We were standing in her kitchen talking about kids and Christmas when my friend said, “I was trying to explain to my daughter that Christmas is about Jesus, but she said, ‘No mom, it’s about getting presents.’ She’s only four, so I get it, but I’m just trying to figure out how to teach her the true meaning.”
I so remember these years. I also remember wondering if we should even have a tree...if we should even say the word Santa. I mean, if we tell our kids about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus and they find out they aren’t real, will they wonder if Jesus is real, too? Have you heard this idea? I celebrated both of these holidays and never questioned the validity of Jesus. For me, he was in a different category altogether. But, I have friends who've had doubts. So, what’s a mom to do?
I’m not writing to tell you what to do. You’re the mom and those precious babies are yours. But if you’re stressing, I just want to give you some encouragement. While Christmas is a giant opportunity to tell your children about Jesus, he is not limited to this month alone. I know you know this, but I want to encourage you because explaining Jesus’ birthday to a child is just...plain...confusing.
In America, we celebrate someone’s birthday by giving them presents. So, it’s difficult to explain Jesus’ birthday to a child. If it’s Jesus’ birthday, shouldn’t we give him presents? If so, how do we do this? Possibly we make him a birthday cake. Maybe we explain that because God loved us so much, he gave us Jesus as a gift. So we follow his example and give people we love gifts. A kid might think this is a cute Sunday School idea, but more than likely they’re not as excited by the giving as the getting. They aren’t alone. I have to be self-controlled when I celebrate Christmas too!
Here’s my encouragement to you, sweet mom. You have millions of moments, minutes and days to pour the love of Jesus into your kids. If they don’t get Him as much during this tempting Christmas season, don’t have a panic attack. Jesus is not limited to this one day or month of the year. Think of all the life-defining situations you have to train and teach them who they are in Christ: teaching them how to learn from the Bible, love themselves, love their friends, care for the lonely, share their faith, tell the truth, follow through and finish well. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Start children off in the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."
I don't preach, teach or live my life for the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. I do, however, live a life dedicated to Jesus. My kids know the Easter Bunny isn't real because I've never taught them how to follow it or to live like Santa Claus. They know Jesus is real because I'm in love with him and they can tell. It's my job as a mom to train them how to love Jesus, not just during Christmas, but every other time of the year. If I want my kids to love Jesus more than CHRISTMAS DAY, then I have to love Him more than the stuff I want as well. What I teach them in my home will leave with them forever. They will always remember his teaching whether I see it in the moment or not! If I'm willing to be a light and show the life of Christ to my boys, the Holy Spirit will do what I cannot in their hearts.
Here are some other verses that encourage me to never give up as a mom:
- Deuteronomy 6:5-7 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on the gates."
- Deuteronomy 4:9-12 "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."
Let me also leave you with one practical application. As Jacob is entering his teens, his gifts have become more expensive. So, I asked one of my pastors, Shane Duffey, for gift giving advice. He said, "We lavish gifts on our kids on their birthday so they know we are proud of them. Whatever "lavish" is to you..do that. It doesn't have to be extravagant, but whatever they love within your budget. Christmas is a different story. The gifts we give are not pricey or extravagant."
I LOVE this advice. It sends the message, "Your birthday can be about you, but Christmas is reserved for Jesus!"
I hope your Thanksgiving was amazing. I pray that as Christmas comes, you can experience beautiful times of peace and rest in Jesus' love for you. I'm also praying you move forward in faith and freedom until next time! - Sharie King
© 2016 by Sharie King. All rights reserved.