Christmas is such a wonderful time of year that so easily gets swamped with gift-giving and gift-receiving. If we aren’t careful our children grow up with a consumer approach to a season all about the simple Christ child. As society aims to sell more stuff and make Christmas as commercially successful as possible we need to simplify and point to the story of Christmas.
So why not take Advent to prepare your family for the real message of Christmas. There are simple things you can do this and disciple your family this Christmas.
FIVE IDEAS FOR THIS ADVENT
1. WALKTHROUGH A GOOD BOOK
The good book people are offering a fantastic free resource to help your family walk through the big story of God right up to Christmas Day. Each day helps you focus on why Christmas is so important. It’s free and it’s so simple.
2. MAKE A NATIVITY
Make your own nativity scene out of loo rolls, play-do, clay or LEGO. Over advent, you could take each Friday evening to do a ‘crafternoon’ and make a couple of characters from the nativity story. You would then end by finally making baby Jesus when the schools have broken up. You would start by making the Shepard’s on week one, the wise people week two, Mary and Joseph week three and then finally baby Jesus. For each set of characters, you would read apart of the Christmas story that they are linked with and ask the family how they might feel meeting Jesus like they did.
3. KNIT A NATIVITY
Little like idea 2. Why not knit the Christmas nativity scene as a family. Here is a link to a great resource...
The Christmas star lead people who were far off towards the Christ child. Baking star biscuits and icing them is a simple activity you can do with children while talking about the Christmas star. God is in the business of pointing people to him. Once you have baked a good number you can then put them in nice clear bags of 4/5. You may reflect with your kids how all the characters in the nativity scene were excluded or on the edge of society in some way. Who do you notice in your community who are on the edge/excluded? Who do you want to help point to Jesus? Maybe an elderly neighbour all alone, A friend from school going through a hard time, a family member struggling with illness or their position in life. Make a list together and take the bags of cookies to them, praying that God will give you a chance to also offer them time and love and the chance to point them to Jesus.
5. MOVIE NIGHT.
Watch as a family a different Christmas movie each week. You could use it to talk about the meaning of Christmas. How did the film point them to the bigger story. Here is a list of good Christmas Films:
The Nativity Story: A great movie that'll teach the kids the real story behind Christmas.
The Star: Think The Greatest Story Ever Told (a.k.a. the Nativity story), and add in some friendly camels and a cute donkey named Bo. This one is obviously great for kids, and is about a team of animals who end up having an accidental *starring* role in Jesus' birth story.
Chasing the Star: This movie tells the story of the Three Kings who travelled from different parts of the world to bring gifts to the newborn Jesus.
Nativity: Starring The Office UK's Martin Freeman, this movie is about an elementary school teacher who tries to get his students to put on a nativity play ... which naturally spirals into lovable chaos.
Vegi Tales Christmas DVD: A hilarious, action-packed Christmas story adventure that encourages us to love each other. And more importantly, teaches us that God showed the greatest love of all when Jesus was born.