Keeping Christ in Christmas

The excitement of Christmas has already begun at our house – the tree is decorated, the Christmas lists are made out, and soon the baking, shopping, and parties will be in full swing.  It is so easy in all this activity to let the real meaning of Christmas go unmentioned.  We adults know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday but how are our children going to know unless we tell them.  They may see this only as a time when all the relatives get together or there’s lots of goodies to eat or everyone gives them gifts.

Enjoy the traditional practices of Christmas.  Don’t be so different from the world that the world wouldn’t want what you have. An old English historical writing contains a letter from Pope Gregory to Saint Mellitus, who was on his way to England to do missionary work among the pagan Anglo-Saxons. Pope Gregory suggested that converting heathens would go easier if they were allowed to keep some of their traditional practices, while reinterpreting those traditions spiritually towards the Christian God instead of to their pagan ‘devils’.

Today we as Christians should hear what Pope Gregory said and enjoy the traditions of the world, but be sure to give them Spiritual meaning for our families. Make every effort to teach the real meaning of Christmas through everything you do:

  • While decorating the tree share that the evergreen tree reminds us of the everlasting love Jesus has for us.  The tree is like a big birthday cake for Jesus and the lights are the candles.  The lights remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world and that “God lights our darkness” (2 Samuel 22:29)
  • While wrapping gifts share “It is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) Point out that because it is Jesus’ birthday we give gifts.  Jesus said when we give to one another it is the same as giving to him. (And the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40) Share “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).   Make sure your children are involved in making or purchasing gifts to give so they are not just on the receiving end of the gifts.  Also point out that giving is not only things, but he can give love, friendship, help, and joy.
  • Make the manger scene central in your decorations. Be sure your children hear the Christmas story from the Bible often. It’s fine to tell them the pretend stories of Santa and elves, Rudolph and Frosty, but be sure to tell the true story of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, angels, Shepherds, etc.  Also help them understand the true story of Santa.  He loved Jesus so much that he wanted to give to others.  A good book about Santa is “Santa, Are You for Real? “ by Harold Myra.

Check Train Up The Child for ways to relate the real Reason for the Season to traditional seasonal objects.  Just search on the site for ‘Christmas’, ‘Keeping Christ in Christmas’,  or for a traditional object (ex. Santa, trees, wreaths, mistletoe, etc.)

 

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Intentional ‘Thanks’giving

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In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 
  

Lead your children by example to be intentional with giving thanks to God and to others, especially at this time of year called ‘Thanks’giving.

Here are some previous posts with ideas to lead your children to be thankful:

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – The First Thanksgiving

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – A ‘Thank You God’ List

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Psalm 100 

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Songs

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – A Thankful Walk

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Express Thanks to Others

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Bible Stories

Thanksgiving Ideas

 

HAPPY ‘THANKS’GIVING!!

 

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Tell Your Children About Veteran’s Day

Psalm 106:3     Blessed are those who keep justice,

2 Tim. 2:3     You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Veterans Day pays tribute to ALL American veterans, but especially honoring living veterans who have served their country.

It was originally called Armistice day which was the day during World War I that an agreement to stop fighting was signed – at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the guns fell silent.

– Lead your children to honor all our Veterans and to pray for God to bless them and their families.
– Set an example to your children of always going up to those you see in uniform and thanking them for their service.

Here’s a great site to help you celebrate Veteran’s Day with your children.

 

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Talking to Children about the Election

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Tell your children that God gives us the responsibility to seek out people to lead us – that is why we have an election. Read and share with your children the story in 1 Samuel 16 where God gave Samuel the job to seek out a king for His people. This is what He told Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”(1 Samuel 16:7)

Lead your children in praying that everyone will look for and vote for leaders with good hearts. Samuel anointed David to be the new king.  God was very pleased – look what He said about David – “After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’(Acts 13:22)”

It may seem as none of the candidates in this election fit this description but not voting at all is certainly not the answer. Let your children see you exercise your patriotic freedom and responsibility to have a voice in government – take them to the poll with you if possible and let them hear you pray for wisdom to know for whom to vote.

Then when the election is over, remember “God determines the course of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. (Daniel 2:21)” We need to remind ourselves of this no matter who wins and explain it to our children.

Regardless of how one might feel about the results of an election, there is never a reason to talk unkindly about those whom God has allowed to be in positions of authority. Read and then tell your children the story from 1 Kings 24. King Saul had been trying to kill David. But when David was faced with an opportunity to kill King Saul, he said “May the Lord not let me put out my hand against my leader, for he is the Lord’s chosen one.”  The Arch Book The Angry King tells this story very creatively for children.

Finally, take heed to this exhortation from the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority”.  After this election it becomes our duty to pray for and give thanks for all those in authority. I want to purpose to intercede for our leaders and give thanks for those God has chosen to accomplish His purposes through in our country even if it will be to bring judgement on our land.

So use this election as another opportunity to establish God’s Word in your children. Make them aware that God has put in positions those whom He has purposed to be there (Daniel 2:21), and no matter who is in authority, God is still the King of kings and in control of everything (1 Tim. 6:15). And make a regular part of your praying with your children be for protection, wisdom, good hearts, and thanks for our leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

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How Should Christians Deal With Halloween?

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About 33 years ago I was busy making ghost costumes for my 3 young boys when Betty Rich called and asked what I was doing. I was embarrassed to tell her. She was such a Godly lady, I thought she would surely be disappointed in me for allowing my children to participate in the holiday. However, I still marvel at her wisdom in the comment she made that day, “Sheilah, don’t make your children so different from the world that the world doesn’t want what you have.” I have heeded that advice through the years and applied it in numerous situations, always trying to find things we could participate in with those that might not believe as we do, thus having an opportunity to interact with them.

We chose to enjoy Halloween without even talking about the dark beginnings of it. On other holidays I have encouraged you to teach the history of the traditions of the holidays.  And if you would like to do that for Halloween, here is an informative link.  A good book that explains in simple terms how Halloween started and how Christians now celebrate it is Halloween, Is it for Real? by Harold Myra. 

If you want to try to give a positive meaning to some of the traditions, you can point out that the orange color is used to symbolize the vibrant colors of the harvested crops, while the black color stands for the death of summer.  You can choose to use the pumpkin salvation story while you carve your pumpkin.  But you can choose to just enjoy a fun harvest time of family, friends, neighbors, costumes, parties, and pumpkins.

We must stay aware that some of the things that go on at this time may go beyond fun and can cause fear in children. There are bad spirits in the world, but we don’t have to be afraid of them. The Bible says that at the name of Jesus they have to run away (Philip. 2:10 “so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,”)  We can use the name ‘Lord Jesus Christ’.

God has given us good spirits called angels to watch over us (Psalm 91:11-12 “For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.”)

Please check out Ministry to Children for great insights and ideas to help use Halloween to emphasize trusting Jesus.

 

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