The snow has already fallen, the Christmas decorations are hung, and thoughts of what Christmas truly means fills my mind. A time of reflection of our Savior, a time of peace. Yet the true meaning of Christmas sometimes slips away as commercials and the “me” mentality take its place. We write lists of what we want, and what will make us feel special, but even better than the gifts we receive are the gifts we give, as we are reminded that we were already given the best gift of all when Jesus came to earth for our salvation.
I’m going to be honest with you, there was a tone in my house and it wasn’t all warm and fuzzy… it stunk, it was one of ungratefulness and entitlement. As I looked at my children with sadness in my heart, I thought to myself, “no, this will not be.”
So I told my children, “go grab your piggy banks, we’re going shopping for Christmas gifts”. I was very young when I started participating in giving presents on Christmas, and it was always such a big deal to me to find the gift that would really make someone smile.
My children’s ungratefulness turned to joy, as their eyes lit up with anticipation that they were able to participate in giving presents on Christmas. They were super excited! My daughter grabbed her purse and said, “look mom I am like you.” With her sweet little purse tossed over her shoulder she was ready to spend her cherished $3 on someone else. It no longer became about me, me, me, Christmas became about others.
Isn’t that what it’s about? The gift of giving. God giving to us? Giving of Himself, His only begotten Son so that we may have the gift of salvation?
So as the advertisements bombard us with thoughts of what we think we lack, lets remember what Christmas is about. Love, joy, peace; a personal God who not only created us, but came to earth in the flesh so that we may spend eternity with Him.
Here are a few ways to help your family stay focused this Christmas season
1. Buy a nativity set. A nativity set is a great way to be reminded of God’s love and mercy and the reason we celebrate Christmas. My kids love our nativity set, they have fun interacting with it, and it is a great learning tool.
2. Focus on doing good deeds for others: Awe Filled Homemaker offers a great list of 24 activities that are kid friendly, to help redirect your kids focus on others during this Christmas season. 24 Random Acts of Kindness.
3. Make a generosity tree: Cut out a paper tree, add the scripture verse, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” – 1 Timothy 6:18. Every time you see one of your children doing a kind act, or if they see a sibling doing a kind act glue a pine needle to the tree.
Generosity Tree Instructions found at Inspiration to Creation
4. Encourage your children to buy or make their christmas gifts. Being a part of this special time of year, not just on the receiving but on the giving part is truly a rewarding experience.
5. Read daily scripture to focus on the reason why we celebrate Christmas…the hope we have in Christ, and His birth many years ago. Ann Voskamp puts out a great reflection in her book “A Jesse Tree Journey”.
And as the day gets closer…
5. Christmas Eve service: A time to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Putting aside all the hustle and bustle of the month and focusing on our Savior, Jesus Christ the King, and how can you beat the adorable kid’s participation?
6. Reading part of the Christmas story found in Luke 2 on Christmas morning. This is always a favorite Christmas tradition of mine, reading a documented account of Jesus Christ’s birth. Recollecting the time in history that forever changed our lives.