Navigating through a year filled with challenges, many of us have felt the weight of heightened stress and concern. We are more than ready for a season of peace and joy. In the midst of the chaos, we need to be extra intentional to keep the quickly approaching Christmas season focused on Christ.
How do we help our children focus on Christ at Christmas time when commercialism is so easy to fall into and intentionality takes much more work? We must choose to establish a daily habit of spending time with Christ in His Word. Spending time in the Word before the demands of the day begin strengthens our relationship with Christ and empowers us to better model Christ and His character for our children.
Discussions with our children about the beauty and sacrifice of Christ’s birth so many “Christmases” ago is a great place to start. Allow your child time to imagine what it would be like to be Mary, Joseph, or one of the shepherds or wise men. Finding time to read the account of Christ’s birth in the Gospel of Luke, and even memorizing a portion of it (Luke 2:1–14), is a great starting point.
Here are a few ideas to help guide you and your family to a Christ-focused Christmas:
Read Luke 1:5–2:20 individually and as a family. Consider helping your children memorize Luke 2:1–14 and allowing them to recite this portion of the Christmas story on Christmas morning before opening presents.
Have visual reminders of Christ’s humble birth in your home. Display nativities in various rooms. Many child-friendly nativities are available. Allow your children to play with the activity set and act out the Christmas story. Help them discern the difference between popular traditions about the various characters often depicted in nativities and Christmas plays and what the Scripture actually informs us.
Plan a family service project. Serve an elderly neighbor by helping them with repairs. Provide gifts for a child who might not have presents on Christmas morning. Participate in Operation Christmas Child. Serve a meal at a local homeless shelter. There are so many opportunities for serving others during the Christmas season. What a precious example of Christ to provide these opportunities for your children.
Be intentional to make the message of Christ a higher priority than the multiple messages commercialism provides. This does not mean Santa and other traditions are not celebrated. It just serves our families well if we establish a balance of activities and traditions. Instilling the true meaning of Christmas in our children does not mean ignoring Santa and all the fun that accompanies him.
Decorate and shop early, so that when December arrives, you have time built in to focus on Christ, His birth, and the blessings of the season. The hustle and bustle this season offers can quickly steal our joy and focus. We must be especially intentional in this area.
Protect your calendar. Do not feel obligated to say yes to every event. Be careful to protect your time as a family during this season, and remember it is both God-honoring and acceptable to say “No” sometimes.
Spend time writing encouraging notes and making homemade Christmas cards for those who might not be with family for Christmas (missionaries, military, those mourning the loss of a loved one).
As parents, we are the biggest influence in our child’s lives. It is important to provide a healthy balance for our children during the Christmas season. This might seem a bit overwhelming, so start now. Think of the changes you might need to make this year to keep your family’s Christmas focused on Christ.