Recently, I attended a workshop at church about how parents can keep Christ at the center if Christmas.
A few days prior to that, I had just posted about how the approach of Thanksgiving always makes me start stressing about my Christmas to-do list.
What this workshop helped me realize us that we’re losing sight of the true meaning of Christmas by making it more about cookie exchanges, Christmas cards, and presents than about Jesus.
I saw myself in every example the speaker gave.
I’m the person who cringes at the thought of spending $150+ on Christmas photos and cards yet does it anyway because everyone else seems be doing it.
I’m the person who agonizes over the number if presents to give each kid, always doubting if I got enough and end up getting “just one more small gift just in case.”
Sure, I always try to play up the Biblical reason behind Christmas, but I’m sure my actions and attitude don’t convey that point. What am I trying to teach my children? That they not only get to celebrate their own birthday once a year but they have a right to demand gifts on Jesus’ birthday?
What types of lessons are they learning about giving?
Not many, to be sure.
The speaker at this Christmas class have us some homework. She told us to sit down with our spouses and list all the things we associate with the Christmas season. We were to include the things we love as well as the things we dread.
Then we were to step back and say, “What one thing on this list gives you the most joy?”
Then ask everyone in the family the same question.
My Favorite Christmas Tradition….
Using those answers we were to completely scratch the old list, eliminating all those things that don’t make us happy and only focusing on the ones that do.
When we did this exercise, it was immediately clear to me what my favorite Christmas tradition is. It’s one that I’ve always done, one that brings back so many memories of my childhood and newer memories with my children.
It’s something we’ve done when we didn’t have any money to spend on fancy Christmas outings, and it’s one we do every year no matter what. It’s riding around in our car looking at Christmas lights at night!
It’s hands down my favorite memory making activity of every December. The cute things the kids say, alone, make these trips so special. They are always so awestruck by the cute and elaborate decorations that the entire ride is always a joy.
Sometimes when my husband is working late in December, I just load the kids up in the car and go for a ride. It’s a fun way to kill an hour! And when our family visits, we always load everyone up in the largest vehicle and drive around to show them our favorites and discover new showcases.
Making Christmas About Jesus
This exercise also revealed to me what we’ve been lacking. It’s a focus on Christ.
The teacher gave me some great ideas in this regard. She explained how we can use Advent candles to ceremoniously acknowledge the coming of Christ leading up to Christmas Day.
She also gave us a lovely idea for keeping gifts to a minimum yet giving the family something to be thankful for.
It’s a simple idea. What you do is designate a box (store bought, home made, whatever you’d like) to represent Jesus’ birthday gift. Then anytime you do something between Thanksgiving and Christmas that Jesus Christ would be proud of, you write about it (or have little ones draw a picture) and place it in the box. Then at your Christmas dinner, open the box and read about all the things you did in His name.
I absolutely love this idea and plan on implementing it for our family this year.
What’s the one Christmas tradition you can’t live without? How do you keep Christ in mind?