It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the Christmas season is here! Everywhere we turn, the sights, sounds, and wonders of Christmas surround us ready to captivate our family’s hearts. Have you noticed as you drive around town how your children’s eyes fill with wonder as they gaze at the spectacularly lit homes and brilliantly decorated trees? Even the sages among us become young at heart as the heavenly-sounding choirs sing their favorite Christmas hymns and the visionaries re-tell the Christmas story in various ways and forms!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
Establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7
Our family loves celebrating Christmas, but we’ve learned that the holidays can easily turn into the most stressful time of the year if we don’t closely guard our time, wallets, and hearts. With so many temptations surrounding us, it’s easy to over-schedule, over-spend, and waste precious time pursuing activities that aren’t Christ-honoring if we’re not careful!
The secret to having a joyful, peaceful Christmas lies in keeping our families focused on the miraculous birth of Jesus and the incredible gift that God gave us when He sent us His only Son!
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14
To ensure that our family has the energy and enthusiasm to enjoy the Christmas activities we sign up for, we’ve learned to become highly selective in choosing the festivities and invitations we accept during the Christmas season.
Here are a few fun activities that help us stay focused on Jesus throughout the Christmas season:
One of the things that my family loves most about Christmas is the music. Do you have a favorite Christmas hymn? This season, let’s take our families Christmas caroling, attend some Christmas concerts, and download a few new Christmas songs to celebrate the season!
You may also enjoy studying the history and lyrics of your favorite hymns with your family in a book like The Carols of Christmas: A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs. Our family is always amazed when we learn just how biblical and Christ-honoring the traditional hymns are!
Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;tell of all His wonderful acts. – Psalm 105:2
Decorating our homes for Christmas is always fun, especially when the kids are involved! When we decorate, we like to share how each Christmas decoration relates to Jesus and His birth. Why not research a few Bible verses to share as well? Our hope is that whenever our kids see a particular type of decoration, they will remember the stories, symbolism and verses behind them and think of Jesus Christ! Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas is another wonderful resource for learning this history!
For instance, when we light our Christmas tree each night, our family loves to reflect on how the brilliant white lights remind us of Jesus:
When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:5
Whenever the topic of gift-giving comes up at Christmastime, I like to remind our family that the custom of giving gifts is not only biblical, but also reflects the generous heart of God! Our culture at large has lost track of the true nature of gift-giving by making it all about us. However, the Christmas story reminds us that gift giving is first and foremost an act of worship:
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:10-11
Christmas is the perfect time to remind our kids that God is the giver of every good gift and blessing in our life!
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17
More importantly, the reason that we celebrate Christmas is that Jesus Himself is God’s gift to us!
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
As we give to others this season, let’s pray that our gifts truly reflect God’s love.
Every year, I add a new story to our children’s book collection so that I can share the Christmas story in a fresh way. This year, I came across A Savior Is Born: Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas, a unique book by Patti Rokus that proves a picture is worth a thousand words!
A Savior Is Born, Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas is an unforgettable picture book that uses majestic rock art and simple yet powerful text to inspire wonder and awe as the miracle of Christmas unfolds across the pages. You and your kids will become absorbed in the nature-filled artwork that shows the birth of Jesus and the celebration of the very first Christmas in a powerful and unique way.
* * *
How does your family celebrate Christmas? Do you have a favorite tradition, song, or recipe that your family loves? Share your favorite Christmas stories and memories with us! We wish you a joyful and blessed Christmas!