As the Christmas season approaches quickly, I am reminded of how we must make Jesus the focus of all our celebrations. In our family, it is the month before Christmas day that we all anticipate the entire year. It is during this time that we can lay the foundations for a Christ centered Christmas in the hearts of our children.
When my oldest children were very small I began to develop traditions that my kids would look forward to as they grew older.
God has given us the Christmas season as an opportunity to teach, instruct, and meditate on the birth of Christ as well as to reach out to neighbors and non-Christians at this specially receptive time .Years ago, I found a set of Nativity cookie cutters in our local Christian bookstore. Ever since we use it every year to bake sugar cookies for our neighbors. Each child gets to make a whole set of 8, cutting them out and decorating them. We then arrange them on a foil covered piece of cardboard , sticking them down with frosting, then cover with saran wrap, put on a bow and tape a Christmas tract with a clear Gospel message in it and deliver them to our neighbors. This is now a great opportunity to include our grandchildren in this tradition.
We also used the cookie cutters to make Baker’s Clay ornaments to bake and paint and hang on our tree.
Another favorite tradition is when Dad reads Scrooge every Christmas season, often by candle and tree light, He reads only one stave on any one night, so it draws the reading out over the season. He recently has recorded it for others just as he reads it to our own children.
For several years now, my older girls and their friends have chosen a day to get together, listen to Christmas music and bake cookie trays for those in public service, our policemen, firemen, sheriff’s deputies, state policemen, etc . They arrange them on a pretty tray, write a message of thanks for their services in our behalf and enclose a gospel message also. They then deliver them. Sometimes, the younger kids go along to deliver them also and get to meet our public servants and express our gratefulness for them.
Early on I made a stuffed nativity for my little ones to play with. It is so good for the little ones to be able to touch and playact the Christmas story for themselves instead of not being allowed one they can touch. The first one I made was when my third son, Nate, was just a baby. He loved holding and playing with it. Wooden ones are great too as the children get a little older. Tina, Nate’s wife, showed me a book several years ago, recognizing the pattern for Nate’s manger scene in it. I was excited to find several other ideas in this book that we had used in our family for years. It is a great resource –Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas.
We’ve had several different kinds of advent calendars. They are lots of fun. Each day, we take turns in putting up the different characters of the Christmas story with Jesus being saved for Christmas Eve. It is a great resource for cementing all the events surrounding the birth of Jesus in little minds and also building excitement for the season.
We always encourage our kids to learn the Christmas story from Luke 2 and sometimes give rewards for the memorization.
Joni Earackson Tada has a wonderful resource called Christmas carols for a kids’ heart. It teaches the story behind the famous Christmas carols and includes a CD so your kids can sing along, learning ALL the wonderful, rich verses.
These are just a few ideas we’ve used over the years that have helped us to keep Christ the center focus of our celebration, and we’re very pleased to be able to offer you many of these resources for your Christmas season, as well!
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