Lights! Trees! Decorations!
Everywhere we look there are reminders of Christmas and it isn’t even December yet.
In the 1950’s my grandfather always dressed up as Santa Claus. I thought Santa was real until my brother told me to look at Santa’s shoes. Those were Grandpa’s shoes! I realized that it was really Grandpa dressed up as Santa and the bubble of fantasy was burst.
When our first child was little we tried to ignore Santa Claus. We wanted to make sure that he knew what Christmas was really about – the birth of Jesus. So, I didn’t tell him that Santa wasn’t real – I just didn’t mention Santa at all. I remember being in a store before Christmas and a sweet elderly lady asking our son if Santa was going to bring him toys at Christmas. He looked at her and answered “No”. She looked horrified! He didn’t know Santa – why should Santa bring him a present?
By the time we had three more children, I didn’t worry about Santa Claus or if people talked to our children about Santa. I realized that making a big deal about Santa Claus one way or another would take the focus off what was really important – celebrating the birth of Jesus, the “King of Kings.” If our family celebrated Christmas as the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, then that would make an impression on our children that would minimize any other influence.
Notice I said CELEBRATE ! There is a common mistake that is often made when we want to avoid what we may think of as a negative influence. We prevent our children from participating in something we don’t want them doing – yet we don’t make the effort to really celebrate positive things that reflect our families’ values.
Create holiday traditions that your children look forward to that also reflect your families’ values and cultural heritage. We made an advent activity chain that allowed our children to remove a link each day in December. Each link had an activity like, “drive around and look at lights” (we would look for the Griswold’s), “make Christmas cookies”, “sing Christmas carols”, etc. Our children looked forward to making the links and then cutting one off each day. Advent activities build excitement and create togetherness around celebrating. The links don’t have to be costly activities but can be things like “read a Christmas story”. Your family traditions will be unique for your family – and that is what celebrating is all about! Simple tasks done together create special celebrations!
Reading Luke 2:1-20 is an excellent way to keep the focus of Christmas on celebrating Jesus. These verses show that God planned a celebration for the birth of His Son – (Luke 2:13-15)
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
The angels and shepherds celebrated over 2000 years ago and we can join in that celebration now. Is there any event more worthy of celebration?