When my kids were little we spent the month of December focusing on Christmas: there were Christmas family devotions, Nativity themed crafts, heart stories to read, gifts to make, people to help, and parties to plan. I believe that there are two aspects to Christmas – the first one is that, as a Christian, it is an opportunity to teach our children about Jesus’ love for us and God’s plan for humanity. It is also a time where we can develop some heart attitudes and habits of giving and loving that hopefully continue throughout the year. The second aspect of Christmas is that it is a cultural celebration – a family fun time.
I don’t ever want the family fun aspect to override the Jesus part but here lies my quandary. As our children have grown older they already know the truths of Jesus, his love for the world, and God’s plan for redemption. They know the wonder of it – not just as a story but as a reality in their life. So how do we celebrate Christmas? How do we keep Jesus as the Reason with an older family?
I started to see this year as a bit of a test for our family traditions – which ones will stand. I was a bit sad actually, because some of them were going to go by the wayside. But then I started thinking differently.
Many of the activities and traditions we have developed in our home were for the purpose of teaching our kids the truth about Jesus and God’s plan. A secondary purpose was to teach and train their heart to be other’s focused – even at Christmas time. And though there is always more to learn about Jesus, when our kids grow older our input starts to look different.
Celebrating Christmas as an Adult
I started to reflect on how do I, as an adult, not as a parent, but simply as Belinda celebrate Christmas. How would I do Christmas if my kids weren’t around?
- What does Christmas mean to me?
- What does Jesus coming as a babe mean to me?
- What traditions help me celebrate the true meaning of Christmas?
- What traditions help my family build memories?
For me as an adult, the focus isn’t so much about learning to believe, but rather doing: living out the love that Christ has shown me, living out the love that Christ has commanded me to show others. Living out my faith.
This makes Christmas really no different than any other time of the year. How do I show Christ’s love at Christmas time and throughout the year?
- Showing love – giving to needs without expecting anything in return
- Being hospitable
- Speaking words of life
- Serving one another
So for me Christmas is a time where things in our culture remind me to stop and live out my faith – but I don’t want to be a Christmas-time Christian
This is how I want my grown children to celebrate Christmas too. There comes a time, that though our knowledge of Christ continues to grow, we must start living out our faith.
We will do other things that encourage our faith (like family devotions, intentional discussions, books or movies), we will help out in the community when and where we can, we will try and be a blessing to our neighbours (whoever we meet along the way). We will bake, and make and give. We will watch a few Christmas themed movies – just for the fun of it. We will decorate the tree as a family, and watch a movie Christmas Eve. We will still have folk over on Christmas night. The time leading up to Christmas will look different than when I had young kids – but whatever we do, we will still be celebrating Christ, his love for us, and our love for each other.
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