Will your Children and Grandchildren Have a Meaningful Christmas?
It’s no secret that many Christmas celebrations today have lost their focus on the Gift that makes all the difference. Month-long messages promoting materialism and commercialism invite us to join in to celebrate “the season”. And after December 25? Yes…sales!
If you are raising children or have influence in the lives of your grandchildren, consider making this the year to be intentional about focusing your celebration on Christ at Christmas.
Here are a few ways to keep the emphasis on the presence of our Savior rather than the presents.
1. Read the Luke 2 Christmas narrative together. Take turns reading and discussing the very first Christmas and why we celebrate. Create a new family tradition by doing this on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. For young children, read books that tell the story. Lutheran Hour Ministries offers a free download of The Christmas Journey told in rhyme for young children at lhm.org/kids. You could even create make-shift costumes and act out the very first Christmas.
2. Display and look at Nativity scenes. Inside, out in the yard or both, setting up the characters of the nativity set with children provides an opportunity for conversation about each character and their unique part in the historic reality of Jesus’ birth. Waiting until Christmas eve to place the baby Jesus in the manger will demonstrate and help children understand the “waiting” of Advent. Conversation and prayers can focus on a celebration of Jesus’ first coming while at the same time we look forward in eager anticipation to His coming again.
Nativity scenes also provides a witness to the neighborhood. Encourage the children in your family to use the characters to tell the story to all who visit your home. And please bring your family to see over 200 unique nativity sets displayed throughout 3 floors of the historic Lutheran orphanage at Lutheran Family Service’s Christmas Open House. No ticket or RSVP needed for this free event; just come to the LFS Ministry Center located at 230 9th Avenue in Fort Dodge on Sunday, December 8 from 2 to 4 pm.
3. Sing and discuss Christmas carols. Many of the original Christmas carols retell the story of Christ’s birth. Invite the older children in your family to research the origins of familiar hymns and their lyrics. What are three French hens, five golden rings, and 8 maids-a-milking doing in a Christmas song, anyway? They (and you!) might be surprised at the new depth and meaning this research brings to worship this year.
4. Focus on others; share Christ’s love. Find a volunteer opportunity in which to involve the whole family. Purchase presents for someone in need at a local elder care community or homeless shelter, delivered along with a child’s hand-written note or drawing which shares the Good News of Christ’s love for all people.
Individuals, couples, and families in need at Christmas time and throughout year are supported by Lutheran Family Service through Christ-centered ministries of counseling, adoption services, pregnancy support, and educational outreach.
If you would like more information about Lutheran Family Service or could help support our ministries, please visit lutheranfamilyservice.org; text PLEDGE to (515) 212-7585 to create a monthly, quarterly or annual pledge or text GIVE to (515) 212-7585 to receive a link to complete your one-time donation.
May you and your family have a meaningful Christmas this year, and may our Father, who sent His Son to redeem us and secure our future with Him, and sends His Spirit to assure us of His great love, be your source of joy and peace both now and throughout the New Year!
Brittany Skinner – Ministry Support Assistant for Lutheran Family Service