When my children were young I put emphasis on making sure we did age appropriate activities for Christmas that were overtly Christian. The ones that are popular today may be a little different than what we did but the desire of moms and dads are the same. Parents want to make sure that Christ is lifted high before their children.
I remember having Birthday parties for Jesus. I remember purchasing every video and music cassette that had a story and message about the real meaning of Christmas. The year that The Nativity Story was released we took our children to see it at the theater. We read books about every aspect of the Christmas Story. There were books about the legend of the Candy Cane, The Three Trees and The Christmas Tree. We packed Operation Christmas Tree Shoeboxes when our church and school began participating. Our children were in Christmas programs where they learned Christmas carols and songs. There were plenty of other things we did as a family to make sure our children understood the "reason for the season."
Looking back at all of those Christmas seasons I have to ask myself, Would I do it this way again? The answer is of course! Do I believe that those times were what makes Christmas meaningful for my children as adults. What an interesting question to ponder. I have an ambivalent answer: yes and no. I don't believe that all those activities really made that big of a difference but they were a part of a 365 day year around type of lifestyle. We did the same thing at Easter. We went to church and Sunday school every week. We went to family camp every summer at a Christian Conference Center. We were involved with small groups, a bible memory ministry at church called Awana. When I served in the nursery my kids went with me. We took unchurched friends to youth group.
All of those special things made a difference because they weren't just in December. They were part of a lifestyle. You may say, "Ruth, you are a pastor's family. That's what people like you do." I admit that there is a greater likelihood of that in my husband's occupation. But if it's not genuine, children see right through it. There are a lot of grown pastor's kids (PK) that can attest to that.
So, what am I saying? Be genuine and live the Christian Life the best you know how in front of your children every single day of the year. They will catch a lot more about the real meaning of Christmas. Go ahead and do lots of special things to remember the real meaning of Christmas. Keep it going all year long...it will make such a difference in your children's lives!
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