As Christians, we know Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season. Yet it can be easy to lose sight of that fact when we’re bogged down with the usual tasks this season brings. There’s nothing wrong with shopping, baking, and addressing Christmas cards. Those activities can bring joy to our families and others. But when those tasks start to take center stage in our Christmas preparations, it’s time to recalibrate.
Here are some simple ways to keep Jesus at the center of your family’s Christmas celebrations this year.
1. Pray! Make good use of all those Christmas cards you’re getting in the mail by praying for each of the families who send you good cheer. Pray together at dinner time that God would bless their health and bring them prosperity in the coming year.
2. Not just to the people on your shopping list, but how about identifying a family in your school or church who needs some extra care this holiday season. Make a plan to deliver a meal, a gift card or other blessings.
3. There are lots of ways to keep your heart focused on Jesus even as you go about your Christmas preparations. Play worship music or Christ-centered Christmas songs as you wrap gifts and bake cookies. Go for a drive to admire the beauty of snow or the sunset; thank God for His creation. And for every gift you receive, thank not just the giver but God, too, because He is the giver of all good things.
4. Focus on Scripture. As a family, read the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:1–20. Challenge older kids to memorize Mary’s Song, Luke 1:46–55. Choose a Friday night to pop popcorn and watch a nativity film together to reinforce the truth of Scripture.
5. Play with your décor. Set up a nativity scene and place the wise men across the room. Leave Jesus out of the display for now; wrap him in a gift box and place him under the tree. Each day, move the wise men closer to the scene. On Christmas morning, have the kids open the Jesus figure and set him in his rightful place within the manger. This is a reminder that Jesus is our greatest gift!
6. Call it what it is. Rather than referring to the holiday only as “Christmas,” try calling it “Jesus’ birthday.” Create a chain of paper rings to count down toward the big day, and each morning ask the kids, “How many days until Jesus’ birthday?”
7. Let them eat cake! Every birthday needs a birthday party—with cake and ice cream! Bake (or buy) a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” cake and let the kids eat it for breakfast on Christmas morning. They just might look forward to that as much as the presents. And that would be a victory for Jesus indeed!