– by Mary May Larmoyeux – As you watch countless ads for Christmas gifts, do you ever wonder, Where is Christ in Christmas? I sure do. Yet too often I feel myself being pulled by the glittery promises of “giftmas” instead of Christmas. Can you identify?
Here are 11 ideas to help us keep Christ in Christmas this year:
1. Reduce the numbers of presents that you give to family members to focus on Jesus’ presence. Some families give three present to each child, symbolizing the three gifts the magi brought to Jesus: gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:1-12).
2. Celebrate the 12 days before Christmas by having the family concentrate each day on a particular name of Christ such as: Alpha and Omega, Bread of Life, Bright and Morning Star, Emmanuel, Good Shepherd, Word of Life, etc.
Barbara Rainey has created some beautiful Christmas ornaments with seven of the names of Jesus: Adorenaments: His Christmas Name Set.
3. Memorize Bible passages that relate to the birth of Jesus. One example is Luke 2:11, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
4. Set up your Nativity; place a small basket nearby that is filled with pine straw or cotton. Encourage family members to “give a gift to Jesus” by being kind and thoughtful. Ask them to secretly place a piece of pine straw or cotton on the manger floor to represent each of their “gifts.”
Then, on Christmas morning, place the figure of baby Jesus in the manger—resting on the bed that family members made as they remembered the real reason for the season.
5. On Christmas morning, read Luke 2:1-20. Encourage the children to act out these verses later in the day as a family play.
6. Cut stars out of cardboard and help the children decorate them with glitter. To keep Christ in Christmas, older children and adults could write on the back of star ornaments ways Christ has made a difference in their lives.
Punch a hole in each star, attach a ribbon, and hang on a small table top Christmas tree. Then, on Christmas Eve, either an older child or adult could read a few Scriptures about light or stars. The family could end in a prayer thanking Jesus for being the Light of the World (John 8:12).
7. Discuss why Jesus is called the Light of the World.
8. Take the children to the baby department of a store. Look at all of the baby clothes and items. Later that day read Luke 2:7 (ESV), “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Explain what the swaddling cloths were and help the children compare how baby Jesus was dressed on Christmas Day to the items in the department stores.
9. Save Christmas cards and throughout the new year pray for those who sent the cards. You might want to send loved ones notes during the year telling them that you prayed for them.
10. Ask older children to research the origins of favorite Christmas hymns and to share their findings with the entire family. Then spend an evening singing these hymns together.
11. Remember those who have lost loved ones and are grieving during the holidays. Send some flowers or a card to their homes, invite them over for dinner, or give a memorial in the loved one’s honor.
What is one thing you do to keep Christ in Christmas? How are you reminding your children and grandchildren of the real reason we celebrate December 25 in our homes?
© 2014, 2017 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Searching for some creative ideas for grandparents? Check out The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart. It’s written by a USA Teacher of the Year, Nancy Downing, and Mary Larmoyeux, a writer for FamilyLife. Paper and electronic versions are available. (Great for parents, aunts and uncles, too!)