By Joey and Carla Link
December 16, 2020
How do your kids celebrate Jesus’ birthday? It’s one thing to play Christmas songs, have a manager set up in your home, and read Christmas stories to them. It is quite another thing for them to understand this baby grew up to die on the cross to take away their sins so they can live forever in heaven.
To kids, Christmas is all about the presents under the tree. They (and we) get bombarded with this picture everywhere we look. When you go shopping in a store, you see a glistening tree that is all about what you are going to get for Christmas. Rarely do you see a tree that celebrates the birth of our Savior. You can take your kids to see Christmas lights on houses and you might even say “Look! There is baby Jesus in his manager!” But when do you sit down with them to tell them in ways they can understand just what the Christmas story and its importance to them is?
If you feel they already know it, look for something new in the story. This year I (Joey) read this story looking for some fresh new facts about it to encourage my faith in the Christmas story. Carla is going through a Christmas Advent Devotional this month for the same purpose, to get excited about Christmas again. Not because we will see some of our kids and grandkids, but to once again be in awe of what God did to send Jesus to us in human form.
HOW CAN YOU GET YOUR KIDS EXCITED ABOUT JESUS THIS CHRISTMAs?1. Celebrate Advent as a family. Each week represents one aspect of the Christmas story: prophecy, shepherds, wise men, angles and Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve. When our kids were little we got candles that represented each of these and assigned one week to each of our children. We had them do research and present that week’s emphasis to our family. They were creative and it was a memory making time for our family.
2. Read kid-friendly Christmas stories. Around the dinner table a couple nights a week would be a great time to read Christmas story books to your children. We encourage you to add a book about the cross one night too to bring Jesus’ life full circle.
3. Read Christmas devotional books each morning or before bedtime. The Jotham’s JourneySeries, consists of 5 books about kids that lived during the time Jesus was born. This excellent series follows their lives and adventures as they intertwine with the life of our Lord. Imaginations come to life as they hear a story of a child on a Christmas adventure. Amazon carries these books so be sure to check them out.
4. Christmas dramas bring life to the Christmas story. Act out a Christmas play in your own home with the parents as the narrator, having the kids play different parts, even dressing up with robes for wise men or shepherds, and getting a baby doll for baby Jesus.
The key to all these ideas is the discussion they should encourage your family to engage in. Get feedback from your kids on what they learned. Just as kids’ minds are stretched learning new math skills, they need to be stretched learning new facts and insights from the Christmas story to encourage their faith and for them to allow Jesus to be the King in their lives.
- Ask your kids what new fact they heard. If they can’t come up with anything, they likely are not listening intently.
- Ask questions like:
- “What do you think will happen next?
- What would you have done if you were in their place?
- Would you have made a different choice?
- “If you were a Wiseman would you think you were following the wrong star?
- Would you have followed a star in the sky for 2 years, riding a camel and sleeping in the hot desert?
- “If you were a shepherd, would you have really left your sheep, which was your responsibility in plain sight to go worship a baby?
- What if someone came and took off with your flock? What would you do then?
- If you were Joseph, would you be worried about finding a place for Mary to rest when she was in so much pain? Would you have felt like you failed her when you ended up in a stable with cows and camels?
It’s one thing to celebrate Christmas with your kids, it’s another thing to encourage and build up their faith in God through Christmas every year. May your family be excited about the celebration of our Lord!