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Don’t you love this time of year?
Fall, Thanksgiving food, college football… the list goes on and on. And then, of course, there’s Christmas.
I love Christmas. And not “Commercial-mas” as my Dad calls it. No, I’m talking about the atmosphere surrounding Christmas. The fact that, for a few short weeks, many people put their differences aside and decide to be kind to one another. Occasionally, a stranger with pay for someone else’s food at the drive-thru. People have compassion for others and usually, try to help those less fortunate.
And, the fact that some people argue that December 25th is not the day Jesus was born is not lost on me. And, yes, I’m well aware that a lot of traditions held now at Christmas are not about Jesus or His birth at all.
For me, Christmas is not about when you celebrate the birth of Jesus. The fact is, His name is being lifted up, and we are recognizing that by Him leaving His throne and coming to earth we find salvation.
Now that I have kids, the real meaning of Christmas shines.
Can you imagine giving birth to your child in a barn? Or raising that child to grow up, just to die for the sins of the world?
Your children need to know what Christmas is really about. Who Jesus is, why He came, what He did and why He died. They need to know it’s not about gifts, or food, or special programs. So then how do you show your children why Jesus was really born?
What are some ways you can share the real Christmas with your children?
- Go look at Christmas lights. Drive around your neighborhood or one that goes all out to decorate. This was my favorite thing to do with my family as a kid. No, Christmas is not about how many decorations we have, but this time spent with family was precious. And we had the opportunity to actually talk about Christmas, what it really means. The beautiful nativity scenes, what really happened on that night. Best of all, it doesn’t cost much.
- Participate in something like Operation Christmas Child. They take up donations for children overseas who have nothing. Things like a toothbrush and shoes mean the world to these kids. Take the time to explain to your children some have almost nothing, and toys are not their priority. Explain why you’re making this box for them, and ask your children to help you pray over each box you donate.
- Read the Christmas story to them. If your children are really young, get a children’s Bible (this is the one my kids have). Let them ask questions, and read it more than once.
- Look for activities on Pinterest (I am NOT that crafty, so I don’t come up with my own, I go to Pinterest for this!) While the kids are coloring, or making a craft, you can take the time to explain to them what Christmas is all about.
- Go to a Christmas play. Your church might have one, but if not, maybe find somewhere that does. This helps the kids to have a visual to go along with what you’ve been talking to them about. Reading a story with terms we no longer use or something they’ve never seen (like a stable) won’t really register. But when they see the story acted out, it makes more sense.
- The Veggie Tales DVDs do a great job of telling Bible stories on a child’s level. Have a family movie night and watch the Christmas stories, giving your children a chance to ask questions and discuss Christmas.
- Bake some cookies or make a meal for someone who might need it. Maybe a widow in your church could use a friendly face and some company. Or maybe there’s a less fortunate family that comes to mind that you could bless in a huge way with a small gesture. This helps children connect a real person to the fact that we should help others.
- Contact your local foster care agency or nursing homes to see if there’s something your family can do to volunteer or help others. The Bible does, after all, clearly tell us to look after the widow and the orphan(James 1:27), and Christmas is a great time to instill this in the littles.
What it really boils down to is talking to your children about the true meaning of Christmas.
Let me reiterate here I am NOT crafty, but made a quick printable of the candy cane, and some ways it shows Jesus. You can download that here. Enjoy!