We often hear the reminder that Jesus is the reason for the season, but then we’re bombarded by secular celebrations, decorations, and notions which don’t quite align with our beliefs. So, how can we keep Christ in Christmas (Advent and then Christmas, really) while present-buying, cookie baking, and party-planning?
Here’s 7 ways to keep Christ in Christmas that you can do with your family, old or young.
1. Start with Advent!
It’s not really Christmas season, not yet. It’s Advent, the waiting period, and there’s four weeks of it. So, let’s take our time and soak in the moments. We are preparing our hearts for a King, the King of kings. There’s four candles, one to be lit each week. It starts with Hope, then Peace or Faith, and then Joy, and finally Love. You can make a paper wreath or use a real one. Teaching and reinforcing the waiting period helps make Christmas day even more special.
2. Talk about Charity
In the Bible, the word for love can be interchanged with charity. The Greek words often used for love are either agape (deep love) or philia (brotherly love). The Greek word for charity is filanthropía. See how close philia is to filanthropía? When we love, we are to love with charity. We are to give of ourselves. Talk to your children about charity, giving away what they don’t need, serving others, or buying gifts for a drive. Shift their focus from presents under the tree to the Presence of Christ in their lives.
3. Make Memories
Christmas isn’t really about presents - much to our children’s chagrin - but it’s about His Presence. Focus on making memories through experiences rather than gifts. Whether it’s a sleigh ride with your loved one or taking a late Christmas light drive with the kids, memories stay with us long after the clothes are outgrown, the gadget outdated, or the material outworn. Yes, buying tickets to something can count, but make sure your memories are being made all throughout the season. They don’t have to cost much! Something at home like a game night can count!
4. Revisit the Christmas Story
No, not Ralphie’s story, though that’s fun too. We need to bring back more stories of Christ, Mary, the shepherds, and the wise men. Let’s bring the gospel back to our screens and let it refocus our December festivities. Advent is a season of waiting, so let’s build the anticipation for our King’s arrival!
5. The Real Saint Nicholas
Honor the real Saint Nicholas by revisiting his story, and maybe even pray for his intercession for someone or yourself. The real St. Nick loves Jesus and did good for the poor. Let’s remember him and imitate him as he imitated Christ.
6. Plan Your Christmas Mass
When we make little effort for Mass, soon we’re not going, and soon we’re not honoring God at all. Christmas is a big deal, so wrapping our plans around Christmas Mass should be a big deal. Plan outfits, plan the Mass time, and Maybe try a candlelight Mass or a Christmas morning Mass for a change. Wrap your Christmas plans around Mass, not the other way around. Those with littles know the big moment for them is Christmas morning, but let’s reemphasize the Mass itself, our most holy form of worship.
7. Cherish Those You Love
Christ came because of the Father’s Love for us, so let’s magnify that love as much as we can. It doesn’t matter if the roast is dry or the present never arrived. It doesn’t matter if you need to show up to multiple homes on multiple days to see different sides of the family. It doesn’t even matter which day you celebrate - thinking of those who work 24/7 jobs like healthcare and public service - as long as you celebrate. Just be sure to remember Christ’s love for us and to share that love with one another. That, after all, is the reason for the season.
The Christmas hustle throws many wrenches in our plans but God’s plan is perfect. Let’s take a breath and soak in the point of it all. Let’s keep Christ in Christmas this year.