5 Ways to Keep the Meaning in Christmas
As the Christmas season approaches I’m reminded of my childhood. I always felt excited about everything: the decorations, the food, the shows, and especially the presents. It was really easy for me to focus on all of the festivities and lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas. Now that I have children of my own I don’t want that to get lost. The other day I turned on the television and saw a commercial for a new movie called The Star. I thought it was refreshing to see a kids movie about the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Rudolph’s and Frosty’s, but when it comes to educating my kids about what Christmas is really about there are few options out there.
As parents, we must be intentional about restoring and maintaining the real Christmas story in the way we approach the season. How you choose to do this may depend on the ages of your children and other factors. Here are some methods I’ve found to help little ones see beyond the toys and find truth. And don’t miss downloading coloring pages featuring scenes from the movie, The Star. Your kids will have a blast!
1. Prepare the manger.
Build anticipation by making your advent routine a countdown to the arrival of baby Jesus! A number of families have a tradition of using a small wooden box as the “manger” and letting the children add just a little more hay each night after a devotion to make a bed for the baby. Those nightly devotions give you a chance to revisit the real birth of Christ, and talk about what that means for us today. Another variation of this idea is to display your nativity scene one piece at a time, building up to the big event—the addition of baby Jesus on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
2. Take the Wise Men on a journey.
Another way to make your way to “Bethlehem” for the big event is to let the Wise Men from your nativity scene start out far from the rest of the Holy Family. Each day they move through the house, getting just a little closer to the manger and the child they seek. For extra fun, let the magi travel over night so the kids have to find them in the morning to see their progress! If you want another great way to share the story of Christmas, iMOM’s Christmas Story Printable is a fun and memorable way to bring it to life.
3. Commit it to memory.
Children have a wonderful capacity for memorization, so let them flex that muscle! Depending on the age of your child, choose a portion of the Christmas story from scripture to memorize, and work on it each night at bedtime. You may be surprised by how much kids can learn and recite, storing precious truth in their hearts forever.
You may be surprised how much kids can learn and recite, storing precious truth in their hearts forever.
4. Live it out.
If your children are older and already have a firm grasp on the story of Christ’s birth, it may be time to move on to living out what it means to us. Let them acknowledge the gift of love that God gave the world by giving to others. Some families choose to volunteer together at a shelter or mission serving meals (even younger children can fill cups with ice and help with the dishes); others adopt a family and help them with Christmas gifts and other practical needs, like clothing.
5. Talk about the carols.
Even the traditional Christmas hymns that retell the story can become “just another song” due to their familiarity. In the car, turn down the radio and ask your kids which part of the carol they just heard is their favorite, and why.
Restoring meaning to your family’s Christmas can be simple and fun if you give it a little forethought. Make this year the best holiday ever by getting back to the basics!
Tell us! How do you keep the meaning of Christmas in your family?