the love of Jesus this Christmas.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy, that will be for all the people, Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 NIV

Christmas Plans – Part One

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

When we struggle through hard times, Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the verses that many of us turn to for encouragement. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe God wants us to make some good plans for others as well? Christmas is the biggest opportunity of the year to share the love of Jesus with people in long term care situations. But doing something for Christmas involves planning, participation and preparation (I know it sounds like a sermon already!) Tody we are just focusing on those plans. Three years ago, I was able to get the youth leader from our church to bring some teens along to sing carols at a nearby nursing home. None of them had ever done anything like that before and they were amazed by the tears and the joy on the faces of the residents as they walked the halls and sang the familiar songs of Bethlehem, the star, the shepherds and Jesus. But none of that happened by accident.

But to get to that day, I had to go to the activity director back in October. We sat down in her office and found a n open date between, the Girl Scouts, the Family Christmas dinner at the facility and Bingo night. It might not yet be Halloween, but if you want to do something for Christmas at a facility near you, now is the time to get going! Stay tuned over the next few posts for some ideas on preparation and participation. For now, I’ll just close with just a few photos of programs we have done that may spark a few ideas for you.