Beneath all the layers of Christmas, the lights, the gifts, the hustle and bustle and Silver Bells, lies the true meaning of Christmas: God’s greatest gift to humanity, his own Son. My 12 Days of Christmas series wouldn’t be complete without a reminder that Christmas, at its’ most elemental, is about Jesus. Somehow, bringing the focus back to Him puts all the other folderol in perspective. Christmas is about a very simple event, the birth of a Savior.
As a parent, one of my goals for my family at this time of year is keeping a balance between the true meaning of Christmas and the highly marketed, secular version. In order for that to happen, I have to purposefully plan events that make it so. The whirlwind of commercialism that surrounds us, is designed to keep us in a month-long sales funnel, running from one store or shopping website to the next.
What are some purposeful activities you can schedule to escape this trap?
When my kids were younger, we would use traditional Christmas carols for their daily copywork in order to learn the lyrics and provide handwriting practice at the same time. I had become pretty disgusted that they knew the words to, “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree,” but had never even heard, ‘”O Little Town of Bethlehem”! You could do the same with Bible verses that tell the story of Jesus.
Isaiah 9:6, would be a good starting point:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
When the kids were younger, we baked a small birthday cake for Jesus, lit a candle, and sang “Happy Birthday”. Every year we attend our church’s Christmas Eve candlelight service. We had to take the candle away from my daughter a few years back when she nearly caught my husband’s sweater on fire, but even at four years old, the sight of the darkened church filled with candlelight and a chorus of, “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” took her breath away.
Fewer and fewer of us subscribe to the newspaper anymore, but that would be a very good source to learn about all the Christmas musicals and other programs in your community. Many churches have Facebook pages, and it wouldn’t take long to browse through a few of them, even if just to learn the dates and times of their Christmas Eve services.
On Day 2 of this series, I encouraged you to spend time this season reading aloud holiday stories and having a basket of books for the kids to enjoy. Well, add to that list of mostly secular books, books by Christian authors. Here are a few suggestions:
- 24 Christmas Stories to Welcome Jesus
- The Clown of God by Tomie dePaolo — This one always makes me cry.
- Mortimer’s Christmas Manger
- When Will It Be Christmas? 25 Stories and Family Activities for Advent
A family read-aloud, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson is a great way to share the real story of Christmas with lots of humor. There’s an old made-for-TV movie of the book, starring Loretta Swit, too.
What I love about bringing the focus back to the birth of Jesus is its’ simplicity. A carol, a candle, a few verses from the second chapter in the book of Luke all add up to a beautifully quiet moment filled with meaning and reflection on what is most important.