Purposeful Parent Tip: There’s more to Christmas than presents. Share the Christmas story with your children.
The shopping is done. The dinner is being prepared. The gifts have been exchanged. Take a deep breath – it’s Christmas Day! For weeks you have been getting ready for this day and it is here. How will you spend it? Who will share this day with you? What memories will you create?
Do your children know the real meaning of Christmas? Do they understand that it’s more than just a day to get a lot of presents? Have you told them the story of the birth of Jesus?
My daughter and I were watching “Jesus of Nazareth” the other night. This movie is about the entirety of his life from birth through his death on the cross. While she missed the beginning, she started watching the part when Jesus began his ministry and went out to gather his disciples. Throngs of people were following him. A select few chose to join him. My daughter had so many questions. Why this and why that?
“Why are there so many people?” “Why did Judas betray Jesus?” “Why did God send Jesus to earth just to be killed?” “Why couldn’t God stop the killers from hurting Jesus?”
My head was spinning trying to answer all of these questions and answer them in a way she’d understand. Interestingly the questions paralleled those she asked earlier about what happened in Newtown CT. Lots of why’s.
My responses went something like this.
There are a lot of people following Jesus because they wanted to meet him, be near him, learn from him, and just be in his presence because he was so good and positive.
Judas betrayed Jesus because he was tempted by 30 pieces of silver and the money meant more to him than his allegiance to Jesus. However, he regretted his actions afterwards and killed himself.
God sent Jesus to earth because he loves us so much. He wanted us to be forgiven of all of our sins so that when we die, we can go to heaven and live there forever with Him.
While God could’ve easily stopped Jesus’ death, if he did, then we’d never be able to go to heaven and see God. It was Jesus’ purpose to come to earth, teach everyone about God and heaven, and spread the message of love to anyone and everyone who would listen. Because of his birth and death, we all have a way into heaven now. That’s why we celebrate Christmas – we celebrate the birth of Jesus and remember that because he was born, we all now have a chance to go to heaven and live with him.
“Did all of the kids and teachers killed in Newtown go to heaven?’ she asked. “They sure did,” I said.
“I never really understood how important all of this was Mommy,” she said referring to having a belief in and love for God and knowing why Jesus was born. “I just thought going to church was enough.”
I wonder how many other people think this same way. They go to church every week but during the week, fall short of what God wants us all to do. Love one another. It’s the central message of Christmas. “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son.”
As a parent, it is my job is to ensure that my kids know why they are here, how blessed they are, how loved they are by God, and that He is always there for them. If that’s the only thing they learn from me, then I will have done my job well.
I pray that you and your families will enjoy this joyous holiday and take a moment to remember the real meaning of Christmas. Celebrate the time with your family but take a moment to reflect on that tiny little baby who truly changed the world.
Merry Christmas everyone!