I taught my daughter’s Kindergarten Sunday School class at church a couple of weeks ago, and our topic was Advent—a special time when we prepare to celebrate Christmas. After asking the kids about the things they think of as Christmas approaches, I got many different answers: Santa, Rudolph, presents, singing Jingle Bells, reindeer, decorations, and the like. But no one mentioned the answer that I was specifically looking for—the fact that Christmas is Jesus’s birthday. That’s really not surprising, is it?
I understand and respect the fact that we are a world full of different cultures, beliefs, and religions. In our home, however, we believe that Jesus is the real reason that we celebrate Christmas. If you share this belief, you might be wondering about ways that you can emphasize this to your children during the often-secular Christmas holiday season. Here are five suggestions from Vicky Savage, our beloved children’s ministry director at West University Methodist Church (where we have attended church for many years):
- Make the first “gift” of the season a special nativity set. You may already have one. But if you don’t, consider purchasing a special nativity set—then wrap it beautifully and make it the first gift that you open together as a family when you begin to decorate for Christmas. Set it up in a special place each year. This will remind the kids of the most important thing they should be thinking about during the holidays: Jesus’s birthday!
- Decorate a “Christmas box.” This one is fun and easy. Just give each child a box, let them decorate the outside with stickers, pictures, and other fun items relating to the story of Jesus’s birth, and fill the inside with activities that reinforce the same theme. I filled Olivia’s box with stickers, bookmarks, coloring books, and do-it-yourself crafts that help remind her of the Christmas story.
- Play the “I Spy” game while looking at Christmas lights. Everyone loves to look at beautiful Christmas lights. Next time you’re driving around “oooh-ing” and “aaah-ing” over magnificent light displays, ask your kids to look for special symbols of Jesus’s birthday. Ask them to find a star, an angel, a baby Jesus, or anything else that symbolizes Christ’s birth.
- Attach “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” gift tags to holiday baked goods. Incorporate the message into your holiday baking activities. Create cute “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” tags and attach them to Christmas baked goods. Then deliver them to neighbors, friends, or other individuals/organizations in need.
- Create an annual Christmas family service project. Sponsor a family who can’t afford to buy gifts, fill a basket with items for 25 days and donate these items to charity, feed the homeless on Christmas day… these are just a few of many ways to commemorate Christ’s love in honor of his birthday each Christmas. Don’t forget that a heart for service to others during the holidays could be the best reminder of Jesus for all.
It really is the most wonderful time of the year. As Christians, it’s up to us to teach our children why—because we’re celebrating our Savior’s birth! Thank you, Ms. Vicky, for reminding me of this, and for your thirty-plus years of service in children’s ministry at West University Methodist Church!
I’d love to hear about other ways that you and your family keep the “Christ” in Christmas… so please feel free to comment and share your ideas. Merry Christmas, friends!