Every year we my husband and I try very hard to concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas. While I know December is not the actual birth month of Jesus, we choose to celebrate then because it brings us much joy in the middle of a dreary winter. There are so many distractions that take us away from Jesus during this time of year. Here, I am going to give a few suggestions on how my family puts Him first.
One of our favorite series is the Buck Denver “What’s In The Bible?” series. My children have truly enjoyed these videos. The one about Christmas called “Why Do We Call It Christmas?” contains everything a child (or adult) needs to know about the true meaning of Christmas. We watch this as a family and have gained a lot of understanding from it. These videos are very accurate and give historic accounts of the actual events that took place. The good thing about this series is you can get a new video for just about anything that is in the Bible.
We also love to get out our Little People Christmas Story set. It contains all of the nativity scene characters. It is the cutest set and my children like to add each component as Christmas day gets closer. For instance, we hide Jesus until the very last day. We have all the animals in the stable and the wise men don’t come until after Jesus is born. We do Advent activities throughout December and move the people as needed each day.
Our Advent activities include lighting the Advent candles and reading scripture that pertain to each day. As we light the candles each week, we pray about the coming days and the anticipation of Jesus’ birth. My children are very aware of Christmas and Jesus’ birth. We don’t do Santa or reindeer or elves on shelves. We try very hard to stick to Jesus and His birth. My children are aware that many children believe in those other things and know not to tell them it isn’t true. They just speak about Jesus during Christmas. When asked what they want Santa to bring them (it is asked more than you think by strangers), they simply say something that they want and move on. No need to get into that with strangers.
Since we do not do Santa, my children don’t ask for anything for Christmas. They never have. They don’t even ask for things for their birthdays. We stick to about three to five gifts each. The saying “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read” is how we do gifts. We have a strict budget and only buy a few gifts to make sure to keep Jesus as the focus. We give gifts to one another because Jesus gave us the ultimate gift of eternal life through His death and resurrection.
We attend Christmas Eve services at our church. They usually do a candlelight service and the boys think it is such fun to hold their own candle knowing that Jesus is the Light of the world. We will attend Christmas Day service this year as well. We tend to stay home on Christmas Day to enjoy it with one another.
On Christmas morning, the children are not allowed to open anything or do anything with the gifts under the tree until we are ALL awake. They are first allowed to open their stockings (which contain a few pieces of candy, some stickers, special pencils, etc.). I make homemade cinnamon rolls and a quiche for after stockings. We drink hot cocoa and coffee. We sit together by the fire and eat breakfast together and talk about Christmas morning that first time when Jesus was born.
As we open our gifts we do it one at a time. There is no diving in head first and unwrapping crazily. We savor every minute of our time together. That lasts a long while. Since my children don’t ask for anything for Christmas, they are happy with everything they receive. They are more grateful for even the small things like a new pair of mittens or a board game.
Throughout the Christmas season we serve as much as possible. We participate in the Operation Christmas Child shoebox ministry as well as several other ministries throughout our local area. Serving is an amazing way to show Jesus to other people.
I don’t say all of this to sound braggy. I want to inspire others to take their children and serve. Jesus didn’t come to be a King. He came to serve. When we teach our children the true meaning of Christmas their hearts will need nothing else. Focusing on the love of family, friends, and Jesus gives me much more pleasure than any gift ever could.