One of the reasons we celebrate Christmas in our family is that it gives us a specific time in our yearly calendar to focus on what God has done for us. When our children were young, we used this season to focus our family Bible study and Devotion times on the themes of Christmas. We studied things like:
- The Names of Jesus
- The Jesse Tree
- Symbols of Christmas
With these studies the kids grew in their understanding of the foundations of our faith. We also had specific opportunities to live out our faith in our community. Though society is becoming less aware that Christmas is about Jesus Christ, there is still opportunities to make the world know that this is the reason why we celebrate.
Finding a Christ Centered Study at Christmas time
Four guiding principles to help you find the right study to guide your family through this year:
1-Be intentional: To be intentional means you know what you want to achieve, and how you are going to do it. So make time to make a decision as to what heart (belief or value) issue your family needs to focus on, what material you will use to direct your instruction and when in your day you intend to do a family devotion or Bible study.
2-Stay heart focused: We need to remember that anything we do is about preparing our hearts – not our head full of knowledge. Find a study that gives your children the opportunity to love God more.
3-Be family focused: Make sure your choice of study fits your family – don’t make it a complex study if you have little ones. As our family grew older we were able to dig deeper, talk more, write more. When we had little ones it was more about reading a story, talking and maybe drawing a picture or doing a craft.
4-Be realistic: Don’t try to do it all! Lighting a candle, once a week may be more achievable to your family this year, than creating a Jesse Tree Lapbook. It isn’t about what your kids create, or what lessons you can tick off as done – what is important is the connection you help your children make with the truths of God’s word.
These days, you’ll find plenty of resources for free and to buy – start looking using key word searches for – Advent, Nativity, Jesse Tree, Names of Jesus, Christian Christmas. (I’d love to see what you find – leave a comment at the end)
Read Picture Books
I have a delightful collection of picture books that retell the story of Christmas from different perspectives. Some are very imaginative and some give background stories, and some are simply told so young children can understand. I love picture books! The thing I find about picture books is that the youngest child in the family can understand the story – and yet, the oldest in the family can be prompted to think deeper about something that they may have otherwise taken for granted. Read some more about my Christmas book list.
And, no, I’m not talking about Hallmark Christmas movies – but rather movies that inspire us to think about the true meaning of Christmas. The thing about a good story is that it provokes conversation afterwards – some of my fondest memories are talking about the principles or life concepts that were hidden (or overt) in a movie. Read more about some of our favourite Christmas movies.
Christmas music gives us one of the easiest opportunities to talk to our kids about Jesus at Christmas time. Driving in the car, singing in church or just listening at home – the words to our Christmas music can be a great point of discussion. Read more about how you can use Christmas music to reach your child’s heart this year.
The things we do in our family create significant heart lessons for our kids. The ideas of giving and sharing – whether that is done through volunteering, hospitality or other initiatives – when we teach our children that Christmas is not about the presents under the tree – we have to create concrete examples of what it is about to counter-balance the influence of media all around us.
It’s an All-Year Thing
The hard truth is that if you only do family Bible study or devotions at Christmas, if you only talk about God-stuff as you start to think about Christmas – and not all year round – you have already lost so much ground in reaching your child’s heart. The number one reason young adults give us for walking away from the faith that their parents raised them to have – is the inconsistencies in their parents faith between what they said and what they did. Don’t take on the idea of a family Bible study at Christmas time if it is not a part of your family habits throughout the year. Don’t start talking about truth themes in movies or music if you don’t do that already. Or at least, be committed to starting a new way of doing things – every day of the year.
Truly the message of Christmas is a year long thing. We cannot afford to miss the opportunity that celebrating Christmas gives us to reach our child’s heart – but neither can we ignore the rest of the year to do the same.
Over to you:
Do you have some really good resources that you have used to help focus on Jesus at Christmas time? Please share them in the comments.