Bringing Jesus into Christmas
Morning Moms Group has challenged me in so many ways, but I will never forget the time that I was encouraged to examine whether Jesus was at the center of my Christmas traditions or not.
Now, this might seem like an obvious thing for a Christian to do. (I mean, Christmas does have the word CHRIST in it.) But because I hadn't grown up with Jesus at the center of anything, I had never really thought about whether my traditions reflected him or not ... until that Wednesday morning.
And there I sat -- my awareness of his absence brewing like a storm cloud -- and all I could do was feel surprised and smile between gritted teeth. I just felt so embarrassed, ashamed, and mad at myself! How could I have never thought of this before?? I mean, I loved Jesus and wanted my kids to know him too, but I still hadn't brought him into Christmas - gah!
Obviously my reaction had a lot to do with needing some spiritual maturity, but it also had to do with that fact that change can be hard, right? And because I didn't have a solid group of Christian friends around me, I just left that Wednesday morning feeling confused and defeated.
That defeat turned into annoyance, and that annoyance turned into contempt, until finally I had justified my decision NOT to do anything because "my kids wouldn't get it anyway." The end.
Only the holy spirit has a way of lovingly encouraging us in spite of ourselves, right? And because I really DID what to change, and because I really DID want my kids to know why Christmas was so special, I started listening to the holy spirit's promptings.
He told me to keep going to mom's group (even though I didn't always want to), and he told me to start going to church more. So I did! One small change often leads to another, which was why that following year at Christmas I found myself in a completely different place spiritually.
That year at mom's group I no longer felt overwhelmed by everyone's "Jesus-traditions"; I felt inspired by them! I sat there and took notes, and then went home and did some of my own Pinterest research. What resulted was a FUN Advent tradition that my kids talk about all year long, which is why I wanted to share it with you today!
Here's what you need:
1. Get an Advent tree to help you count down the days to Christmas. Or don't. Seriously, the point is to have fun while teaching your kids about Jesus, so if buying one more thing makes your heart palpate, then just skip along to number 2.
2. Download my Advent Cards! You can customize these before you print them in order to cater the activities to meet your family's preferences. And why might you want to edit beforehand?? Because while I think shaving cream Santa beards is the best time ever, I fully realize not everyone will (although I can't imagine why...IT'S JUST SO FUN!!!).
3. Then buy the "extra" materials you will need before Advent starts. For my Advent activities, you will need:
- card stock paper
- candy canes
- hot cocoa
- egg nog
- gingerbread house
- SHAVING CREAM!!!
4. Start your Advent Calendar on December 1st and do a card each night at dinnertime. We start ours by lighting a candle to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world, and then we read the corresponding scripture verse and discuss the question. After dinner, we do the FUN activity together. It's as simple as that!
And remember, this is NOT supposed to stress you out. So if reading this makes your armpits sweat, just take a deep breath, step away from the screen, and ask God what HE would have you do for Christmas this year. Maybe it's only seven days of Advent; maybe it's something entirely different. But whatever it is, make sure Jesus is a part of it. He loves you and wants to be included in everything you do, even traditions at CHRISTmas time.
Jonna Meidal is a mother to 3 girls who seeks to parent them by the fruits of the spirit (and her Quiet Hat). She's been to 20 countries (yay!), loves to write & laugh (a LOT), & can’t get through the day without eating popcorn (duh!). You can read more of what she’s been up to at jonnameidal.com or follow her adventures on Instagram @quiet.hat.adventures.