Meaningful Christmas Ideas
Christmas symbolism for kids, gift ideas for siblings, faith discussions for teens
Symbols of Christmas
Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of The Jesus Storybook Bible, encourages parents to allow their children to help decorate for the celebration of Christ's birth.
"I love to involve children in the excitement of Jesus' coming," Sally says. "God's people waited for Him, and in Advent we're waiting, too. We're getting ready for Him; we’re preparing our homes and our hearts for Him."
Consider relating biblical symbolism and stories to items you use while decorating the tree. As you string the lights, you might remind your kids that Jesus is the Light of the World. The star on the top of the tree represents the star that led the wise men to where Jesus was born. Here are a few additional insights to share while decorating together:
Evergreens don't lose their greenery. These trees can be symbolic of something that doesn't end and compared to eternal life.
God sent His choir of angels to proclaim the Good News to the shepherds.
The greatest gift of all is Jesus Christ. God sent His only Son to pay the price for our sins.
— Andrea Gutierrez
Sibling Gift Idea
To teach their daughters about the value of giving gifts, Molly and Brad helped their 9-year-old, Reilly, create a surprise for her younger sister.
Reilly often read books to 7-year-old Calley, sometimes subbing for Mom or Dad at bedtime. So the idea of making an audio book for her story-loving sister seemed perfect. After selecting seven stories from among Calley’s favorites, Reilly read them out loud into a recording device, using different voices for each character.
Christmas morning, she barely contained her excitement as Calley opened the gift and shrieked with delight.
— Cathy Elliott
Q&A With Your Teen
"Who do people say the Son of Man is?" Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:13. Then, more pointedly, He asked, "Who do you say I am?" (16:15). It's a question everyone must answer.
Who do your teenagers say Jesus is? Do they fully comprehend the meaning and significance of the Incarnation? Use the following questions to open a conversation with your teens.
- What do cultural Christmas traditions, such as Christmas carols or gift giving practices, say about who Jesus is? Who do your peers and teachers say Jesus is? Who do you say He is?
Hopefully your teens will answer like Peter did: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Remember that adolescence is a period of owning faith, so allow your teens room to process this spiritual tenet.
- Why is the Incarnation so important? What difference would it make if Jesus were only a great man?
Discuss the concept of God's great love compelling Him to become man and dwell with humanity.
- How can our family experience and represent the truest characteristics of the Incarnation — humility, sacrifice and redemption — during this Christmas season?
Together, look for opportunities to reflect God's love to others.
— Jeremy V. Jones
These first appeared in the November/December, 2009 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2009 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.