Celebrating Christ in Christmas . . .
Our society, for the most part, focuses on Santa Claus, shopping, gift giving, and the other aspects associated with Christmas more than on the birth of Jesus. Interestingly, this is not a new problem. St. Francis of Assisi saw it as a problem in 1223! For the sake of clarification, there is NOTHING wrong with the before-mentioned Christmas activities. But, the real meaning of Christmas is, of course, the birth of Jesus Christ. This dinner, “Angels and Shepherds Dinner: Celebrating Christ in Christmas” is the first of four dinners for the Christmas season where the focus is on Jesus.
Angels and Shepherds Dinner to Celebrate Christ in Christmas!
The story of the birth of Jesus never gets old. It is a timeless story of God’s love for mankind, that He sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might not perish, but have everlasting life.
When you think about the story in the Bible of the shepherds watching their flocks by night when the angel came to them, what comes to your mind? Can you imagine how afraid the shepherds were? We know they were because the angel said to them, “Be not afraid, for I bring you good tidings of great joy.” We also know that the shepherds were WATCHING their flocks. They were NOT expecting an angelic visitation! The Bible tells us that shepherds heeded the angelic message, and left to go find the Christ child lying in a manger.
Creating the Angels and Shepherds Dinner . . .
The purpose of the Angels and Shepherds Dinner is to bring the focus of Christmas back to the birth of Jesus. What can we do, as parents and grandparents to bring this about during the Christmas season?
Here are some suggestions:
- Create a Christmas playlist of music that has to do with the Angels and Shepherds
- Read the scriptures about the story of Jesus birth regarding the Angels and Shepherds
- Watch a video of The Story of Christmas
- Read a book about the birth of Jesus to children
- Make “angel” sugar cookies with children–using an angel cookie cutter
The Christmas Playlist for the Angels and Shepherds Dinner:
Music sets the mood for any get together or event. This dinner is no exception. It’s important to play music that focuses on the story about the angels and shepherds on that night of the visitation. This would primarily be hymns. Choose a combination of recordings that are instrumental or a combination of instrumental and vocal.
Some beautiful Christmas hymns are:
- “Angels from their realm of Glory”
- “Angels We Have Heard on High”
- “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks at Night”
- “Hark the Herald, Angels Sing”
- “The First Noel”
- “The Messiah”, oratorio by George Frederick Handel
Scriptures that Tell the Christmas Story:
If you choose to make Scripture Scrolls for your guests, the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:4-20 is the best for this dinner. Print it off on parchment type paper, add a gold border, if possible. Tie with gold cording. It would be a lovely remembrance of your Angels and Shepherds dinner. Plus everyone could open the scrolls and take turns reading the story after dinner.
4 “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Source: www.biblegateway.com)
The Angels and Shepherds Menu:
In determining what foods to include on the Angels and Shepherds Menu, I wanted recipes that had “Heavenly” in the title, were foods associated with the winter season, and white and/or green foods. White represents “purity”, green represents “life”. After all, it is because of Jesus that we can have everlasting life. He was, and is, Life.
The Chicken and Broccoli dish has “angel” hair pasta and broccoli, which is green. The salad, also green, is called “Heavenly”. If you make biscuits, cut them with an “angel” cookie cutter, or make Angel Biscuits. There is a recipe for those. I have never made them, so I would probably opt for using the cookie cutter.
Both the desserts are white. The “Angel” Kisses are white meringue cookies that melt in your mouth. And the Snowy Yule Log is a white chocolate roulage with a creamy white topping.
Angels and Shepherds Menu
Chicken and Broccoli with Angel Hair Pasta
Heavenly Layered Salad
(cut in “angel” shapes)
Snowy Yule Log
White wine or White Sparkling Grape Juice, Coffee
Decorations for the Angel and Shepherd Dinner . . .
The decorations were primarily white and gold . . . White for purity . . . Gold represents the “brilliance and splendor of God” and the divinity of the Lord. If you remember the story of the Three Wise Men, they brought the baby Jesus gold as one of the gifts. Perfect!
TABLE: White tablecloth with matching napkins and “angel” napkin rings
DINNERWARE: “Eternal” china—white with gold trim (This was my Grandmama Hall’s china. The name, to me, is representative of the meaning of this dinner.)
CENTERPIECE: Angel figurine/ vase sitting amidst gold beads and white baby’s breath in and around the angel
CANDLES: Crystal candlesticks with white or gold candles
FAVORS: Scripture Scrolls tied with gold ribbon or cording and/or “Angel” sugar cookies
SCRIPTURES: of the birth of Jesus—concerning the angels and the shepherds
After Dinner Activities:
If you have children, read them a book about the birth of Jesus. If your household is primarily adults and young people, read the Christmas story from the Bible: Luke 2, or from the Scripture Scrolls, if you made them. Check Amazon or Google for titles. Better yet, go to your public library with your children to pick out appropriate books about Jesus.
You can also watch a movie about the birth of Jesus. Some are more for children, some more for the 14 and up age groups.
Read the Angels Assignment Devotional. This is a PDF with information about God’s angels from creation to the birth of Jesus. You can print it off and discuss it. It’s pretty simple. (You can access the PDF by clicking on the link.)