You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth (Luke 1:14)
When we think about Christmas, what images come to mind? The season of Christmas has, in a lot of ways, become commercialized- especially for children- to produce thoughts of Santa, presents, trees, snowmen, etc. Most family traditions are embedded in gift exchanges, photo-taking, and tree decorating.
Instead of thinking about putting cookies out for Santa, let us remember a young couple desperate to find a safe space to bring a child into this world. No bed to give birth on, merely a pile of hay. They did not have candy canes and the glitz and glamor of Christmas, but they did have the ultimate gift – the blessings and love of God.
Sometimes we can all get too wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the season. Traditions and celebrations start to feel more like a checklist than a time of reflection, peace, and love. As we spend this season of Advent together, take the time to soak in the meaning behind your activities. Revel in the love shared between parent and child as you bake cookies together. Turn off cell phones and nestle in to watch a feel-good Christmas movie that inspires joy. Walk around your neighborhood and soak in the beauty of the twinkling lights and allow time for a peaceful moment.
This is what Christmas is truly about. Let us show others how giving is more fulfilling than receiving. Spend time as a family discussing the differences between needs and wants, and how for many families, gifts from “Santa” are not high-end electronics or the latest toys on the market.
This Christmas help share the spirit of the season when years ago a struggling mother brought into this world the Son of God – the Savior of Mankind. Though they had so little, they rejoiced in the arrival of this precious gift from God.
For families building new, and celebrating passed-down, Christmas traditions
Dear God, in this season of Advent, help us to reflect on all that we have. Help us not invest too much time and attention on other things, and instead, be filled with the hope, love, peace, and joy that you provide.
Count Down the 12 Days of Christmas: in the days leading up to Christmas, find ways as a family to spread holiday cheer. Complete random acts of kindness for family, neighbors, or friends. This could be something like writing inspiring messages in chalk on a neighbors’ driveway or inviting family to a Zoom call in which your family sings carols for others.
Create a Needs Vs. Wants List: As you write your letters to send off to Santa in the North Pole, discuss what the difference between a need and want are. Make a list that includes things your family needs.