(and so do grown-ups)
The season of Christmas brings an unstable time for most Christians and their families. Children are bombarded with advertisements for toys of all sorts and the days of “I want this” and “I want that” make preparation for Christmas anything but stable. Even adults are assaulted by the many demands of the season. Christmas parties, extended working hours, stress and worry make what is to be a season of peace into a season of the not so peaceful. What can we do to recapture the true Christmas season? What can we do to help our children know the true meaning of Christmas? Is there any place for the Christ child among the crowds and the busyness of our modern holiday season? Was there any room for him among the crowds and busyness of Bethlehem when he came that first Christmas Eve? Maybe returning to the stable, to the Christ child, as the center of our Christmas season will give us the stability we so desperately need.
The center of our celebration needs to be the one whose birth we celebrate. The demands of families and parties are great, but if we fail to come on Christmas Eve to the celebration of the birth, to light the candles, to sing the songs and to hear once more the story, we will miss Christmas altogether. Plan to come to worship on Christmas Eve and prepare your children for this special event. Tell them why this night is so important. Share with them the story of Jesus’ birth, the story of Mary and Joseph. One way to do this is to have a manger scene at home and slowly add the pieces during December and tell the story of each piece. Add the baby Jesus only after worship on Christmas Eve.
When the demands for gifts become too demanding, plan a family gift for Jesus. Decide how much you want to spend, what to get and wrap it like any other Christmas gift. Buy something that will remind you and your family of Jesus the whole year. When it is time to open gifts, Jesus’ gift will be the first one opened.
Plan a way to share the season of Christmas with others. Support programs that share with the needy and let your children help in the project. Send cards to people wishing them a Holy Christmas, especially those who are celebrating the holidays alone. Say prayers together for those in need. Do this not only in preparation for Christmas Day, but also during the twelve days of Christmas.
Whatever you do, do it for Jesus. He should be the center of the season for all of us. His ways should guide us as we decide what to do and what not to do. Don’t be afraid to say no to holiday demands and make Jesus the stable foundation of your Christmas celebration.