The ball has dropped in Times Square, New York City and you give your husband a lingering kiss. Christmas is over and a new year has begun!
However, celebrating doesn’t have to wait until next year. You can celebrate all year long. There is always something to rejoice and be glad about.
Each holiday, birthday, and special occasion that arises is a time where I can pass on values, build family unity, and rejoice in God’s goodness. Traditions are great ways to do all three things. I love to be proactive when it comes to celebrating. And did I mention having fun?
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January 6 gives us Three Kings Day, or Epiphany, which is very popular among Hispanics in my home state of Florida. This is a time to remember the wise men and the three gifts they brought after following the star to Jesus. Carols, dressing up and acting out the story, and celebrating the gifts Jesus gave us and what we can give Him makes the holiday special.
February 14 is St. Valentine’s Day, where we remember St. Valentine who was martyred for his love for Jesus. It has morphed into a day of romance and love. You can celebrate either aspect of the holiday or both. Read the true story of St. Valentine together and talking about the sacrifice of following Jesus. We also like to make hearts with Bible verses inside and pull out our wedding album, sharing our love story with the children. Hebrews 13 tells us that marriage should be honored by all so St. Valentine’s Day is a great time to honor marriage the perfect place for romantic love.
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St. Patrick’s Day falls on March 17 and has evolved into a rowdy celebration associated with Irish culture, but this devout man of God has an amazing testimony of his own conversion, as well as the miracles that took place in Ireland as he proclaimed Christ and saw almost the whole island converted to Christ. We like to print a map of Ireland and cover it with smudges. Then we put green shamrock stickers (representing the life of Christ) over the smudges to symbolize how the life and blood of Jesus covers our sin.
Easter Sunday is on April 21 this year and as always, the Christian world will rejoice around the world with singing, bells ringing, parades, feasts, and family fun. When our children were little they would dress up in bathrobes and act out the Holy Week and Easter Story. What fun!
Mothers Day is the second Sunday in May falling on May 12, 2019 this year. Honoring Moms is a great way to put Ephesians 6:1-4 into practice. Children watch how we honor our own moms and it sets a pattern for the rest of their lives. Let them help you make something special for Grandmas and sign the cards you send.
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Father’s Day on June 16, 2019 is another opportunity to obey Ephesians 6:1-4. This time we can work with our children, talking about how wonderful Daddy is, how hard he works, and brainstorming special ideas for Father’s Day like his favorite meal or dessert, tickets to a sporting event, or a nice foot rub.
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Fourth of July is a national celebration with fireworks and family picnics. Around our house, we like to remind our children of the price our Founding Fathers paid to purchase our freedom. We read stories set in the American Revolution.
August is the final month of summer so it’s a great time to take that picnic at the lake you’ve been talking about all summer. Or catch fireflies. Or go on a family bike ride. Or make homemade ice cream. Or spend the weekend at the beach. Or go fishing.
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September is back to school time and I like to be enthusiastic and celebrate! Maybe the first day can be going out to lunch together and sharing what dreams they have for the coming year and praying for one another. I like to show my children all the books we will be reading –I love books!- and tell them how I am so excited to learn about all that is coming up in the school year! I love to learn and get excited when it’s time to start learning together again!
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We love to celebrate Reformation Day on October 31 and we take it a step further to learn about heroes of the faith throughout history. This is such a faith builder for everyone. We often have a “Heroes for Jesus Party” with other homeschooling families where we have adults dress up as Christian heroes, role playing and sharing their testimonies. Our children go from station to station to listen to their testimonies and play games.
In November, it’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving with yummy food and extended family. We love the story of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower and use this time to share their story and their longing for freedom to worship the Lord as they believed the Bible asked them to.
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Can you believe we’re back around to Christmas and New Year’s. I go all out decorating for Jesus’ Birthday and plan special family events to make Christmas more meaningful like caroling to our neighbors, filling a shoebox for poor children, and throwing a birthday party for Jesus. We also have family devotions, cookie baking day, and a special evening when we decorate the tree.
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Celebrate All Year
We often hear “the joy of the Lord is our strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10) and it’s true! However, did you know that the context of that verse in Nehemiah is that the Israelites had rediscovered the Scriptures and they were devastated because of their sin now revealed by the Word of God. The Lord tells them that they will have time to repent later, but first to celebrate because the law has been found.
We all have hard times we go through and life is not easy. It makes a difference in our hearts to set time aside to celebrate God’s goodness and focus on the positive. When we do that, there is a joy that creeps in!
So, this year whether you are facing insurmountable trials or breezing along, take time to remember the Lord and His goodness…and celebrate!
Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of Joyful and Successful Homeschooling. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at PowerlineProd.com . Free Reading Lists for all ages are available at JSHomeschooling.com. Read her blogs at MeredithCurtis.com (http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog ) and PowerlineProd.com and listen to her at Finish Well Radio