As we pulled down the heavy dusty tubs of Christmas decor from the attic, our girls excitement filled the room! In an attempt to keep from spiraling into mass chaos (as in years past), we attempted a new method, we (or maybe I should say I:-)) decided to pull one thing out at a time and work together as a family to find its place and then move on to the next treasure. It was a success! There was way less chaos than the normal mayhem that accompanied four little chiefs grabbing running and competing to decorate the most. In the past, it seemed like more ended up on the floor than on the shelves along with some tug-a-wars. We were off to a good start!
After filling our mantel and shelves with red and green, I found a prized DVD labeled “Hillview Nativity”. I stuck it in the DVD player and told the girls they were going to love it! “What is it?” “Mom just tell us!” “Mmmoooom tell us!”
The second the music started, I felt myself get choked up and my daughter said, “This song (“Marry Did You Know”) always makes me cry.” It does the same to me, but this time it was accompanied with priceless pictures. The images with the music touched me as much this time, as the fist time I saw it. Seeing pictures of my children dressed to fill such big parts in a story that we all know so well, but sometimes don’t really stop to think about, touched me to the core.
The seemingly small details of baby Jesus’ humble birth can teach us so much about Christ, his purpose, and our purpose.
Mary was young and knew what others would say and that she’d be talked about, but she believed and accepted her mission on Earth to be the mother of our King. She endured difficult trials during pregnancy and a delivery that no mother would hand pick, but kept her faith. When the perfect Christ child was born, it was in the most humble of circumstances, yet it couldn’t have been a more perfect beginning for a child that would grow to be the Savior of the world. One who was born and died with no pride, no guile, no bitterness, no hatred, and no desire to please man. A child born with only one purpose and that was to do his Father’s will. He would spend his life blessing the sick, the widowed, the hungry, the homeless. He was loved by a mom and dad who had the faith to believe in a greater plan. A plan that was so different from the one they had mapped out. He was loved and hated. Betrayed. And killed. The only perfect person that has ever walked this Earth started his story on Earth in humble circumstances, lived a humble life, and died in humility.
He is our example.
He is our Savior!
So during this amazing and busy time of year when the smells are delicious, the giggles are real, the music is contagious, and the roads and stores are jammed pack, how can we keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas?
Here are 9 things that we’ve done through the years to help our family keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!
1. Decorate the Tree with Ornaments Telling the Story of Christ’s Birth
My sister gave us beautiful wooden ornaments one year for Christmas, each with a scripture from the Bible that shares a part of the Christmas story. When we are done hanging the ornaments, we have walked through the story of baby Jesus with visual pictures and an activity that keeps the girls engaged and interested.
2. Have Childproof Nativities for the Kids to Play With
There is nothing better than to let our children touch, play with, and imagine baby Jesus’ story. Sometimes it’s the little things that can leave an imprint on a little heart and mind. Plus…seeing this kind of imagination makes this mama smile! I remember this making my day. It was just too cute not to take a picture!:-)
What better way to spend the Christmas season than to serve and love as Christ did? It seems like it’s so easy to get distracted by the concerts, performances, shopping, gifts, Christmas cards, and even wholesome traditions that we forget to stop , to pause, and to recognize the minutes or even seconds, of miracles and blessings that surround us. Recognizing and talking to our children about these things will remind us why we celebrate Christmas and help cultivate a more Christ-centered Christmas.
4. Act out the Nativity told in Luke 2
Some of my fondest Christmas memories are of my dad sitting on the couch in his robe, reading from Luke 2 while the commotion of six little bodies hustled about, trying to figure out who was supposed to be in and out of the play. We’ve continued this tradition in our family and there is something so sweet about seeing that pivotal story role played by my own children. I’m not going to lie, Mary is a much sought after role in our family of four girls, there have been some tears but after parts are given and everyone has come to grips with their part, it’s fun to laugh and see the story unfold in its unique way, every single time. This is another fun way to expose our children to the Christmas story.
5. Write Down 3 Gifts Your Going to Give the Savior this Year
The three wisemen each brought the Christ-child a gift, so for years we have been writing down three gifts we can give the Savior throughout the upcoming year and we’d put them in a jar, but a couple years ago our friends introduced us to the white stocking and I just love it! Now we write our gifts down and put them in Christ’s stocking. It makes it feel so real – like we are really giving Him these gifts. This is one of my favorite things to do. It helps me take a step back and reflect on everything Christ has given to me and my family and allows me to choose 3 things that I can do for Him that I know he would love.
6. Do a Mini Christmas Devotional Each Day in December
There is nothing better than warming your toes by the fire while reading Christmas scripture verses, Christmas stories, and enjoying Christmas music about our Savior together. This is one of our favorite things to do! It’s a perfect time to teach our children about Christ through the scriptures, and Christmas stories are filled with people with values, character, charity, selflessness, love, and sacrifice – all of which are attributes of our Savior. As we read these stories to teach our children and as we help them connect the stories to our Savior, they will be able to see these qualities in themselves and others throughout the Christmas season and all year long! We also love good music in our home…and there’s nothing better than good Christmas music! It is a powerful way to help our children feel of Christ’s love for them and others!
This can be so hard to do this time of year! There is so much GOOD to do and we just want to do it all, but we can’t and we shouldn’t! If we have to buy the gingerbread instead of make it this year (which is what I do every year), so be it. If we can’t get our Christmas cards out, life will go on. If there is a tradition that we don’t have time for, it will still be there next year. Life is busy before we throw in all the holiday to do’s, so embrace some, and let go of others. Sometimes it may even take a little self-talk therapy (at least for me it does:-)). This year I’m letting go of sending Christmas cards out in the mail (which is hard for me!). I could get them done, but I would be in the same predicament I’m in every year and I just don’t want that this year. I want to be able to enjoy my kids and husband for a few days. I want all of me there, not the stressed grumpy mom that can sometimes show up if I don’t simplify. I have been caught in the hustle and bustle trap and missed out on the most important part – service and love. Simplify. You won’t regret it when you look back.
8. Give Your Children Three Gifts
One year we decided to give our children three gifts just like Baby Jesus was given. We felt like it would be a good way to keep things in perspective. My husband sometimes teases me about “combining” gifts, but we really do try to keep the gifts from getting out of control. Santa fills their stockings and brings them one unwrapped gift that they’ve asked for and we give them three gifts from us. We also exchange gifts from family and friends and there is just plenty as it is. It reduces time wrapping, financial stress, and allows us to remember the reason for the season.
9. Don’t Let Santa Overtake the Reason for Christmas
We love this big guy! We love the magic of Santa and the animation on the kid’s faces when they see him, hear about him, and talk to him. We love the beaming smiles and the classic crying babies when they are propped on his lap. Christmas would not be the same without him, but we can’t let him overshadow Christ. When we keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas, this Jolly old man is just the cherry on top. It shouldn’t be the other way around.
With so much good to do during the Christmas season, this is something we are constantly trying to remember – sometimes we do better than other times, but as the children grow, we always want them to remember that CHRIST is the reason we celebrate CHRISTMAS, it’s not for us or anyone else.
It’s for Christ!
Nativity Photo taken by Billie (Billiedphotography.com)
This article appeared first on Real Imprints.