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Tips For Turning Your Family’s Focus To Christ This Christmas

The Christmas season is upon us, and we all desire that our children will be able to see past the world’s version of Christmas to the deeper meaning of this sacred holiday. The demands of decorations, shopping, parties, and plays can push Christ out of Christmas. Parents and children’s ministry leaders must fight to keep families pointed to the celebration of the Father’s greatest gift—Jesus! There are so many great resources out there, with so many ideas for how to celebrate the Advent of the God-man, but we hope we can provide you with a just a couple of our tips to help your family turn its focus back to Christ this Christmas season.

1. Get a manger with hay.

A physical manger, with hay, is a powerful, visual reminder of why we are celebrating Christmas. This can be a small manger that is displayed in a prominent location in the home, or a large, full-size manger in the corner of the living room. Your family’s manger can cultivate conversations about the reason we celebrate Christmas, help create memories and traditions as you get it out each year, and serve as a real-life example as the story of Jesus’ birth is read to children from the gospels. The humility of the manger will permeate your family’s Christmas, calling young and old to reverence of the God who would choose to leave heaven to be laid within it. Also, children get excited with the anticipation of waiting on the “baby Jesus” to show up in the manger on Christmas morning. You can even keep the hay out of the manger and allow children to earn pieces of hay to lay in the manger throughout the month, based on their acts of humility, obedience, service, or kindness, preparing for the arrival of “baby Jesus” on Christmas morning, and ultimately, preparing their lives for His arrival when He returns again.

2. Create your own family Advent traditions.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, your family can choose a special day each week to spend a few minutes creating family memories and traditions that will last a lifetime. Continue and build on these Advent traditions each year. For example, buy or make an Advent wreath for your home, and put four candles in it. On each of the four Sundays before Christmas, call your family together for an Advent celebration. It doesn’t have to be long–even a few minutes can refocus the family and connect the hearts of parents and children. Light a different candle each week (this will absolutely fascinate children), and spend some time in worship or sing a Christmas carol. Then have a parent read and explain a Scripture or two about Jesus that is relevant to the season–who He is, why He came, how He was born. For very young children, use physical objects to help them understand the concepts, e.g. a flashlight can be used to help explain Jesus is the light that came into the darkness. After the Scripture reading, blow out the candle or help a child blow it out, which is another highlight of this celebration for children! Then act out what you just learned. For our flashlight example, give each child a flashlight, go into a dark room, and allow the children to shine the light around in the darkness. Put on house robes and pretend to be shepherds with your children as you learn about the shepherds at Jesus’ birth and how Jesus is the Lord our Shepherd. On Christmas morning, light all four candles of your Advent wreath, and celebrate the arrival of Jesus into the world! Some families even prepare a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas day and sing Him “Happy Birthday!” With just a few minutes of preparation, and materials you already have around the house, Advent can be fun, Christ-focused, and a family time children will look forward to celebrating year after year.

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