When it comes to Christmas children are already in the spirit right after Thanksgiving ends. But for Christian children, there are ways to awaken the true Spirit of the Season, the spirit of loving and of giving.
We all know about the gift giving and receiving part of Christmas, but how many chances are there for families to open the hearts of their children to that true mystery of the First Christmas that happened 2000 or so years ago? I’d like to say that there are many ways to do that, but we need all the help we can get!
Children try to understand the true meaning of the Season
Children by nature are very spiritual beings. They believe many things without having to see them. Take the story of Santa Claus, they are very quick to believe it because from their earliest days Mom and Dad have said it’s so.
My Seven Ways to Awaken the Spirit of the Season are:
1. Clean out their toys and put some aside for the local shelter.
2. Let them help decorate the home for the Season.
3. Let them have a special place in their rooms to decorate.
4. Get or make an Advent Calendar.
5. Read to them about the true meaning of the Season.
6. Tell stories about your childhood Christmases.
7. Watch some really good classic Christmas movies.
If Mom and Dad also took the time to tell them the true meaning of Christmas they would also believe that too! Why? Simple, because mom and dad love them and would not want anything but the best for them.
Sometimes it’s easier for parents to emphasize the gift giving part of the Season. It’s all around them and they hear it everywhere. Songs, TV specials, Shopping Malls and the like make it easy to fill that need or want. Sometimes it’s for selfish reasons that we promote that kind of thinking too. “You better be nice, Santa is watching you!” or “If you don’t behave, you will get a lump of coal in your stocking!” These are self-serving sentiments that parents usually use to get the children to behave. How about teaching them the true meaning instead?
The Christmas Story
Oh, there’s nothing wrong with the “popular” stories surrounding Christmas time, but there are also stories that retell in children’s language the true meaning of the Season. We would be remiss as parents if we didn’t allow our children to hear all the stories around this most beautiful time of year.
Nativity Stories and Nativity Movies
Children not only love stories to be read to them, they also enjoy movies and DVDs about Christmas. Secretly, I think the parents and grandparents enjoy these just as much as their children. I know I get a lump in my throat every time I see the Miracle on 34th street and I love the Grinch who tried to stop Christmas from coming. These are classic tales that fit right into the spirit of the season and should not be dismissed. They are a great opportunity for parents to teach their children that Christmas is not all about getting presents and more presents. It is an opportune time to teach them to give as well. Children are very astute and love to give. Make that an important part of their Christmas too! It is the sharing of ourselves that becomes the gift.
Between the movies and the books, there is lots of food for thought and plenty of fun for the whole family. Every Christmas story can be shared with the ones you love. Children will want to see them more than once, and I’m sure that parents won’t mind seeing them again either. Let the joy of Christmas fill the home, with song, laughter, and sights that will surely make everyone sit up and taken notice.