I say it simply, they know that Jesus is the true reason for Christmas. I have had a motto for many years, "If all we put into their little hearts & minds is JESUS, then He is all that will come out!" Here are some things we do:
- We GO to church. We do not go out of habit or obligation, we go because we want to worship corporately every chance we get. Our children have all attended Sunday school since they were very young. I was the Mom bringing my baby to church at 9 days old, 4 days old, two weeks old... As soon as I was able to get myself dressed by church time, we were there.
- Since our children were all very young, we have had nightly devotion time as a family. Sometimes, this has been a simple prayer together after a long day. More recently, we actually read from a children's devotional book. The children often read it then Daddy leads in prayer. We usually sing a song also. There is no strict format to follow here, we just make it a priority. If we forget, or overlook it, the children will remind us that we haven't had our devotion yet. It is simply a part of our daily routine.
- We are quick to find teachable moments with our children. We let them know why we do what we do. We do have a reason for our actions and when they are old enough to understand, we tell them.
- Jesus is a priority in our home. We have taught our children that not everyone lives for Jesus the way we do and that is their choice. This is America and we are free to live as we wish. For our family, we choose to live for Jesus. We want everyone we come in contact with to see Jesus in everything we say and do.
WeI fail often, then, ask for mercy and do better next time.
- Jesus is always on our lips. I make a conscious effort to make sure the children hear me talk to Jesus out loud. I ask Him to help me find something I've misplaced, give Him praise, etc...
So, we feel like adding in a little bit of the fun things is okay for our family. We do not participate in every activity, just the ones we feel we can explain and keep Jesus the focus.
- We have always taken our children to sit on Santa's lap. We don't make a big deal of it, but we do let them tell him a few things they would like to have for Christmas and take a picture. Several years ago, we found this one Santa in our area who is a Christian. There was no one in line behind us so he talked to us awhile after the children told them their wishes. He remembers us year after year...such a blessing. We have told our children stories about Saint Nicholas who blessed less than fortunate families with gifts.
- About three years ago, some of our best friends mailed us the Elf on a Shelf. We read the book, named our Elf, and added more fun into the mix. We named our Elf Jesse Joy; we call him JJ. Jesse comes from Isaiah 11:1 "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." It is also my great-Grandpa's name. And, we could all use an extra dose of Joy anytime! On another note, JJ is not mischievous at our house. He simply moves from one place to another all over our home.
- We love to ride through our city and look at Christmas lights. We always are in awe of the beauty of lights shining bright against the night sky. We take this opportunity to remind the children that Jesus is the Light of the World and we should also shine His light in a dark and dying world.
In my opinion, it all boils down to this simple fact. If you teach your children about Jesus from birth and always find a way to see Him in everything around you, they will not stray too far away from Him.
This is just a small portion of what our family does for Christmas. We make Jesus the focus and make sure childhood is fun.
Now get busy making your own memories!!!