Putting up the Christmas tree, asking the man in the red fuzzy hat for a pony, and shopping until you drop are all Christmas traditions that most Americans do without fail every year.
But where is Christ in all of this?
This season’s joy is supposed to reside in the hope that is in Jesus (1 John 5:13-14), and the miracle of the birth of our Savior (Luke 2:11).
Looking to our Lord as the source for our happiness and increased sense of selflessness this time of year is essential to maintaining a Christ-centered Christmas.
We understand though, that getting distracted by the events that coincide with Christmastime is easily done. Festivities seem to fill all the space in between daily living, often pushing Christ by the wayside until a church function comes around.
Well, we have some fun solutions to get the whole family fixated on the King during this revered time of year.
Beginning some new family traditions that are Biblically motivated will surely remind everyone that a Savior was born, bringing joy to the world then and into eternity.
1. Read The Bible Daily
The Word of God should already be a central theme in our daily activities, but if it has been slacking because of a busy schedule, now is the time to bring it back in.
Starting in Luke 1:26, read a little bit of the story surrounding Jesus’ birth until it is completed.
Then read the whole story to them on Christmas Eve, asking questions throughout to see if the children remember what you had told them. After each evening of reading, get them thinking about the story of Jesus, bringing it to new depths.
What did the birth of a Savior mean to the world? How do you think Mary felt being told she was going to give birth to a King? Do you think it would take a long time to get to grandma’s if we had to ride a donkey there?
There are tons of interesting aspects to discuss surrounding the birth story in the Bible.
2. Re-create the Moment
There’s no better way to make a story real to children than to act out what occurred.
Having each child dress up as a character in the story of Jesus’ birth is a fun way to keep their attention in all the right areas.
It will be fun to put together costumes with the kids, and even get yourself involved, showing that you find the Bible story relevant and important. The production doesn’t have to be elaborate, but focused more on the details the Bible lays out.
You will be pleasantly surprised how much the children will take to heart when they are more intimately attached to the famous scriptural account.
Creating memories for a lifetime, you will have many laughs as you try to convince the toddler to lay in the make-shift manger, and the family dog to play the part of the barnyard company.
Hold a Christmas Day performance for the whole family, getting everyone looking toward the real reason for the season, while sharing in some smiles along the way.
3. Help A Child
During Christmastime there are many programs you can participate in that assist families or children in need with receiving gifts and necessary items.
Organizations such as Toys for Tots, Salvation Army, and Adopt-A-Family are always looking for some extra help.
As a family, look over the organizations and decide on one that you all feel is a good cause to support. Keep the kids closely involved by letting them pick the toys out that they want to donate, maybe even forgoing a gift for themselves to give to someone in need.
Remind the children that giving of ourselves is mimicking the character of Jesus, who came to this world to die for the sins of all. Looking to bless others in this time, rather than being fixated on our own desires keeps children focused on all the right things.
4. Throw A Birthday Party
The goal is to celebrate Christmas as Jesus’ birth, and what does that mean? A birthday party of course!
If there is one thing kids do well, it is celebrate their birthdays. Talk to the children about what Christmas represents, and tell them that instead of a day of receiving gifts, you want them to put together the ultimate birthday bash for their Lord and Savior.
Have the kids pick out decorations, make cards, and help with a nice spread to throw a birthday party for Jesus. Ask them to think about what they would want if it was their birthday, and how they think Jesus may have celebrated His special day when He was their age.
This also helps to make Jesus more personable to the children. Sometimes, reading the Bible and hearing stories can make Jesus feel like a fictional character to kids.
However, when they are participating in events that are very close to them, like birthday parties, they can feel more connected.
5. Watch Bible Movies
Inevitably, extended time off as a family leads to at least one family movie night.
There are so many films out now about Christmas that have nothing to do with Jesus, but watching one that keeps Biblical themes up front and center can help your children not lose sight of what’s important.
Movies often hold the attention of children better than prolonged speeches do, making a quality film the way to go to kick off Christmas week with the family. Start a thought-provoking conversation before beginning the movie that you can question them on after it ends around the fireplace.
6. Historical Context
The political climate at the time Jesus was born was intense. King Herod was ruler and reigned with terror, killing all who stood to take his throne. So paranoid was Herod that he even had many members of his own family killed so that they would not try to rule in his place.
Upon hearing of the coming King and Savior of the world, the three wise men sought to bring Him gifts (Matthew 2:2). Herod hearing of this news felt that Jesus was a threat to his kingship. When the wise men would not offer up Jesus’ location as he had ordered them, Herod had all baby boys under the age of two killed in Bethlehem to ensure Jesus’ death (Matthew 2:16).
As the will of God decreed, obviously, Jesus was saved from this early demise. Although the Biblical accounts shift focus from Herod to our Lord from there, it is important not to dismiss the politics going on during this time, and how through the tumultuous times, God has a plan that goes beyond our understanding.
Compare with your older children the politics of today’s world and the world that Jesus was born into. Are rulers still power hungry? Do events still occur that baffle us, and require us to act on faith?
7. Decorate With Purpose
Lighting up the house for the first time this season is a joyous moment the whole family looks forward to. The lights are beautiful and capture your attention. Many families also splurge on yard décor like Santa’s reindeer, or giant candy canes.
While these types of decoration can be fun, they don’t speak to the true meaning behind the holiday. Try switching out some of the more commercial decorations inside and outside with ones that reflect the Bible.
Trade Santa for the wise men, and the reindeer for a nativity scene. Try making North Star and donkey cookies, instead of gingerbread men. The more you swap out, the more your kids will notice, and every line of questioning by them leads to opportunities to discuss Christ’s birth.
8. Sing Praises
Turning on the radio this time of year you will most certainly hear a Christmas tune at any given time. Not that there is anything wrong with some of the classics like “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”, or “Jingle Bells”, but they don’t remind you of Biblical accounts.
Make an effort to tune in to songs that give credence to the birth of Jesus and what He came to this earth for. Beautiful songs like “Silent Night” and “Hark The Harold Angels Sing” (Luke 2:13-14), help our words direct the condition of our hearts this Christmas.
Kids will sing whatever they hear on a regular basis, so make them accustomed to singing songs that bring Glory to God.
Let’s be purposeful with our actions this holiday season, uplifting Jesus through the celebration of all He has done for us, including coming down to earth to be born in a manger.