When I read the review of the new book Putting God Back In The Holidays here on Everyday Christianity, it inspired me to put together a quick guide for any parents looking to teach or even remind their child of the true meaning of this special time of year.
Christmas time is a fast-paced time of the year when everyone seems concerned about what gifts to ask for, what they will receive and what foods to eat. Sometimes the true meaning of Christmas gets lost in all this hoopla. If you want to put this commercialization and shallowness aside to help your child understand the true meaning of Christmas, there are many ways to do this. Here are four suggestions.1. Buy a Nativity scene.
A variety of Nativity scenes are available this time of year. Find one that best resembles the manger with real-life decorations including a removable manger, angel, and figurines. For instance, choose the manger that has hay on the roof and manger floor. Mangers made of wood appear realistic. Choose Wise Men who have distinctive characteristics, since each man was different from the others in real-life. There are many books available about the Wise Men and Jesus in the Manger. Buy one of these books. Set aside some time to read this book with your child while discussing the manger. Someone studied the Bible will be able to tell the difference between the Wise Men and the history behind Baby Jesus. These knowledgeable people can help you arrange the Wise Men according to Bible Studies. You may want to check around your local church and find these people who love to share the information. Since presents are an important time of this season, give a manager as a gift. Have your child open it and share in the enjoyment of setting it up.
2. Attend a Christmas Eve church service
There is something exciting about attending Christmas Eve services. It is out of the ordinary, something every child loves. This gives you a perfect time to share the true meaning of Christmas with your child. Getting dressed up, singing spiritual tunes and being around adults can inspire children to learn more about this time of year.
3. Listen to Christmas Carols.
And, I don’t mean the ones piped in over your store’s loudspeakers. Take some time to have a family get-together where you can listen to the soothing tunes that involve the true meaning of Christmas. Tunes such as “Oh Holy Night”, “Little Town of Bethlehem”, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “Silent Night” are perfect examples. These spiritual compositions are not only pleasing to listen to but, when combined with some Bible story about the birth of Christ, they can inspire your child to better understand the true meaning of Christmas. These tunes have slow, melodic rhythms that may easily bore children so be sure to start singing along in a soothing way to encourage participation. When you seem content and joyful, your child will likely emulate your actions.
4. Get involved in charity work
Charity is the cornerstone of the true meaning of Christmas. Kids like to have fun with balloons, so have a family get-together and blow up some balloons. While blowing up the balloons, talk with our kids about how much fun listening to grandma’s stories are. Everyone loves a good story. Build some excitement by telling your kids that there are many grandma and grandpas who may not have a family to celebrate Christmas with anymore and who would love having balloons delivered to them. Then, schedule a visit to your local senior center or retirement community. Have your kids give the balloons to the seniors and share some stories. Everyone will benefit.
With so many ways to help your child learn about the true meaning of Christmas, purchasing a book about putting God back into the holidays may be a good idea to spur the creative juices. One in particular is easy-to-understand and quite useful.
Contributed by Claire Hodge, a mom of two and writer for AuPair.org.
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