If you are like me, Christmas can quickly unravel from the season of the year when we, like three wise men, seek after the holy to a house full of kids ripping through presents in a search and destroy operation under the Christmas tree.
How do I keep the chaos to a minimum while keeping focus on the eternal? Here are a few tips to keep silent in your night.
What Must It Be Like?
One way to keep Christmas focused on Christ is to transport their imaginations back in time with continual questions throughout the day. While cleaning, ask your children, “What do you think it was like when Mary was cleaning up that stable?” While driving to the enrichment classes, ask your children what it must have been like to travel in a day that required a walk all the way to Bethlehem for a census. There are so many possible routes your conversations can take, all the while helping your children understand why this season deserves reverence and thought.
Give New Meaning
As a parent, I have the privilege to create memories and give meaning to holiday traditions and seasons. Some of the first thoughts that come to mind when I think about the holidays are the traditions that are exclusively our family’s. Whether it’s a tradition of a food that we only serve or make during this season or certain books that we can’t wait to dive into during family reading, setting a tradition and giving new meaning to activities can display and draw attention to the love that God displayed when sending us his son!
Struggling for ideas? Here are a few to get you started:
1. Food: Pick a recipe that you only make as a family. For our family, it’s the traditional crème wafer. After we finish baking, we always gather to drink hot chocolate and watch an old black-and-white classic Christmas movie together.
2. Books: Our family favorite is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It’s a wonderful read anytime of the year, but for our family, it says Christmas. Other great titles include The Legend of the Candy Cane and The Tale of Three Trees.
3. Games and puzzles: Each year, we make sure we play lots of board games with each other while listening to classic Christmas music. Quite often, this leads to singing way too loud and impromptu dancing!
4. Christmas boxes, retirement home visits, and feeding the homeless: In our home, Christmas is not about helping temporarily with the charities that serve the needy, but is a continuation of what we have been doing all year. When the kids were young, they would visit the nursing homes each week, singing songs and entertaining the elderly. Christmas provides an opportunity to make additional and longer visits, instilling a love for serving while they are young.
Never Too Late
I came to know Jesus later in life. We attended churches that celebrated Christmas, but we had never heard of keeping Advent. Now, with an understanding of those days before Christmas, we prepare our hearts and remind our children of the unbelievable gift that God has given us. We are starting this year’s Christmas celebration with Advent. There is an abundance of resources online that can help you with scheduling Bible reading, as well as other activities.
Whether your kids are young, tweens, teens, or young adults, it’s never too late to deck the halls with laughter and joy with your Christmas traditions, setting an example that they can follow with their own children one day!