Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Teaching Children the True Meaning of Christmas

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

These days, everywhere we go we see the evidence of Christmas quickly approaching. Decorations going up, Christmas music piped in, more Santas than we can count, not to mention the commercials on television leading our children to believe that it’s all about getting presents. So how do we parents teach our children the true meaning of Christmas? 

That answer lies in what we do during the Christmas season. If we are too busy with all the preparations to spend time teaching them what Christmas is really about, then how can we expect them to know the truth? If we want our children to learn about the true meaning of Christmas then it is up to us to teach them. If we take the time to put Christ at the center of our holiday, we will be giving our kids the greatest gift they will ever receive, the gift of Jesus. 

So just how can we make sure that our children know Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Savior and about the gift of giving, not about how many new toys they will receive? I’d like to share a few suggestions that worked for us. 

Teach them the story of Jesus’ birth. When our girls were young we would spend the month of December memorizing the 2nd Chapter of Luke (you’d be amazed how quickly young minds can memorize). We would work on it as a family every day and then recite it on Christmas Eve at the annual Christmas party. For bedtime story read children’s stories to reinforce what they are memorizing in scripture. 

Buy a Nativity scene your children can play with and put it out together. This is a great opportunity to talk about the story of Jesus’ birth. 

Buy a gift for a child in need. Each year we set up a Blessing Tree at church. On it are tags with gift requests for children. Let your child pick one from the tree and help you pick a gift to return in it’s place. 

Have your child pick out and give away one of their toys (in good condition) to a child who has none. This is a great way to teach children to share what they have with someone in need. While you are at it, take that extra coat or blanket you don’t use and give it to a homeless person. 

Take a single mom’s children shopping so they can give her a gift on Christmas. This not only blesses the mom, but also the child that gets to pick out and wrap a gift for mom without her having to pay for it. 

Adopt a family.  When our children were little we were Youth Pastors and every year we would pick a family or two in need and provide Christmas for them. We would collect everything needed for Christmas dinner and the gifts on their gift lists. Sometimes we even gave them the tree and decorations. A couple days before Christmas we would deliver it to their home.

Invite someone who has no family in town to spend the day with your family. If you don’t know any, the Bible College has plenty of students who are unable to go home and be with their families.

This is just a sampling of the many ways we can show Christ's love and teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. I would love to hear from you. What do you do to keep the focus on Jesus at Christmas?

1 comment:

andrea said...

I also have some Jesus centered advent calendars for kids. One is "A Good Deed a Day" (they each have their own and are resposible for reading it every day and doing their good deed in secret- if possible) and another one has a special devotion for each day. I found them at various Christian bookstores; my girls love them!