5 Family Activities That Celebrate The True Meaning Of Christmas
Christmas is so much fun for kids. They sense the magic in the air as the season approaches, and, let's face it, the piles of cookies and, presents beneath the tree, don't hurt either. But should the holiday bring all of these things and no mention of the true meaning behind the celebration, our kids miss out on a chance to understand the origin of God's love for us. By sending His son, that fateful night so long ago, He was placing His love right in the middle of our world. We recognize that love by celebrating history's most meaningful birthday in the most meaningful way possible. Here are a few ideas and activities that may help your family to do so this holiday season.
1) Church Play- It may just be the cutest thing ever. Seeing preschoolers tripping over their robe and proclaiming that a 'king has been born!" Inevitably, the baby Jesus doll will get dropped, someone will forget their lines or wave to Mom in the audience, and the 5 year old portraying Mary will just look uncomfortable. Through it all, however, kids will learn the story, as they learn their lines, and they will have fun doing it. Though they may not grasp every aspect, portraying the characters in the Nativity Story, offers kids the best insight into who these people were, and what their lives mean to us today.
2) Toys for Tots/Salvation Army Tree of Lights- Kids know what kids like. They know the excitement and joy that comes from opening a present on Christmas morning that makes their heart jump. Santa listened! By explaining to them that their are so many children that don't get to feel those things, you are imparting a lesson in caring and empathy that models Jesus's love for the unfortunate. Pick a name, a family, etc. and let your children join in in making this holiday special for them. True kindness always leads back to Jesus and this is a great way to remind children of who he was and is.
3) Christmas Caroling- It sounds simple. Walking door to door, singing hymns proclaiming the reason for the season. It may seem small, but the Bible says, "O come, let us sing unto the Lord: Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation"(Psalm 95-KJV). Singing carols is quietly teaching kids to praise the Lord and to express joyful noise in celebration of his birth. Plus, it's fun to sing and see your parents rocking out beside you.
4) Throwing Jesus a Birthday Party- Okay, it sounds silly. But kids are silly and fun and learn from having fun. So go all out. Let them bake a cake, decorate a little (add a birthday sign and streamers to the Christmas decorations), and even talk about the ways we can give Jesus gifts, by sharing our gifts, with the world.
5) Reading of the Nativity Story- As simple as it gets. Kids love entertainment and there is no need to add anything to this exciting, beautiful story. There are villains, kings, wild animals, and the happy ending to end all happy endings. Make hot cocoa and borrow a few of Santa's cookies, then gather your babies close and introduce them to the greatest story ever told.
These are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling, but should the craziness of the season begin to overwhelm you, I encourage you to remember that you best show the meaning of the season to your children in all of the everyday ways you give of yourself, treat others with kindness, and speak of Jesus's love to the world. That is the way we teach our kids to celebrate the Lord. That is the way we make this year His best birthday ever. Merry Christmas, grab your kids, and enjoy the party.