Preparing the Heart and Harvest
I wasn’t allowed to believe in Santa growing up, my father didn’t want to ever lie to us or allow Santa more attention than Jesus. Since I wasn’t allowed to believe, I felt I missed out a bit, so I’ll confess my sin right now… I’ve become a deceiver and allowed my kids to believe in the fat intruder. In hindsight, as fun as it can be, it’s also proven to be a big headache. For example, I buy special wrapping paper that only Santa presents get wrapped in, and once I’m done wrapping all the leftovers go in the trash for fear my daughter (the only believer now) will see it and figure it all out.
Over Thanksgiving break, her cousins told her Santa only brings one gift, because that’s what they do in their house…one gift from Santa…the rest from their Mommy and Papa. So, this has become a mess, and I realize now we should have had a parent conference and conferred on the whole how many gifts thing, so we can get our stories straight.
Another problem is explaining the Christmas shoe boxes to my little girl and the Angel tree. After telling her some kids don’t get as much for Christmas, so we are going bless them with some presents, she thought for a minute before stating, “But Momma Santa goes all over the world. He’ll take care of them.”
And let me just add here, parents who move around an elf at night, don’t let your kids tell Bella an elf visits them because I’m just going to have to tell her that your kids are naughty most of the time, so Santa sent an elf to see if they are getting coal or presents.
Stop the madness already!
Even though I don’t have my Daddy’s sense of integrity, I do want my children to realize the reason for the season came wrapped in a manger one night in Bethlehem. I’ve learned to incorporate traditions in our home to instill the true meaning of Christmas, in the hopes some of the following suggestions could help you unwrap Jesus for your children.
- Encourage your daughter to raid the scarves and wraps in your closet and dress up like Mary or your boys dress like the shepherds and wise men and talk about the story as they do. Growing up, my sister and I did this, and my Bella loves to do it as well.
- Keep baby Jesus hidden. In our home, baby Jesus is placed in the manger on Christmas morning. After placing Him in His rightful place, we pray and thank Him for sharing His birthday with us before any presents are handed out.
- Pick a family to bless this Christmas. Each year, we pick a family or several people to give gifts to that probably wouldn’t get as much otherwise. Our children learn Christmas is not just about receiving but giving as well. We emphasize that we are blessed to be a blessing to others.
- On Christmas Eve night read the story of Jesus’ birth in the book of Luke. This has been a tradition of mine since I was a wee one.
- During the month of December light a candle each night of the Advent and read a Christmas devotional. I purchased an advent wreath from Ann Voskamp and her children’s devotional book. (To be honest, she writes beautifully but a little heavy for my brood) You can see the advent wreath at this link: https://joywares.ca/collections/wreaths/products/cradle-to-cross-wreath-cherry.
- Watch a nativity movie. Tired of those Christmas Hallmark movies with the same plot lines yet? There are some great Nativity movies out there, and for your little ones some great cartoons that emphasize the birth of Jesus like, The Star.
- Take your children to see a Nativity play.
The greatest gift we can give our children is Jesus Christ. He is the eternal, everlasting gift, the present that doesn’t break or require batteries to work. I hope we all take the time to find ways to unwrap Him and keep Christ the center of our Christmas.
What about you? What are some ways you unwrap Jesus for your children? I’d love to hear them.