With all the commercialism of Christmas, it’s easy to lose focus of what the holiday is supposed to be about. Maybe you’ve been more focused on your journey to the mall than on Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. Or maybe you’ve been so busy figuring out what would fill the stockings, that you’ve forgotten the One who fills your soul.
If your kids are older or you and your spouse have always done holidays a certain way, you may think it’s too late to change now. But it’s not. Whether you’re walking in a newfound faith, or you’ve decided it’s time to get back to your roots, there are many ways you can bring Jesus back into focus this Christmas.
If you have young children, one easy way is to read them the Christmas story. You can, of course, read it straight from the Bible, but if you feel that it’s too lengthy or complicated for your little ones, there are great books on the market that will help you tell the story in simpler terms. One such book is The First Christmas, by Carol Heyer. Its beautiful illustrations and straightforward wording give children a sense of what it was like to live in the days surrounding Jesus’ birth. Of course, there are many Christmas story books to choose from. Visit any of the St. Louis Family Christian Store locations or the Lifeway Christian Store in Bridgeton to find the one that is right for your kids.
You might also consider purchasing Veggie Tales The Toy That Saved Christmas for preschool age children. This video features a fun story that shows children that their focus should not be on all the things they can get, and how we fall prey to the marketing efforts of the big toy companies.
Another great way to remind children of the reason for the season, is to play Christmas carols that focus on Jesus. Cedarmont Kids Christmas Carols video or cd can be played at home or in the car as you travel to see family and friends over the holidays. Since the lyrics are about the birth of Christ, it gives you an easy segue into talking about your beliefs.
Of course, you don’t have need products to get your family to focus on Jesus. All you need is an open heart. Be honest with your family. Let them know that though you enjoy Christmas, there has been something missing for you, and you really want to spend some time celebrating Jesus this year. You can do so in many simple ways:
Say a simple prayer of thanks before or after you open Christmas gifts
Sing a few Christ-centered Christmas carols on Christmas Eve night or Christmas morning
If you have a nativity scene among other Christmas lights in your yard, on Christmas Day, turn off all other lights except those lighting the manger.
Ask each family member to give a gift to Jesus. This can be a half hour spent reading His word, time spent in worship, a commitment to help out at church, giving up something they enjoy as a sacrifice to someone less fortunate or simply saying for what blessings they are most thankful to God.
Set aside at least part of the day to actually be Jesus’ birthday. Celebrate Him as you would any other loved one’s birthday. Serve cake, sing Happy Birthday or another song of thanks or praise, give special gifts that are intended to help the recipient become stronger in their own faith, such as a Bible, Christian jewelry or a Christian version of their favorite board game.
Spread the love of Jesus to your community. Make small Christmas cards containing a scripture, and if you’re able, a small gift, such as a $5 gift card or a sandwich bag filled with cookies. On Christmas Day, before you visit family, drive to various businesses that are open, such as 7-11 stores or gas stations, and give your gift to the employees who are working that day. Tell them you appreciate their sacrifice to work on Christmas, and that the One who made the greatest sacrifice of all for them, wants to be part of their Christmas too.
If you really have a desire to make your Christmas more of a Christian celebration, but you’re a bit overwhelmed by the task of changing old habits, just start small. Set your Christmas dinner table with Christian decorations or scriptures written on place cards, and start the meal with a prayer. The more you talk about or show your Christian beliefs, the easier it will become. Then, as the years go on, you’ll be able to look back on the holidays with joy and fulfillment.