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Follow the Star: Reconnecting with the true meaning of Christmas

There is nothing more important to me than passing my faith on to my kids. For years I’ve searched for just the right Christmas activity to do with my kids that will help them focus their eyes on the true reason for the season – Jesus’ birth. I think I have finally found it! The Christmas Star From Afar game helps them reconnect with the true meaning of Christmas and teaches them to follow the Star… the true light of the world. 

For years I've searched for just the right Christmas activity to do with my kids that will help them focus their eyes on the true reason for the season - Jesus' birth. I think I have finally found it! The Christmas Star From Afar game helps them reconnect with the true meaning of Christmas and teaches them to follow the Star... the true light of the world.

I love Christmas! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Even during the hardest years, Christmas is a reminder to me of a baby born two thousand years ago, who came to take away the sins of the world. To be my savior. And to me, that is amazing and exciting! Something to be celebrated! It’s something I want to share with my kids.

So over the years, I have tried different ways to incorporate that idea and feeling into the Christmas festivities with my kids during the days leading up to Christmas.

Elf on the Shelf Alternatives

We have done countdown calendars with a fun activity each day, which was really awesome and something I still sort of incorporate during our festivities. But as a working mom, I have a hard time sitting down for a craft or activity every single day with my kids. So the countdown calendar is now filled with Andes mints and Hershey Kisses. But candy, while the kids love it, doesn’t help me incorporate Jesus into our daily Christmas activities.

I love the idea of Elf on the Shelf…. It looks like so much fun, but I don’t really like to celebrate Santa in place of Jesus. And it creeps me out just a little bit to think that an elf is watching us and tattling to Santa. So I have looked for different fun activities that are similar to Elf on a Shelf, but focus on giving to others.

A couple of years ago, I introduced the Christmas Mouse, who was a stuffed mouse we already owned who wrote letters to my kids everyday during the weeks before Christmas. He would do silly things, hide in crazy places, and sometimes give them missions to do for others like send a Christmas card to a friend or make a craft for Grandma. I really loved this activity, and would probably do it still, but the dog ate our mouse! RIP, Christopher P. Mouse.

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Christmas Star from Afar

So this year, when I saw the Star From Afar set, I knew I had to try it! I was looking for a fun, but simple to implement alternative to the Elf on the Shelf, and the Star from Afar set was the perfect fit! I love that it is easy to set up each day… Just find a quick place to hide it, and you are done. And I really, really love that it helps my kids to reconnect with the real meaning of Christmas… Jesus!

Here’s how it works:

You hide the star each day, and the kiddos go and search for the star. When they find it, they leave the three wise men figures in the place where they found the star, and you move the star to it’s new hiding place for tomorrow’s search. Each day, you move the star just a little closer to the manger where Jesus is. The wise men are searching for the newborn king, and they will find him on Christmas Morning! There is a Scripture verse to read each day after you find the star, too.

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How it has worked for us

So on December 1, my kids and I sat down and read the beautiful story of the wise men and how they traveled from a far country to follow the star. It really is a wonderful retelling of the timeless Bible story. I had tears in my eyes as I read it to my kiddos. (Yeah, I do cry over everything. But this was Jesus. And wise men seeking a King. Totally cry-worthy!)

As soon as we read the book they were ready to be off… and follow the star for themselves! So the first day, I hid it in my bedroom, which is the farthest room from where we set the nativity scene up. It took them considerable more time to find it than I thought. I had to give them hints before they found it! (You’re getting warmer… Colder… Hotter… Burning Hot!)

So each day I have hidden it somewhere just a little closer to the manger. One day, I hid it in the kids bathroom and it was afternoon before anyone found it. I now have proof that they sneak in and use my bathroom! I thought that bathroom used a lot of TP! lol

There have been a couple of days when we have been busy and not been able to do the search, but it’s ok! We just find it the next day, read two Scriptures and continue on in our search for the King.

What I think about Star From Afar

To be perfectly honest, I LOVE this game. I wish I had found something like this ten years ago! I wouldn’t have had to search high and low for a fun activity to do with my kids in the days leading up to Christmas!

And here’s the thing. Even if you didn’t play the game, the book and wooden nativity set are amazing, and well worth the cost of the set! I really want to get this set for my 3-year-old nephew… What a legacy to start such an amazing tradition so early! He will have memories of following the star every Christmas!

What an amazing way to have a fun, God-honoring Christmas activity with your kids that will help them celebrate the TRUE meaning of Christmas instead of focusing on a guy in a red suit. I really do love it!

Daily Scripture Readings

If there is anything I am not crazy about is that the daily Scriptures in the back are in NIV, which throws me off when I’m reading them, because we always used King James Version growing up and the wording is just a little bit different. But I just look up the Scriptures in my KJV and we are all good. I’m thinking about making scripture cards to go with the star each day in KJV. If you want NIV though, they have them here. (check below for a coupon code… because you know I’m all about saving money!)

While we are talking about the Scripture passages, I want to say that I love the scriptures the author has chosen to read every day. Before our book arrived, I expected the verses to be the “normal” Christmas scriptures from Luke (and there are those,) but there are many other scriptures added in there too. Like Psalm 119:105… Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path. All kinds of really great scriptures that weave God’s light throughout the Christmas story passages. And on Christmas Day, the final scripture is John 3:16. I love that the focus is on salvation, because that is why Jesus came. To save His People from their sins. Oh, what an amazing thought!

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Get yours!

You can order your own set from Star From Afar. They have given me a coupon code for all of my wonderful readers, so that you can get 10% off of your purchase!

Get it HERE!

Coupon Code: FOLLOWTHESTAR

Expires: December 25, 2016

 

Christmas Star From Afar Giveaway!

The publisher has generously offered to send one of my readers a copy of this awesome Christmas Star From Afar game. Enter below to win! Giveaway ends at 12:00 am on December 17, 2016. I will notify winner by email. Publisher will be responsible for delivery of your prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The publisher sent me a free copy of this set to review. I did not receive any further compensation. All opinions are my own.

24 Comments

  • Michele

    December 14, 2016 at 2:55 am Reply

    That’s a unique and beautiful tradition and game to play to remind the family the meaning of Christmas. One tradition we have is to make a birthday card for Jesus and we sing happy birthday to him.

    • Amy Lanham

      December 14, 2016 at 3:09 am Reply

      That’s a great tradition! We have made a birthday cake for Jesus in the past, but not every year. Thanks for visiting!

    • Roberta Coleman

      December 15, 2016 at 11:22 pm Reply

      I love this idea. We do not do Santa so this is great. Thank you for sharing.

  • Margo Gentile

    December 14, 2016 at 10:47 am Reply

    I tweeted this-such a great idea.

    • Amy Lanham

      December 14, 2016 at 11:53 pm Reply

      Thanks so much!

  • Katherine Murray

    December 14, 2016 at 12:30 pm Reply

    Our favorite tradition is going to the Christmas Cantata at our church. It is always such a beautiful service!

    • Amy Lanham

      December 14, 2016 at 11:54 pm Reply

      Oh, that’s one of my favorite things too!

  • Starla Jimenez

    December 14, 2016 at 12:45 pm Reply

    Reading the story, straight from the bible of Jesus’ birth!

    • Amy Lanham

      December 14, 2016 at 11:54 pm Reply

      Oh, that’s a great tradition!

  • crystal mccord

    December 14, 2016 at 1:11 pm Reply

    Our advents!

    • Amy Lanham

      December 14, 2016 at 11:55 pm Reply

      Fun!

  • april pao

    December 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm Reply

    Im always looking for fun and new ideas for bringing in the meaning of Christmas. My kids are at the age of playing more games too! thanks for the suggestion!

  • Heather Loewenheim

    December 14, 2016 at 6:00 pm Reply

    We do “What God wants for Christmas” Nativity the week before Christmas. It adds on part of the nativity one day at a time and the last box has a mirror in it to show that God wants you for Christmas. I’d love to have something for the whole month of December, though!

  • Lydia Quillin

    December 14, 2016 at 7:25 pm Reply

    We make a night of decorating the tree. We make cookies and watch a Christmas movie.

  • Rita Kervalavich

    December 14, 2016 at 8:55 pm Reply

    Thanks for offering the chance at this great giveaway 🙂

  • Tracey Y

    December 14, 2016 at 11:27 pm Reply

    I love this idea – I love bativities and volleyball t them, so this is right up my alley! My love for bativities came from wanting to teach my children about Jesus, not so much Santa, at Christmas.

  • Anna Liao

    December 15, 2016 at 12:19 am Reply

    Doing Advent devotionals with the family

  • Yvonne Delgado

    December 15, 2016 at 2:12 am Reply

    Our family has a tradition of watching Its A Wonderful Life together and then playing the board game. We also say a prayer and remember the year in review

  • Mandi Goforth

    December 15, 2016 at 2:38 am Reply

    We make cookies, do a craft to send to far away relatives, talk about every single blessed ornament before putting it on the tree, watch our favorite Christmas movies and talk in vain about how awesome it would be if it actually snowed…we also like the Christmas carols and orchestra specials on pbs. Hmm. We are a lot more Christmassy than I thought. No matter what, though, I want Jesus to be central, and not an afterthought.

  • Beth Arajs

    December 15, 2016 at 8:28 am Reply

    I love this in place of the elf! It can be a great way to teach daily lessons in a fun way!

  • Jennifer Mathesz

    December 15, 2016 at 9:07 am Reply

    we love decorating our tree together

  • Christine Pinson

    December 15, 2016 at 9:39 am Reply

    We use the “Truth in the Tinsel” advent as a family nightly. It has been so fun to sit down with both of our girls and read and study the Bible together.

  • Katrina Morgan

    December 15, 2016 at 11:42 am Reply

    We participate in our church’s Christmas programs. This year both our 2 elementary students as well as our middle schooler and high schooler (yikes) are involved in the Christmas programs!

  • Sabrina

    December 16, 2016 at 10:21 am Reply

    We love making a birthday cake for Jesus and singing Happy Birthday to him on Christmas day!!!

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