8 Ways to Be Intentional This Christmas Season
The Christmas season is upon us. The darkness of this time of year is now lit up with twinkle lights. The cold breeze is made warmer by that hot cup of cocoa. Friends and family start to gather back together around the fireplace and of course around the table for a delicious meal. Christmas time is so special and if we aren’t careful, we can get carried away with the hustle and bustle.
Before we know it, January arrives, and we find ourselves looking back on this time, taking down the Christmas tree, and wishing we had savored it more. Yes, I need this reminder too! I want this season to be fun, memorable, and intentional – and I want to be sure that we keep at the center what Christmas is all about – pointing to and being thankful for the birth of Christ. So, let’s be intentional! Soak it in. Move a bit slower. And fix our gaze on Jesus. Here are some ways our family is going to work towards that end this year and I hope these ideas help your family to do the same.
1. Find an Advent Devotional.
This is a great time of year to start a family devo time. Or if you are in the regular rhythm of family devotionals, this will be a great way to mix it up and do something a bit different to keep the family engaged. And it is so easy because there are so many wonderful Advent Devotional books out there – and many are even free. I would recommend you look at a website like Lifeway.com, as they have so many different Advent resources for kids and families. We’ve used different books and calendars and have loved them all – ‘Jesus Calling: The Story of Christmas,’ ‘The Advent Storybook,’ ‘The Way to the Manger,’ and ‘The Littlest Watchman.’ Additionally, here is a free family Advent guide for your Family, found on Lifeway.com.
2. Discuss the Reason for the Season at Meals.
We also use dinner time to keep Jesus at the center. You may have gotten some of these in your kid’s meal in the past at Chick-fil-A, but Table Topics Cards are a great way to get everyone involved in the conversation. Here is a link to a three pack of Table Topics that includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
3. Use Christmas Decor to Point to Jesus.
Many of us have a manger scene in our house as a part of our Christmas decorations. Use that as a method of exploring the story of Christ’s birth. Talk about each of the special parts of your particular manger scene each day and look to the Bible for what you see about that particular part of the story. This ornament set from Family Life is a way to do this with ornaments on your tree and it also comes with a devo book as well.
4. Discuss Christ-Centered Christmas Movies.
Christmas movies are our jam. Don’t tell anyone but every once in a while in July, October, or even March – we pull out a Christmas movie to enjoy together. So, you better believe that almost every night in December we are pulling out some little Christmas show to enjoy. We love them all, and you can probably pull out lessons about Jesus from many of them to discuss with your kids. Of course, the ones that more overtly point to Christ are easier – some of those that we love are: ‘The Star,’ ‘Charlie Brown Christmas,’ ‘Veggie Tales Little Drummer Boy,’ ‘The Three Wise Men,’ and ‘Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers.’
5. Use Christmas Music to Point to Jesus.
Don’t let Christmas music pass you by. This is probably one of the easiest ones because many, many Christmas songs shine a light on the true meaning. So, pull that out and discuss it with your kids.
6. Plug into Church Activities
Be sure that you are actively involved in your church community as well. Many churches have Advent traditions that you can invite your kids into. Our church has a kids’ Christmas musical each year that begins in October and culminates in a full worship service in early December where the kids perform on stage. Those Christmas songs that we rehearse over and over, centered around Jesus, linger in our hearts long after the performance is over, and we catch ourselves singing them for weeks! Our Christmas Eve family tradition also involves attending the Christmas Eve service at our church together and reading the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2 as a family before we go to bed that night.
7. Give Back to Others
I am sure that many of you also point to Jesus by giving to others. Operation Christmas Child has become a staple in our holiday tradition. Since we typically need to turn those in by Thanksgiving, it serves as a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season. There are so many ways to give back to others who don’t have the means to provide Christmas gifts for their kids. So explore various ways to serve and give back, and discuss the significance of these acts of kindness, reflecting on how Jesus gave the ultimate gift to us through His coming.
8. Pray for Families as you Receive Christmas Cards in the Mail.
Receiving Christmas cards in the mail during December is something we always look forward to. It does make me laugh when my kids don’t recognize some of the people, often from way back in our past. Take the opportunity to share stories about these individuals with your kids. Make it a tradition to pray for one family each night, either before your meal or before bedtime.
I hope that, in this season, we all remember the true meaning. The gift of Jesus is truly the best gift under the tree each year, and repeatedly demonstrating this to our kids is a worthy investment of our time and effort as they grow. I would love for you to share any other ideas you have in the comments on our Instagram or Facebook posts. And let’s spur each other on to shine a light on Jesus this Christmas season in our families.
Written by: Amy Lowe – Director of WinShape Camps for Girls and WinShape Camps for Families