Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas time is here!

For unto us is born this day, in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I love Christmas time! Spending time with family. Kids home from school. Snow forts. Ice skating. Gift giving. Homes decorated. Baked goodies. Gifts for teachers and neighbors. Seeing relatives. Home for Christmas. Caroling. Celebrating Jesus' birthday.

What do you guys do to help your kids (and yourself) understand that this is Jesus' birthday and not theirs? How do you make Jesus more exciting to them than their pile of presents?

Growing up my parents instilled some good traditions in us kids. Mom always made a birthday cake for Jesus and we would sing Happy Birthday to Him. We would go caroling to friends homes and sing and give them a loaf of home made bread. We would come home and read/act out the Christmas story. Then we would exchange gifts, but before you gave your gift to someone, you had to say why they were special.
I didn't get it at the time (sorry mom & dad), but the point was to not just rip into all the presents, but to take some time to point out evidences of God's grace that we saw in each other. I think because I was always focusing on the letdown of how the rehearsed line, "Heidi, you're special because.....," would always end with, "'re my only sister."
And I would think, "Really?"
"That's all you could think of?"
"That's the only reason I'm special year after year?"
Rather than, "Yeah, thank you God for placing me with all these boys and for how that will shape me for Your future plans for my life!" But what kid would be able to think like that? So how do we turn our good intentions of holiday traditions into something that would really impact our kids hearts this Christmas?

What did you do growing up?
What do you do now?
What have you seen other families do?


Lauren :) said...

Oh Heidi i love your blog!
Some of the traditions that our family has are singing at new years (all of the girls), at home my dad would play guitar and we would sing christmas songs, and then he would read the story about the birth of Jesus from the book of Luke. Oh there are so much fun traditions at the Voges house, but it would take too long to list! Don't you just love good christmas traditions?!

Mom Judy said...

What I love about Christmas on the farm is that every nook and cranny is filled with kids playing games and hiding everywhere while the adult kids are playing games, making videos, helping in the kitchen, singing and laughing. Being all together is the best!

summer said...

oh heidi.. the 'you're special because.." story was priceless! i'm going to have to ask grant if he can remember that happening.

growing up at our house, putting out the nativity scene was always the most anticipated part of decorating. mom and dad must've put special emphasis on unwrapping and setting out each character, because us girls just loved it. every year we would try to make the scene just a little bit different.. maybe the sheep would get to be closer to baby Jesus, or perhaps the donkey would get that place of honor, etc. that stable scene is so full of memories for me.

Christina said...

When I was growing up, we would always read the "Christmas story" before opening presents, and we'd talk about Jesus being the most important gift. One year we spent Christmas with my uncle and his family, and they had special symbolism behind the decorations they used (white lights because Jesus is the light of the world, etc.). I've tried to incorporate something similar with our decorations: red ornaments and white snowflakes to remind us that Jesus' blood will wash our hearts white as snow, nativity scenes in different rooms to remind us about why we're celebrating, and so on. However, as much as we're trying to teach our two-year-old the real reason of Christmas, the other day we were talking about singing Christmas songs, and he thought we were going to sing about presents...sigh. I guess it's just something to keep working on year after year. : )