So, I've mentioned that I love Christmas, right? I get a big kick out of presents, I am enthralled with the magic of Santa. I love decorating the house and breaking out the Christmas china (that's another post, not yet written) and sipping on egg nog. I love all the parts of Christmas. But I do recognize that the heart of Christmas is not about any of these things, but is the beautiful story of the birth of our Savior.
And I think it's hard, this day in age, to raise children who aren't totally distracted by all the sights and sounds and smells of Christmas. The Toys R Us ads are a lot more glamorous than the idea of a stinky stable and some weird dudes in funny clothes bringing gifts of things they can't pronounce. Our culture is consumed by consumerism and it's difficult, I think, to keep children from getting sucked into that vortex.
But I want to be intentional with Clara about teaching her the real meaning of Christmas. Oh, don't get me wrong.... we'll be baking cookies and making crafts and doing our share of Christmas shopping, too. But as she grows up I want her to know that bigger and better than all that magic is the miracle of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. So, I thought it was important to start that this year, even though she's "too young" to really get it yet. I believe these early years are critical.
So, we've been singing Away in the Manger, Silent Night, and Oh Come All Ye Faithful along with Jingle Bells and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. And we've been reading The Night Before Christmas, but also some other wonderful board books that teach about Jesus' birth. And we've been playing with her basket full of toys, but have also loved telling and acting out the story of the nativity with this beautiful nativity set, given to Clara by the same great friends who gave her the Noah's Ark a few months back. As she gets older and can understand more I hope that we'll weave other traditions into her Christmas experience like giving to a charity of her choice, helping the less fortunate, and participating in Christmas worship.
I believe that the sacred and the secular can be interwoven. I want for Clara to love all the parts of Christmas, like I do. But more than anything, I want for her to understand that this time of year is about giving, that it's about being with friends and family, that it's about considering grace and love and that it's about celebrating the birth of our Savior.
How have you taught your children about the sacred story of Christmas?
A few of the books we've been reading...