I’ve been brainstorming this week. I love Christmas. I love to change it up, and I love traditions. It’s great when something we try turns into a tradition! This year I’ve been thinking about how there are so many more opportunities to include discipleship moments around the holidays. This year we will be including discipleship in Christmas. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t forget to read my earlier post on Creating Discipleship Conversations.
Sometimes I get bogged down in the way that Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier each year. Then I had a ‘duh!’ moment; that just gives me more days to use Christmas to remind my kids of what God did for us when he sent Jesus to Earth!
Discipleship in Christmas: What does it look like?
Simply put, it looks like what you make it to look like. Pray that God would open your eyes to the opportunities around you. They’re literally in every store and on every ad!
Talk about the origin of the candy cane when you see the stripes decorating the posts outside a big chain store. Look up the symbolism of the evergreen in Christmas and point it out to your kids when you see it trimming stores.
I have the loose rule that you have to sing Christmas songs in your own room until the Christmas season. Around this time of year we start fudge the rule. Ads on the radio already use Christmas songs to feature concerts that are coming next month. There are gospel conversation starters in Christmas songs.
What does Immanuel mean? What is a Messiah? Take some time to refresh yourself and pounce on these words that you hear on Christian radio starting now. Talk about why we need a Messiah and how we know that Jesus is THE Messiah.
Does your family read Scripture in the evening? This would be a great time to start! Discipleship in the Christmas season includes Scripture just like any other season. It would be a great time of year to go through a list of messianic Psalms for your reading. Some messianic Psalms include Psalm 2, 8, 16, 22, 40, 41, 45, 68, 69, and more. You could even make it into a game, ask them to try to guess the theme of the Psalms you read over a week. You could also alternate between reading a Psalm and then comparing it to the New Testament passage where it is quoted.
I don’t like to decorate my home for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but I do have my Nativity scenes out early this year. They are my favorite decoration and my kids can tell. I love to talk about where they come from and why I treasure them. They will also be the last decoration to come back down. I want to prioritize them because there is no mistaking what they mean and what they remind me of.
Think about the things that you absolutely have to do every year for Christmas. What do they center on? Do they let you emphasize discipleship in Christmas, or do they center on gifts?
When I think of ours, some are pretty neutral. It doesn’t feel like the holidays until we make a batch of mom’s apple cider. It doesn’t really add to the Christ centeredness of the season, but it doesn’t take away from it either.
However, if we go look at Christmas lights, you can bet I will be pointing out the ones that feature a nativity scene or anything else I can relate to the Bible. What are the most important traditions your family has for the season? Can you turn them into traditions that feature Christ? Maybe when you bake Christmas cookies, you take some to a shut in and visit with them for a while. Maybe it means changing them completely to minimize the ‘more gifts’ attitude your children have developed. Pray for wisdom this year in how you spend your time.
A Discipleship in Christmas Tool for Families
I’m so excited to talk about this tool for your family to use this Christmas! Next week I will be releasing my Kids Christmas Discipleship Bundle. It’s a 25 day devotional bundle for families to use during the month of December leading up to Christmas. It features a devotion for each day with a song link to go with the devotion. Bonus activities throughout the book include Christmas crafts and activities that serve as conversation starters on the big picture of the Bible and how Christmas fits into the Gospel message.
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