Leveraging the season with your family

Christmas is one of the two biggest opportunities we have during the year as parents and grandparents to use the natural settings of life to make a lasting, eternal impact on our families. We can truly exert spiritual leadership, and be the catalyst for growth in all age levels of the family.

There are many activity opportunities during the season. But activity alone won’t do it. The key is to slow down, take the time to reflect, and actually work to have conversations. You will have multiple opportunities during the next days to re-enforce what Christmas is really all about. You will have repeated situations to move from a simple fun time to a fun AND impacting experience.You can help them understand who Jesus is and what He did for us, and why it is so vital.

Paul told us,“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Ephesians 5:15-16). There is rarely a time with as many opportunities as Christmas.

Let me share a few personal ideas with you, and I am sure you’ll get into the spirit. You will find many ways to celebrate and lift up Jesus in your own family traditions.

  • When you get Christmas cards, reserve a special time each day or two to read the cards, discuss the message and wishes on them, and then pray for the people who sent them.
  • If you send Christmas cards, let the family participate in the sending, and make sure you carefully choose a Christ-centered message. Be sure you talk about why.
  • Drive around for an evening and see the Christmas lights in your community. Count how many places have displays about Jesus. Discuss why you think people chose specific displays.
  • If you have indoor or outdoor displays, make sure they point to Jesus in some way, and talk about why you have chosen what you did. Let the children help in the decorating.
  • Select someone or a family to help during the holidays. Talk about the reasons for gift-giving at Christmas.
  • Do something small for your mailman, the children’s teachers, or others who serve you. Make the message an appropriate, non-pushy message of Jesus. Again, get the young ones to participate.
  • Take in a Christmas movie. This year’s THE STAR is filled with humor, great music, and a deep message for all ages. Plan a fun dinner time afterward and have a conversation about your favorite characters and why they are favorites.
  • Watch some of the Christmas concerts and movies available for free on TV at home. Pop popcorn, make hot chocolate, and interject your brief thoughts as the movies/concerts go along.
  • Have a Christmas tradition surrounding the telling of the Christmas story—perhaps having the youngest reader in the family (or the oldest) read Luke 2 every Christmas Eve or morning.
  • Be sure to prioritize one or two of the church activities available.
  • Give everyone in the family a chance to share their salvation story, the day that Christmas really mattered for them.
  • Look at scrapbooks together or old videos and make them a time of thanksgiving.
  • Do a “birthday gift for Jesus” as a family—perhaps a missions gift, something your church needs, or something for a needy person.

I am sure you can think of several other opportunities that might work for your family. But remember—the key is more the conversation that surrounds the activity than the activity itself.

Don’t get caught up in the artificial pressure of the holidays. Be more concerned about the HOLY this season than the hype. As the song says—FALL ON YOUR KNEES AND WORSHIP THE KING, don’t fall into more debt. Don’t lose the season in worry about things being perfect. Focus on the WONDER that the King of kings came because He loves us—and it changed everything.

Talk about it when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:7


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