Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Reason

It just wouldn't be right to talk about all the holiday decorating, the baking, and the gift giving without talking about the reason we celebrate Christmas.  Christmas seems to be the busiest time of the year with shopping, parties, and various activities.  Sometimes I can't help but wonder if it's a ploy to try to get us distracted from the reason we celebrate.  Don't get me wrong.  I love all the festiveness this season brings.  I just make sure to keep my priorities on track. 

then sings my soul

The other night we went to a Christmas musical.  It was so nice to watch and be reminded of the Savior's birth.  Before it started, I asked Joshua what the most important thing was about Christmas.  When he responded with giving, I started to get nervous.  It's not about presents!  But then he went on to talk about God giving His Son, and I smiled.  That's right, my boy.  It is about the perfect gift of Jesus.

angels we have heard on high

In order to make this season more about Jesus, we've started reading singing a Christmas hymn and the history behind it at dinnertime.  It's fun and a lovely reminder all at the same time!

What kinds of things do you do during this season in order to keep priorities on track?

7 comments :

blissful_e said...

Christmas isn't a huge holiday here - it's widely celebrated, but not a high-pressure event (could be partly because no one feels like baking during the summer?). An unexpected perk of living in a largely non-Christian area is that we, as Christians, can make the holiday Christ-focused rather than about spending and Santa Claus. Our kids don't even know about Santa Claus, which was a little strange when the checkout clerk at the grocery store asked my kids what Santa Claus was going to bring them. They just looked at her funny. :) I didn't feel like explaining because honestly, is Santa Claus bringing anyone anything? We can all look at the checkout clerk funny. :)

To answer your question, though, we talk about it being Jesus' birthday (we bake him a cake), sing Christmas carols, play The Messiah in the car, have an Advent wreath which helps us count down the weeks and wait in expectation, and we set up a wooden nativity scene so the kids can play with some of the key characters. I haven't explained the symbolism behind the Christmas tree, but we do have a star on top and we talked about how that represents the star the wise men followed.

We don't have a lot of money for gifts this year (Ben and I aren't buying each other anything), so it's a huge blessing to me that my kids aren't thinking about Santa Claus and what they'll get, but about the real Reason for all the peace and joy in our lives.

Pilar said...

I am with you, and I also believe that with all the crazyness that comes with Christmas, as fun as it is, we need to make sure we remember the Real Reason for Christmas, and make sure that we know our kids know it as well. Good for you little boy! :)

The Herd said...

It's our tradition to read the Story in Luke on Christmas morning...it seems to start the day off right. We don't do Santa, never have, so it helps not to have that as a focus.

Val said...

We have been asking Dante every evening if he remembers why we celebrate Christmas...It helps keeps things on track with all the other excitement!

MaryAnne said...

We'll be celebrating Christmas with my family this year, and my parents are experts at keeping Christmas focused on Christ. I imagine we'll sing lots of (religious) carols and have a nativity. My family keeps gifts very simple, and I think that helps as well. And Santa doesn't really enter the picture at all.

Liesl said...

We have only angels and stars and lights on our tree. Maybe a sled, a little church and some cherries. We dont do the Santa thing at all. So no Santas or Christmas decor. Then for the 12 days before Christmas, we light candles after dinner. Every night we add another until Christmas Eve when we have 12 candles lit. With the candles lit, we talk about Jesus' birth, why we have angels (angel told Mary she was going to have a baby) and stars (star of Bethlehem) and lights (Jesus is the light of the world) on our tree. Then we tell the story again, ask questions and sing a Christ focused carol (like Silent Night). Afterwards we pray and then blow out candles.

We also speak about the fact that kings searched for Jesus for a few years because He was so important and they brought Him expensive gifts because He is the King of Kings. And that's why we give each other gifts, because we love one another and we're important to one another. The week leading up to Christmas we will talk about others and how we can give back to Jesus by serving and loving others. And the I still need to come up with something that we can do. And on Christmas Day we will have a birthday cake for Jesus. And we'll sing for Him.

This is the first Christmas that J will really understand and we want to get the foundations right. Next year in SA we will have a nativity made from salt dough and speak about how Jesus said we are the salt of the world and He is the Bread of life.

I heard a really good idea for gifts - base it on the gifts from the 3 wise men. Gold - something valuable/special, like a gold cross or something keepsake that they will always have. Frankinsense - something for spiritual growth like a childrens Bible or cd or dvd. Myrrh - something for their bodies - shoes, clothes etc.... J is only getting a few very small gifts and they are already under the tree. He knows that WE bought them and that WE wrapped them. And he has himself drawn pictures and stapled them together for us only to be opened on Christmas Day :)

I'm so excited to teach my children what its really about. When they're older I plan on having us all dress up and act out the story together. Might try it this year!!!

Sherry said...

It is great to read about families who want their children to remember the real meaning of Christmas. Our 6 children are grown and married and trying to raise their famililes that way, knowing that Jesus comes first. Thanks for sharing.

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