Lights, presents and Santa Claus are just a few of the Christmas season trappings. How can we keep the focus on Christ…the real reason for Christmas? This article will present ideas on how to point our children (and ourselves) in the direction of glorifying God and honoring His Son, the greatest gift ever given and ever received.
“The first thing we do is put up our Nativity set the Sunday after Thanksgiving,” shares PEACH member Lee A. “It is the only thing we have for the first week.” Lee adds, “The next Sunday, we set up Advent candles and the light the first one with a reading. (The Nativity is in the living room and the candles are in the dining room.) Then the next Saturday we decorate our Christmas tree. I started doing it this way when my children were about 6, 4, and 2 because they would get SO excited over the tree and it suddenly hit me that what I wanted them to get excited about was NOT the tree.”
An Advent Calendar
Cyndy C., another PEACH member, shares that years ago she made an Advent calendar based on the names of Jesus. She used felt, sandpaper and a hot glue gun to make ornaments that represent the names of Jesus, such as shepherd’s staff, rock, gate and star. The back of the ornaments have sandpaper glued to them so that they will stick to the felt tree which she placed at the top of the calendar. The bottom of the calendar has 25 pockets that hold the ornaments. Each night a child takes a felt ornament and looks up the Bible verse that correlates with that name. The verse is read by that child or by someone who can read. Year after year the calendar remains a highlight in the Cusson family and the eternal benefit is memorizing God’s Word by the yearly repetition.
Another neat idea comes from a family Cyndy knows. They have a basket that is shaped like a manger and a doll representing baby Jesus that fits in it. Each night in December leading up to Christmas, they verbally share things that they have done that day to bless someone else. For every kind thing, they get to put three strands of yellow yarn into the manger, slowly creating a soft bed for Jesus on Christmas Day. The first strand represents God who is glorified through our kindness and the other two strands are for the people who are blessed by the kindness—the person doing the kind thing and the person receiving the kindness.
Give to Others
Lee A. also gave these ideas that her family has done. She feels that all of these activities have helped her kids realize that Christmas is God’s great gift to us and that the focus in on giving, not getting.
- Singing carols to shut-ins
- Buy a gift for a child in need
- Make fruit baskets for the elderly in your church
- With your Sunday School class, collect money all year long to purchase an animal through Heifer International for needy families.
Books and Online Resources
Family Celebrations for Christmas by Ann Hibbard
Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper
http://www.easyfunschool.com/Blessed.pdf a unit study encompassing the symbols of Christmas. Lots of activities and suggestions are included.
http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=23 a website that gives the story of who St. Nicholas was, traditions in other countries, as well as activities, crafts, recipes and games all to do with the “real” St. Nicholas.
Wrapping it all up
In her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Noel Piper says, “Christmas is only one small part of a whole year of living, working and ministering in our churches and to our neighbors, of meeting our family’s physical needs, of teaching our children. Just one small part of the year—but with our hearts and spirits open in anticipation and excitement, what an ideal opportunity for remembering and teaching.” So, with prayer and planning, may you honor and glorify Christ this Christmas.