Christmas traditions are at the heart of every family's unique celebration of this blessed holiday. But with the secularization and commercialism of Christmas, it's easy for Christian families to get caught up in the hoopla.
The "reason for the season" is no longer evident in many of our schools, businesses, and even homes. Nativity scenes have been replaced by huge depictions of Santa, Homer Simpson (dressed as Santa), and the Grinch (you guessed it, dressed as Santa). "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" has replaced "Away in a Manager." And even our "merry Christmas" greeting has been replaced by a noncommittal "happy holidays."
Without effort, even Christians can leave Christ out of Christmas. While the circumstances and experiences of the world around us can easily distract us from making room for Christ at Christmas, we can, with intentionality, shine in contrast every bit as bright as the Bethlehem star so many years ago.
We can choose to keep Christ in Christmas in the things we say and do. As we do so, others will see and hear the true message of Christmas: a Savior was born for all of humanity.
There are countless ways Christian families can worship together at Christmastime. Following are some ideas that will help your family keep Christ in Christmas.
Spread the gingerbread gospel. This is a fun gingerbread-house project to do with kids of all ages to teach them that Jesus is preparing a place for us and that we can live forever with him one day. Allow teenagers to handle the intricate parts of the house building with younger siblings adding the finishing touches. You can pick up a gingerbread house kit at craft stores.
Invest in nativity play sets. Collect a variety of nativity sets and place them around the house. For young children, Little People® or Playmobil® make nativity sets that are age-appropriate. For older children, ceramic is a good choice. Sets can often be picked up for next to nothing at yard sales or after-Christmas sales. Have the children act out the Christmas story as Mom or Dad reads the account from the Bible. Read it daily so it sticks, and allow the children to play with the nativity set as often as they like.
Have a brainstorming meeting to discuss how your family can help those in need this Christmas. Perhaps you can be a "Secret Santa" of sorts to a struggling neighbor. Or spend some time with your tweens and teenagers, volunteering in a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen. Maybe you all could visit residents at a local nursing home. Our family has found that nursing home residents love it when our children, ages 6 to 16, visit.