Christmas is undoubtedly the most exciting time of the year. As a mom of two little ones, Christmas has brought me such a renewed sense of joy: witnessing the sheer joy in our children’s faces as special treats are brought out, festive songs we all know by heart echoing down the hall, and the excitement buzzing in the air. If I am honest with you, it’s easy for me to get caught up in the joy of the things—of the gifts, the surprises, the goodies. But how can we make sure that just as much joy is focused on Christ and His birth this season? As children, how do we translate the fun of these other things over to the real reason for Christmas, and seamlessly? As parents, my husband and I want to relish in the anticipation of Christmas with our kids, but we also want to make sure we’ve crafted the perfect concoction of fun, excitement, and Truth about why we celebrate Christmas. We want the joyful memories and the foundation of faith, combined. How can we do it all?
Here are three easy and exciting ways to keep your family focused on Christ this Christmas, while keeping it FUN and FESTIVE!
1 – Focus on the CELEBRATION. This is, very simply put, an easy one for us as parents. It’s easy to decorate a Christmas tree, or attend your local Christmas parade. Those celebrations are what the JOY of Christmas is nestled in, the sparkle, magic and excitement, and they seem to be on auto-pilot for kids and adults alike.
But could there be so much more in the daily celebration? What do the days leading up to Christmas really mean? Not just a festive countdown to when presents can be opened—we have so much more to celebrate and anticipate in the days leading up to Christmas. Sharing the simple joy that our Savior IS coming, HIS birthday is what we’re counting down to, that is what and why we celebrate Christmas, that is what it’s all about.
Make a festive countdown for His birthday: as you are tucking your little ones into bed, tell the Christmas story and think about how Mary must have felt. Did she know what was to come in the days ahead? How exciting would it have been to know, and how would we have celebrated, knowing what was to come?
2 – Focus on the GIVING. So much that is celebrated around Christmas is focused on the idea of receiving. Naturally, children are laser-focused on what Christmas morning will bring for them. They made their lists, and the grand finale for them will ultimately be just WHAT is under that Christmas tree on Christmas morning. Those things are fun, but shifting our intentions on what we could possibly give, rather than receive will bring a newfound joy to your children that will last a lifetime!
Focus on having purposeful conversations about what we can give, as Jesus tells us to do and exemplified to us over and over again throughout the Bible. As a mom, I’ve seen how easy it is to entice my kids in the excitement, so by making the joy and fun based around GIVING, they will share in the excitement, too!
How can your kids give this holiday season? Maybe they can pick out a few presents at the store that they think another child would like. Or perhaps an afternoon spent at your local nursing home handing out handmade cards and candy to the elderly would help them understand and experience the true joy of giving. There are so many great options for giving at Christmastime—pick one or two that are good fits for your family and experience the joy of giving together.
3 – Focus on the GIFT. Now there will be gifts to be enjoyed by everyone, given and received, and those are so exciting, all wrapped in shiny paper and pretty bows. But after the decorations come down, and those toys inevitably lose half of their pieces, the joy of Christmas will fade. But focusing on the GIFT, the birth, the real reason that we celebrate Christmas will help the joy of Christmas live in our hearts all year round. He is our gift.
I can remember as a child, my parents wrapping up an empty box and placing it under the tree. Not as a joke, but to have my brother and I pause for a moment and be thankful for the one gift we can’t hold in our hands—the greatest and best gift of all. A pause in the chaos of Christmas morning, to celebrate and focus on Jesus. Our Savior has been born! He is our gift, Jesus is who we are to celebrate and be thankful for—not just at Christmastime, but every day.
Memories will be made with your children this Christmas, and a time will come when Christmas morning won’t be as exhilarating as it once was because the presents aren’t as grand or enticing. But I want to challenge and encourage you that what we do now, and celebrate now, will create a lasting joy for a lifetime.
Josh and Lindsey Helms are the creators of DaySpring’s Shepherd on the Search, a fun family tradition that celebrates the birth of Christ. They live outside of Nashville with their two children, Jacob and Everley. Learn more at ShepherdOnTheSearch.com or follow Shepherd on the Search on Facebook!