I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to Christmas, my family can get swept up in the present-buying, consumer chaos, and mayhem of the holidays. If we aren’t careful, we miss the miracle of what we are truly celebrating. Chances are, you have felt that tension too.
As parents, how do we help our kids keep Christ at the center of Christmas? How do we leverage everyday moments in December to anchor our hearts in the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season?
Here are a few practical tips on how to talk to your kids about Christmas.
Embrace the mystery.
Where exactly did the wise men travel from? How do angels speak? What does a heavenly host sound like? Why was Jesus born in a stable? How exactly did Mary become pregnant? There are a lot of details of Christ’s arrival that are difficult to grasp as a kid. And that’s okay.
The Bible isn’t a science book with every formula and detail outlined, it’s the perfect unfolding story of God’s redemptive plan for humanity–and it’s miraculous! Jesus, the son of God, fully man and fully God, was sent on mission to redeem and save. This was God’s plan from the beginning.
Kids will naturally have a lot of questions and it’s okay if you don’t know all the answers. Embrace the mystery of God’s divine and perfect plan and go on a journey of learning together. Let the mystery of God and the truth of Christmas lead to awe, wonder, and ultimately worship.
Tell the whole Gospel story.
Often we want to leave Jesus as a baby in the manger, but He is the risen King seated in heaven. Explain to your kids that Christ came as a baby but He grew to give His life on the cross for our salvation. Help your kids see the whole Gospel story from the manger to the cross to the empty tomb:
- Those baby hands grew to bear scars where nails held Him to the cross.
- His infant cries would become the Word of Life.
- His baby brow would one day wear a crown of thorns.
- His tiny feet and ten perfect toes would grow to carry Him on mission and past a stone-sealed tomb.
- The manger is empty and so is the grave. Jesus came to die so that we might live.
We must remember and celebrate the whole Gospel story at Christmas and every day.
Tell the story often.
Don’t save the story of Jesus for Christmas Eve. Instead, talk about the meaning of Christmas all month long and talk about it often. Repetition is often the best teacher for our children, and us.
Read the nativity account together (Luke 2 is a great place to start) many times throughout December around the table or listen to the bible app in the car. Encourage your kids to ask questions. Create space for them to imagine the scenes and retell the story back to you.
Visuals are also a great tool, so place a few kid-friendly nativity scenes around the house and encourage your kids to interact with them.
Reimagine your traditions.
Is Santa real? Why do we give presents? What’s all this singing about? Sometimes we do things out of habit. So as a family, discuss why you do what you do during the holiday and evaluate what helps you lean into Jesus and maintain a heart posture of gratitude and awe for what God has done.
Remember Mom and Dad, you get to define your family culture. Maybe it’s time to set aside old traditions or create some new ones. Here are some great tools and resources:
- Read Waiting Here for You by Pastor Louie as a family.
- She Reads Truth Advent conversation cards.
- Use an advent wreath or calendar to remind you what the purpose of Christmas is: Jesus.
- Look for ways to serve together as a family during school break.
- Use what you have. Let everyday Christmas decor help teach scripture and the true meaning of the season. For example:
- Christmas lights can remind us that Jesus is the light of the world. (John 8:12 I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.)
- Wreaths hung remind us of the crown of thorns that our savior would one day wear.
- As we share gifts we remember Jesus is the greatest gift of all and in Him, we have been given everything we need. (James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” and John 3:16 “For God so loved the world he gave his one and only son…”)
- Snow reminds us that through Jesus our sins have been washed white as snow. Psalm 51:7 MSG Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Make it your mission to amplify the glory of Christ in Christmas this holiday. Make talking about Jesus and the things of God part of your family’s rhythm, not just during Christmas but in every season.
He is worthy of all our worship.