It can be tricky as adults to keep the true meaning of Christmas close to our hearts. It’s all too easy to fall prey to the hustle and bustles of online sales, our to-buy and to-cook lists, and the overwhelming traffic surrounding our favorite stores. Grumpiness sets in, and before we know it, we’re modeling the Grinch more than we’re modeling Christ!
I think there’s nothing the enemy camp loves more than to distract us from Christ on Christmas. Instead of focusing on a baby in a manger, our gazes are drawn to the packages under the tree. Instead of pondering these things in our hearts, we’re calculating our budgets.
As parents, it’s our duty to not only keep our focus, but help our kids prepare their hearts during the holidays.
Here are some ways to do it.
Create holiday traditions
Keeping family traditions at Christmas can help keep the “gimmies” at bay by easing the focus away from material objects, and toward togetherness. Kids love presents and candy and treats, but they also love hanging out with Mom and Dad and doing special things they don’t normally get to during the year.
Find a tradition that focuses on the sentimental elements of Christmas rather than the material and make them a big deal in your home. Your children will look forward to that quality time together just as much, if not more, than the presents that are coming later.
Helping your children have the right heart posture at Christmas doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding the secular elements of the holidays, but rather, showing them the difference. So do the fun stuff! Buy presents. Stuff stockings. Decorate your tree. But when you do so, try to work into the conversation how apart from Christ and the hope of the Gospel.
Help your kids see and understand the difference between watching Home Alone and participating in a candlelight service at church. With older children, you can even take it a step further and help them see ways they can share that realization with their friends and peers.
Bring the Christmas story to life
Most people know the Christmas story, even if they’re not believers. Kids aren’t oblivious to it, either. They’ve absorbed it somewhere along the way, and while they might not remember every detail, most of them probably know the gist and could possibly even recite verses if they’ve grown up in Sunday School. That’s good, but as a family, it’s important to bring the Christmas story to life. Don’t just read the Bible but meditate on it. Ponder over the details and discuss with your kids the things that jump out at them. Ask them questions and let them ask questions of you, no matter how silly or irrelevant they might seem. Get them excited to dive into the Scriptures.
Tell how the Giver became a gift
One of the most beautiful parts of Christmas is realizing how the Giver became a Gift. Christ came for us, to be sinless and die in our place and rise again so we could be made righteous and be with God forever. That’s the Gospel.
Our children need to know how it’s much more important—and beneficial—to focus on the Creator rather than on the stuff of creation that we give each other each year. After all, God is the ultimate Gift Giver. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
Look for ways to be a Christmas blessing, teach your children to do the same—and share the gift of the Gospel in both word and deed.
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