“Mom, I want that!” My daughter shouts at the TV. I see a commercial for squishy sand. Batman Duplos.
Janimals, trick scooters, a self-cleaning fish tank.
The toys may change day to day, but the response is the same.
“Mom, I want that—for Christmas!”
It’s natural for a child to crave presents. And I do love giving gifts to my kids.
But the gifts I long to give them aren’t just the toy store kind. Above all, I want my children to receive kindness, generosity, mercy and love—and to know how to pay them forward. Those are the true gifts of Christmas.
So as parents, my husband and I make deliberate efforts to place Jesus at the center of our celebrations.
We find magic in the manger babe, the shepherds and the angels, and we share that magic with our kids.
Here are some simple ways you can make this Christmas matter in the
- Read the Christmas story. The Bible gives a beautiful account of the birth of Jesus in the book of Luke chapter 2, verses 1–21. Don’t own a Bible? No worries! You can find this story on Biblegateway.com. Emphasize to your kids that, unlike Frosty or The Polar Express, the story of Jesus is true. It really happened! That is why we celebrate Christmas.
- Refer to Christmas as “Jesus’ birthday.” In our house, we use the two terms interchangeably. Our kids know that Christmas is a birthday party, and Jesus is the birthday boy. That makes him the star of the day.
- Implement some traditions that focus on Jesus. In the middle of visiting Santa, spying the elf on the shelf, baking snowman cookies and watching It’s a Wonderful Life, we can let the entire season slip by without dedicating any activities to God. So make an Advent calendar. Buy some nativity window clings. Pray for kids in impoverished countries. Demonstrate for your children what it means to love Jesus at Christmas time—and all year round.
- Do something nice for others. Remind your kids that God wants us to love our neighbors. Then decide together how you can show God’s love to someone outside of your family circle. A few years ago, my girls and I made a triple batch of chocolate-coated snack mix, packed it into red and green tins, and went door to door delivering the treat to families in our neighborhood. To this day, it’s still one of our favorite Christmas memories.
- Spend time with God. This time of year is so hectic, our to-do lists can drain all our mental and spiritual energy. Try refreshing your soul by spending a little time with the Big Guy in the Sky. He loves hearing from you. Pray about whatever is on your heart. Dust off your Bible and read a chapter. Pick up an inspirational book at Family Christian in Appleton—and a Veggie Tales DVD for the kids while you’re there (which they can watch while you steal a few peaceful moments to read—a win-win). You’ll be amazed at how a little time with God refreshes your spirit and gives you the boost you need to tackle this frenzied season.
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
So are you ready? Let’s make Christmas matter this year. I invite you to join my Make Christmas Matter series on my blog, Time Out with Becky Kopitzke. Each week I’m sharing new insight on how to make Jesus the center of our family Christmas celebrations—without losing an ounce of the fun. I can’t wait to meet you there!