Unwrapping the very best gift with children this Christmas
Christmas is a wonderful festival for Christians, but it can be easy to underestimate the secular influences on our children.
School and friends will tell them every Christmas story apart from the true one, and careful product placement in the media they consume will tell them all the things they don’t have but really, really need.
As Christian families, then, we need to work a bit harder at this time of year to ensure that our children understand that the reason Christmas is so brilliant is not the gifts or the food or the parties, but the babe in the manger sent to save us.
There are many resources out there for creating a Jesus-focused Christmas, but in this blog I’d like to outline five tools we can use with our kids which don’t cost a penny, and don’t require busy parents to find clear chunks of time (which, quite frankly, don’t exist in the lives of most families).
These are the Parenting for Faith key tools that we teach on our free course, and they can mostly be woven into everyday events like eating meals, travelling to school, tying shoelaces or bathtime.
- Create windows into how you and others worship Jesus at Christmas. Attend church services and events, encouraging your child to look around at how others are worshipping – singing carols, closing eyes, lighting candles, raising hands or kneeling in awe
- Frame seasonal traditions in terms of faith. We give gifts because the wise men gave Jesus gifts. We decorate the house with lights because Jesus came to be the light of the world. We play Santa to remember St Nicholas, a man of God who was generous to those who had little.
- Unwind any view of God which might liken him to Santa. The two can easily get confused at Christmas, but Santa only gives to ‘good’ children, whereas God lavishes his grace and love onto all of us. It’s great news!
- Chat and catch with God. This is Parenting for Faith’s way of talking about prayer. When our kids tell us about the special gift they’re after, we can encourage them to chat to God about it. He loves to hear every aspect of their lives – they don’t have to wait till they have something ‘big’ to ask him or thank him for. Encourage them to ask God questions, too, and wait to ‘catch’ his response.
- Surf the waves of our children’s interest in Christmas. Avoid the temptation to involve your child in festivities they’re not ready for or bothered by, and instead spot where they are interested and engaged. Do they have a heart for the poor at Christmas, and want to make a foodbank hamper? Or are they fascinated by Jesus’ family tree, and need your help to research his ancestors?
We hope these ideas help to fuel some really special Jesus-centred moments with the children in your life this Christmas.