I have said often that I am okay having Santa Claus deliver big piles of gifts on Christmas Eve because I am confident that my kids know why we're celebrating to begin with.
But how do they know?
It's not like any child pauses in the middle of tearing wrapping paper to reflect on Jesus and the gift of His birth. Let's get real.
It takes conscious effort, continual reinforcement, and intentional activities on my part for my kids to understand and remember that Jesus IS The Gift. It doesn't just happen.
My pastor's sermon last week was about giving: giving time, giving money, giving of yourself to God. He pointed out some of the verses in Luke where Jesus speaks about giving specifically as well as 2 Corinthians 9:6-7:
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
He began focused on tithing, but he ended with what we give to the broken world, the fingerprints we leave in the name of God.
On that note, I want to talk today about how to keep Christ in Christmas during this busy season full of tempting desserts, pretty packages, and sparkling lights.
10 Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas
1. Prepare your heart daily. Keeping Christ in Christmas is, at its most basic, the same as keeping Christ in your everyday. Have a quiet time daily, and teach your children to have quiet time daily. Read and study the Bible. Pray. Journal if that's your thing.
2. Read the Christmas story (find it in Luke 1:5-56 and 2:1-20). It's so simple that even Charlie Brown got it right. THE Christmas story comes from the Bible. THE Christmas story is simple and poignant. THE Christmas story should be read aloud often in every home during this joyous season.
3. Display and discuss a Nativity in your home. You can find everything from bears in costume to porcelain people to plastic toy nativity scenes. (Our favorite favorite nativity is the Little People Nativity, which we have had for 7 years. It still gets action every Christmas season.) You can even make a nativity craft at home. The idea is that your kids are exposed to and talking about the new baby and his family.
4. Give often. There are a myriad of ways to give during the holiday season. You can take an ornament off an Angel Tree or buy gifts for a family in need. You can give money or time or gifts, just do it with a cheerful heart.
5. Celebrate a birthday on Christmas. It is the birthday of Jesus, is it not? Celebrate it with cake and candles and singing.
6. Attend church on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.
7. Send Christmas cards with a spiritual flavor.
9. Make a Jesse Tree. A Jesse Tree traces the lineage of Jesus from Creation through His birth, and I published a free ebook devotional for families to make one. From lessons on Rahab to Abraham to Ruth, this beautiful and meaningful tradition will change the way you think about the Christmas season.
10. Be thankful. We often reserve our thanksgiving for November, but remind your kids to look for things to be thankful for. Help them to pray thanks for those gifts, both before and after Christmas.