by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids
The real meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with the whole Santa Claus shebang, or does it? Too often the real meaning of the holiday season is lost in the commercialism of the time. We get carried away by all the holiday parties and festivities we forget the very simplistic reason we celebrate Christmas at all. But the Santa Claus belief and the total retail extravaganza is a big part of the season and for many children it’s the magic that lights their eyes on Christmas morning. The best way to teach children about the real meaning of Christmas while still allowing the magic of the season to flow is to talk to them about what occurred over two thousand years ago.
Put the emphasis on the truth that we celebrate the holidays in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ. There are many parallels with the birth of Christ and the way the people react to the way we celebrate. These are the points we need to make clear to our children.
First, read the story from the Bible and teach your children about the birth of Jesus Christ. Take your time explaining each step of the story so that your child will have a clear understanding from the angel appearing to Mary and Joseph, to the miracles surrounding Mary’s pregnancy, to Mary’s visit with her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist, to the trip to Bethlehem. Important to share with children are the special visitors the baby Jesus received after his birth and the giving of the gifts.
When children see the correlation between the birth of Christ and the giving of gifts to Him and the giving of gifts at Christmas, they will understand the true meaning. Teach children about Santa Claus, that he gave gifts to poor children years ago, as a part of Christmas and tell them how it turned into the commercialism of today, which lost a lot of the true meaning.
Want to know what your children think of the real meaning of Christmas? Ask them. “What is the real meaning of Christmas?” Many children will say Santa Claus, Christmas trees and decorations, presents. When explaining the Biblical story of Jesus’ birth make the story sound interesting. Children check out when they hear monotone reading. It might help to tell the story in your own words, emphasizing and animating where proper.
Show the real meaning of Christmas by practicing ways of showing Christmas love. Have your children come up with ways to give of themselves using their talents and skills. Come up with gifts to give others in need to show the real meaning of Christmas. Jesus is God’s gift to mankind. He gave of himself freely with none of us deserving it. It’s the perfect example of a “true gift.” Encourage children to “out give” each other by coming up with more ways of giving to others. Explain to them how giving a gift can also come as serving others. Let them be a part of serving meals at a soup kitchen, or passing out food from a food drive, or passing out coats from a coat drive. Teach them that giving gifts in the name of love exemplifies the true meaning of Christmas.