3 Easy Ways to Bring More Joy to Your Child's Christmas Season
- Josh and Lindsey Helms ShepherdOnTheSearch.com
- 2016 22 Nov
Have you ever wondered why the most joyful time of year can also be the most stressful? What starts as a celebration can oftentimes lead to bursting budgets, long lines at the post office, and harried moments, stripped of all joy. As parents, we sometimes let all the “planning to celebrate” get in the way of what we are actually supposed to be celebrating; the birth of a Savior! It’s easy to do. More than any other time of the year our attention gets pulled in a million different directions and it is easy to forget to look down at the little ones who are watching us wide-eyed at the thought of Christmas, anticipating nothing more than simple joy.
The pressure is on, after all. Our kids will carry the Christmas memories we make with them forever and hopefully want to pass them onto their kids. So, if this time of year is all about helping our children experience the joy of Christmas, then how can we successfully lose the distractions and gain better focus on what really matters? Like the wise men so many years ago in Bethlehem, I think the answer can be found in 3 gifts.
Gift number 1: Time.
Our time may be the greatest gift we can give our children. Truth be told this is the one thing they desire most from us. Never is this more important than during the holidays. Although the days leading up to Christmas can be chaotic, it is important to take a few uninterrupted minutes each day to play a game, watch a Christmas classic with a big bucket of popcorn or, like at my house, make a huge mess baking cookies. This goes a long way in the eyes of a child. If Jesus could make time for the children like we see in Matthew 19:14, then how much more important is it for us as parents? There is no better way for our kids to catch a glimmer of our own joy than to have it on display while spending quality time with them.
Gift number 2: Generosity
Some of my favorite Christmas memories as a child were delivering presents every year to families less fortunate than ours. So many things we take for granted are desired by children and families, even in our own towns and neighborhoods. I can remember seeing the look on other kids’ faces as the bottom of their tree began to fill up with presents that they thought they wouldn’t be receiving. Looking back now, I understand that my parents had two reasons for this tradition. The first, of course, was to offer whatever help we could to families who might have had a rough year or were going through a difficult time, but also to teach us that Christmas is about giving, not receiving. And when it comes to helping our children experience the joy of Christmas, there may be no better way than to do what we are called to do in Hebrews 13:16, pleasing God by sharing what he has blessed us with.
Gift number 3: Jesus
Never has our calling as Christian parents been as important as it is now. Likely, the only place that our children will be taught the true meaning of the season is in the home. Why do we give presents at Christmas? Why do we sing carols and help those less fortunate? Why do we greet people with “Merry Christmas” when we pass them on the street? There is a one-word answer to all these questions and more—Jesus! In our home we celebrate many different Christmas traditions but at the end of the day if our kids’ attention has not been directed to the baby Jesus in some way, then we are robbing them of truly experiencing the joy of Christmas—the kind of joy that Paul talks about in Romans 15:13. This kind of joy goes far beyond the month of December and can impact our children throughout their lifetime.
It is important to remember that joy is contagious! Living joyfully because of what Christ has done in us is the best way to teach our children at Christmas and throughout the year.
Josh and Lindsey Helms are the creators of Shepherd on the Search, a fun family tradition that celebrates the birth of Christ. They live outside of Nashville with their two children, Jacob and Everley. Learn more at ShepherdOnTheSearch.com.
Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: November 22, 2016