In all the busyness of the Christmas season, it’s easy to let its true meaning slip through the cracks of the rough manger bed. Is it really that important our kids hear the age-old story about Jesus’ birth? Isn’t it a little outdated and boring?
The answer is a resounding, “No!” That dusty old story, handed down through the centuries, loved by millions, is more than just a story to be told to your child. It’s an anchor for his soul. It puts meaning into all the chaos. It whispers in your child’s ear at night that Jesus was born as a baby just like he was. It makes Jesus someone your child can relate to. Your son or daughter can imagine Him as a baby, then as a child growing up. Telling the biblical Christmas story allows the Christ-child to be his Jesus, not just his parents’ or pastor’s.
So how do you get across this all-important story to a child? Here are some ideas for teaching the true meaning of Christmas:
- Purchase a kid-friendly, unbreakable nativity scene. Encourage your child to hold the baby and move the characters around. There is no “right” place for each one to be. Help him to understand this isn’t just another toy. It’s special and should be treated with love and respect, just like the Bible is more special than any other book.
- “Tell” the Christmas story with the nativity scene. Put only Joseph and Mary in the stable at first. On Christmas Eve, let your kids put the baby in the manger. Then let them put out the angel and the shepherds. Wait to put the wise men in the scene until after Christmas since they didn’t likely arrive until later. Or let your children act out the story with the nativity characters as you read it from an easy to understand Bible version or a children’s story book.
- Provide simple costumes and props (bathrobes, scarves, towels, baby doll, stuffed animals) and have your children put on a play of the first Christmas.
- Have your children create their own story books telling the Christmas story using their own words and illustrations.
- Make a birthday cake for Jesus and decorate the house for a birthday party.
- Talk to your children about what gifts they can give Jesus for His birthday, then place them under the Christmas tree. What would make Jesus happy?
- Go outside at night and look at the stars. Talk about how the wise men followed a special star to find Jesus after He was born.
- Hold a shepherd’s dinner. Find out how here: http://lindamcquinncarlblom.blogspot.com/2012/12/how-to-host-christmas-shepherds-dinner.html
Even though Christmas is only days away, keep looking for teachable moments and ways to point your children to Jesus. As the angels told the shepherds that night, “Fear not!” Your kids will get the important message of Jesus’ birth if the message is important to you!
Beautiful article, Linda. You know children and how to help parents teach them the true meaning of Christmas! Thanks!
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Thanks, Betty! Merry Christmas!
Great ideas, Linda! When my children were small we did celebrate with a birthday cake. Wish I’d thought of all those other things as well.
In the 80s I had a Christian friend in a mostly Jewish community. In December, every window had a menorah in the window except hers. She had huge hand-cut construction paper letters that spelled out HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS. She also baked a birthday cake for Jesus.
Wonderful ideas, Linda!