Did you know that the home is the very best place for children to learn about and understand the true meaning of Christmas?
This time of year is tremendously busy and often materialistic, but there are ways to plan special experiences for your child.
Here are seven suggestions to help your family focus on the lasting joy of the season.
1. Worship with a Christmas wreath.
One beautiful tradition is that of lighting the candles of an Advent or Christmas wreath.
Here's how: place four purple or pink candles, and one white candle, within an evergreen wreath. Begin four weeks before Christmas. Light one purple or pink candle each week as you read the suggested Bible readings for that day. Light the white candle on Christmas Eve or day as you pray and thank God for the birth of Jesus.
2. Use a Nativity scene.
Make or purchase a nativity set. Select a set that is sturdy enough for young fingers to handle and move. Allow the children to move the figures while you read Luke 2:1-20.
3. Gather straw for the manger.
Use your nativity scene or make a manger from brown paper. Place the manger where it can be easily seen. Family members may place a piece of straw in the manger for every kind act they do or see another family member do. Place the figure representing Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve. By that time the manger should be filled with soft straw.
4. Worship through giving.
Many children (and adults) get so caught up with the giving and getting of gifts that they sometimes forget whose birthday they are celebrating.
Decide as a family on gifts you will give to Jesus. Help your children understand that Jesus does not want bright packages from the mall. Your family's gift for Him might be your love, worship, gratitude, praise, an offering for missions or an act of ministry.
5. Sing Christmas carols.
Sing around your Christmas tree. Sing as a part of family worship. Sing while you do the dishes together or as you get ready for bed. Let your children hear "Away in the Manger" more often than a song about a reindeer.
6. Read the Bible with your family.
Read the Bible readings suggested in your devotional and Bible study materials. For beginning readers, place a marker in the Bible where the day's verse or passage is found. They may open the Bible to the passage to be read. Ask good readers to read the words.
7. Memorize the Christmas story from Luke.
Decide as a family to learn the story of Luke 2:1-20.
Divide the passage into smaller sections. Each family member can memorize his or her portion of the story. Practice telling the story together. Be sure to help your child understand the meaning of any difficult words or concepts.