How to Focus on Jesus this Christmas
Are you looking for ideas to celebrate Jesus’ birthday with your kids? These ideas allow you to focus on Jesus this Christmas and not center around the glitz and glamor of the holiday. Let’s all be putting Jesus first at Christmas!
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This has been the most fun Christmas season I think I’ve ever had. As my boys are getting older and Caleb is really understanding what’s going on, it’s been amazing to witness the magic of the season through my son’s eyes. While I’ve been all about doing the fun holiday stuff, I’ve also been processing how to keep the focus on Jesus this Christmas. I love doing the winter crafts, riding the Polar Express, and even visiting with Santa but I have also been brainstorming ideas to celebrate Jesus’ birthday with my boys.
While I know our ideas for putting Jesus first at Christmas will change as my boys get older and understand different things, I also know that starting these traditions now and encouraging the emphasis on the true meaning of Christmas is absolutely important!
How to Focus on Jesus this Christmas
I’m a huge fan of advent calendars of all kinds. I love ones with chocolate, toys, figurines or chocolate. (Yes, I know I said chocolate twice… lay off, I’m pregnant!) I think often, though, advent calendars are missing their purpose. You see, the meaning of advent is “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” Sure, you could be saying we’re counting down to the advent of Christmas, but I believe we’re counting down to remind us of the advent of Christ in the past as a baby and reminding ourselves of his coming advent in the future.
Since that’s the case, I want our daily advent activity to have something to do with Christ and have found some awesome devotionals that do just that. This year we’re going through The Littlest Watchman Advent Devotional with Caleb and I’m already planning on getting The Christmas Promise Advent Devotional for next year. The Littlest Watchman Advent Devotional focuses on the Jesse Tree and talks through the Old Testament promises God made to His people and how the fulfillment is in Jesus. Last year, before the boys were old enough to do a devotional with us, Nate and I went through Paul Tripp’s Devotional – Come, Let Us Adore Him – and I would highly recommend that one!
We are all about reading in my house so Christmas books are a must! Someday, when we have enough books, my goal is to wrap them all up and open one a day… but I need to add to my collection before that happens! It’s not surprising that a huge portion of our Christmas books are ones that focus on the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus. We spend so much time reading through those books, reading the Christmas story in their Children’s Bibles, and talking about what we’re reading and I love it! I even compiled a list of our favorite Christmas books about the true meaning of Christmas, if you’re interested!
One of my fond memories of Christmas growing up is a nativity set we always kept on our coffee table. It was a precious set my parents had purchased in Italy and sturdy enough that we kids were allowed to play with it. I spent hours sitting on the floor in the living room, acting out the Christmas story with those characters.
While I have yet to find the perfect Italian nativity set for my boys to play with, they do love playing with the Fisher-Price Little People set. Caleb is currently obsessed with good guys and bad guys and has fixated on the part of the Christmas story where the Wisemen go see the bad king (King Herod) and the angel tells them not to tell him where baby Jesus is. Over and over I see him acting that part of the story out with these little toys and I love seeing how much the story is becoming just a part of his everyday life and his truth about the reason for Christmas.
Kids learn best by doing things and one way to teach them to focus on Jesus this Christmas is by encouraging them to take part in your church’s Christmas program. They’re bound to learn songs, act out the nativity story, and teach others about the birth of Christ. This year was the first year Caleb got to be a part of the program at church and it was such a blessing. He loves preforming and the weeks and days leading up to the program he’d be waltzing around the house singing songs that speak the truth about the season. He was constantly reminding me to be putting Jesus first at Christmas! Bonus – Kids are super cute on stage!
Over the past year and a half we’ve been so fortunate to have the opportunity to get to know some of our neighbors and welcoming them into our home. We always want our boys to understand what it means to live in community and be a good neighbor so we make sure to spend a day during the Christmas season baking cookies and delivering them to the people who live near us. I’ll be honest, it’s a little crazy to try to bake with a toddler and preschooler but I know that allowing them to help is necessary. I am letting them tangibly do things for others and that needs to start young. Caleb and I talked about our neighbors while we were baking the cookies and he knew that we were doing it to show them the love of Jesus. We even decided to include an invitation to come watch Caleb in his church Christmas program and two of our neighbors showed up for it!
Jesus-Centered Christmas Songs
I live in a very musical household. My husband is the worship pastor at our church (I like to say that he’s a professional musician because it makes him sound cooler than he really is) and the boys and I sing pretty much all day every day. There’s always music going in our home and we wouldn’t have it any other way. While Christmas songs like Frosty the Snowman, Jiggle Bells, and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus are fun, we try to make sure we are listening to Jesus-centered Christmas songs as often, if not more often than those. It’s absolutely precious to hear Caleb belting out “Hark, the herald angels sing ‘Glory to the Newborn King'” as we go about our day.
Giving, Not Receiving
Since Jesus is the greatest gift we’ll ever receive, we want to do our best to emphasize giving, not receiving with our boys. I shared on Instagram stories a while ago that, since Josiah is still young this year, the majority of his Christmas presents are going to be Caleb’s old toys that he no longer plays with. It’s been fun going through Caleb’s toys with him and talking about the things Josiah likes and whether it would be ok for them to become Josiah’s toys instead of his. Caleb has been so on board with the idea and has even offered up toys that I hadn’t thought of. Sure, part of it may be that he knows he’ll still be able to play with them even if they belong to Josiah now, but another part of it is that he adores his little brother and has such a giving spirit.
Christmas Morning Traditions
While it’s great to be focusing on Jesus during the whole Christmas season, I think it’s doubly important to be focusing on him on Christmas morning. Make sure the day isn’t centered around simply opening gifts and eating a yummy breakfast. Read the Christmas story out of the Bible, go to church if there’s a service happening, invite people without family into your home… The list of things to do can go on and on so pick a tradition this year and get at it!
What do you do to put Jesus first at Christmas?
Do you have any other ideas to celebrate Jesus’ birthday?
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