Keeping Christ in Christmas

I’m participating in the Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Carnival, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little SaintsTruly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas season. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.

It’s tough to keep our kids’ focus on that first Christmas when they’re bombarded every time they go into a store, turn on the television, or open the Sunday paper with images of shiny new toys, smiling children as they pull large boxes off the shelf, and images of the latest and greatest upgraded video gaming systems — before Halloween. Is it even possible to reconcile them to the modesty of that stable, the smells and discomfort a frightened Mary must have endured, and the miracle of Christ arriving under a shining star with hosts of angels proclaiming the Glory of the Lord?

I think so.

While it is’t easy to combat the secularism that floods our consumer-driven society, we can and should remind our children actively and often why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Small daily words and deeds hold the most meaning for little hearts.

Do your kids see you 

  • running out for another gift? 
  • stressed about the baking, cleaning, decorating & plans that need made? 
  • sniping at your spouse?
  • discussing the expense, the in laws, the schedules, and the meals planned? 

Or do they 

Years and years ago, Brian fell in love with the 7.5-inch Nativity figurines from Fontanini, an Italian designer. Instead of building a Christmas village on our mantel, or investing in other add-to-it-each-year systems, he began collecting pieces to recreate the Bible story. We have the inn and stable, many of Bethlehem’s buildings, homes, gardens, and villagers {each with a story of how he or she may have related to Jesus’s birth}. We have the kings and their camps, camels, servants, and gifts. Shepherds, sheep and angels…and we have the Holy Family

In fact, we have two Marys. One is a  pregnant Mary seated on her donkey. The other, a pious kneeling one bent over her precious boy, our Savior, as he finally lies — born in a stable, then wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed — in a manger. 

One of the best, most meaningful, and special things we do as a family is move that pregnant, frightened, weary Mary as Joseph patiently and lovingly leads the donkey upon which she rests, through the house each week of Advent, closer and closer to that humble, smelly, dirty stable. The kids’ excitement as they rush out to see what presents await them on Christmas morning is only eclipsed by their joy in first stopping by “Bethlehem” to see if Mary has made it, and if their Christ child is lying on that bed of straw, wrapped in cloth in the manger as animals huddle around to keep Him warm, and Mary and Joseph bow down to the miracle entrusted to them. 

Simple, daily, and meaningful traditions are all it takes to keep the meaning of Christmas alive in the hearts of our children. 

Reminding them of the bigger picture, accepting that they’ll look forward to the gifts they may receive, but helping them refocus their hearts and minds on that first Christmas, is something we can do as Christian parents. 

It’s something we must do.

How do you help your child(ren) keep Christ in their minds during these weeks leading up to His miraculous birth? I’d love for you to share your traditions with me — here in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram

Need more inspiration for keeping the meaning of Christmas alive for your family? Check out these links to other blog carnival participants. I hope you’ll take the time to visit them and leave a comment on their posts.