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Monday, December 6, 2010

We have spirit, yes we do, we have spirit how about you?

Christmas.

The holidays.

They are known as a special time of year.  And they ARE a special time of year.  YAY Holiday Spirit!

But why?

If you ask me why the holidays are awesome – it’s because we get to spend time with our families, enjoy each other’s company and revisit the birth of Jesus.

If you ask my husband why the holidays are awesome – it’s because you get presents.

I am going to admit, I LOVE to buy for people (and, you know, get stuff) and get them something really special – wrap it up all pretty and see their face when they open it.  I love to decorate and see everyone else’s pretty decorations.

But I KNOW there is MUCH MUCH more to CHRISTMAS than presents and pretty trees.  If I am being honest, however, that part has been lost on me for some time now as we get wrapped up in the commercial holiday.  And, I don’t know how to translate the true MEANING behind Christmas to my daughter.

I want her to know WHY we celebrate Christmas, who we are celebrating and really get the purpose behind it rather than seeing it as a time to just get stuff or a threat to be good so that Santa will visit her.  We do not normally go to church, but I am a religious person.  I just don’t know how to explain the bible or anything to her, I don’t know enough about it myself to explain it. 

How do you help your kids, and even yourself, to really grasp the concept behind Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate)? 

Isn’t the idea of “holiday spirit” to appreciate the reason for the holiday and not the cool gifts you might give/get?  Especially right now, when money is tight, there is so much more to the holidays than THINGS, I need to remember that and I would love for that to translate through my family as well.

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7 comments:

alison said...

Aww, I love this post! :) If you asked me what 5 things I want to instill in B, one item (#1, probably) would be to make sure he grows up in an environment where he can love Jesus. But it's *hard* when they're little, when so much of what you say (kid, turn Thomas the train OFF before I take him away!) is lost on them.

B goes to daycare at a church, so this helps us immensely as they just naturally have conversations about Jesus during the day. He goes to "Sunday school" (which is basically a graduated nursery) on Sundays while we're at church, and I assume they talk about Jesus at some point during that hour too. So I'm lucky that the exposure is there from someone other than us.

We have about 3 Bible board books that he seems to fall in and out of love with, but when he happens to bring us one (they're not super lengthy) we point out Jesus and tell B that Jesus loves him. (Keeping the concepts simple for now.) (If you need a book rec., this one is AWESOME, it's SOOOO cute, with simple, rhymy concepts, and B loves it. Highly highly recommended: http://www.amazon.com/Really-Woolly-Bible-Stories-DaySpring/dp/1400316332)

Anyway, Christmas! So because B knows who Jesus is a tiny bit, if you point at a dude with a beard in a book he'll tell you it's "DEEBUS!". When we put the tree up this weekend and got my tiny nativity set out, we put it at his eye level, and I showed him baby Jesus and said "this is baby Jesus, he's sleeping, shhhh". So now when B comes in the house, he runs to the nativity and says "baby deebus, nigh nigh".

So. He's 1, he doesn't "get" Christmas. He doesn't even know he gets presents yet. My hope is that we keep Jesus is in our house all year, and that next year we'll be able to build upon what we did this year... maybe start to tell him why Baby Jesus came, in 2 year old terms.

It's really about baby steps, you just do what you can, when you can, and in terms that make sense to them. I definitely do NOT have this all figured out, we just wing it on a daily basis. :) I'll be praying for you guys. xo

seussgirl said...

We just started doing Advent readings this year, and lighting the advent candle each night. Then we sign a Christmas Carol (Away in a Manger, Joy to the World, or Silent Night), and talk about Baby Jesus. We also just got the Fisher Price Nativity set from the in-laws (apparently, it's the year of the Nativity set in our house!).

We do take the boys to church, and make sure to ask them each week what they've learned about Jesus. We'll take them to Christmas Eve service, and let them sit with us as long as they're able. Then we go caroling with friends.

We find "The Beginner's Bible" to be really good for the boys' age. The stories are simplified, but not watered down, or changed.

It is tough at this age to know what's "sinking in," but God does say that His Word never returns to Him void, so I believe that even our simple efforts are planting seeds!

JJ said...

Such a great reminder--hard to get wrapped up (ha! no pun intended!) in all the glitz of the season! But I do want Oman to understand a lot of reasons behind the season--the birth of Jesus, and the gift of GIVING. He puts change in the Salv. Army buckets, and we are going to drop off a Toys for Tots with him--as he grows, I want him to love giving more than receiving.

Danifred said...

Great post! I know that I need to work harder at this myself. I haven't even considered how I will instill the meaning of Christmas into our family. Honestly, I've been too busy with STUFF- stuff that ultimately doesn't matter. Time to rethink things a bit.

Rebecca said...

I gotta be honest with you. Religion is not my strong suit...I'm not familiar with the stories enough to actually explain them to someone else. I could do a quick synopsis, but I'm sure it would leave a 2-year old (or two) in a state of confusion.

This year, I'm leaving it to their preschool (which is religious so they can pose as experts for now) and yesterday Matt just reminded me whose birthday was on 12/25. Love it when someone takes over!

Mel said...

There are tons of great Christmas story books at places like Family Christian Store or Mardel (not sure if you have either up there). L has one that plays "silent night" while you read the story and she loves that book. Fisher Price also makes a little people nativity set that is just precious.

We pray every night together, very basic prayers. The best she can do is say "amen" yet. The church nursery is also a great place for them to start learning! I know getting back in to the swing of going to church can be brutal and hard to manage, but you'll never make a better decision for the rest of your life.

xoxo

Life Happens said...

You can always get a small nativity set to display in your home and talk about the birth of Christ in general terms and explain that is the reason for the season.

I think it's important to teach children the true meaning of Christmas. Start now with simple things and overtime, it will sink in. Good luck.