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Friday, December 26, 2008

Keeping Christ in Christmas

We try to keep the focus on Jesus during Christmas. We read the story from Luke 2 and also many Christmas books so that they are familiar with the story. One of the easiest ways we've found to do this is by having nativity sets that the kids can play with. We have two sets, one made of wood, and one set of finger puppets my mom crocheted for me years ago. The girls love playing with these to act out the Christmas story. Their favorite pretend play during the months of November through January is to act out the Nativity. Here is a picture of the girls: H is Joseph, G is Mary, M is the angel and is arranging the animals, and of course this year, F is Jesus. They quickly found that baby "Jesus" kept wanting to roll away, however, and switched to using a baby doll. :-)

They also like to build nativities out of whatever they find. This happens throughout the year, and I love taking pictures of their imaginative play. Here are a couple nativity scenes that H built earlier this year.
Did you know there were tigers and My Little Pony's in the Christmas story? And I love that one of the wise men brought a lollipop. :-) It's so fun being a mom and seeing what they come up with on their own! What a simple joy!

Another tradition we have is to make a birthday cake for Baby Jesus. We sing "Happy Birthday" and then talk about it being Jesus' birthday, but we get to eat the cake and open the presents, and that He is the best gift of all. Here is a picture of the girls making this year's cake. This year we did a white cake with white funfetti frosting and they chose to decorate it with starburst and smarties candies.

We've chosen not to play up Santa in our family. Of course the girls know who Santa is, but we don't do the whole "Santa brings you presents" thing because we feel it detracts from the real meaning of Christmas. We've gotta work on their responses to others, though, because at the Christmas Eve service a man asked them if Santa was going to visit their house tonight, and H responded simply, "No." The man was pretty taken aback!

What are some other ways your family keeps Christ in Christmas? I would LOVE your ideas to squirrel away for next year!


Ambervanness5 said...

Hi Jessica! We also did a Happy Birthday Jesus cake this year. Another idea we tried (and Rayna was JUST old enough so next year will work even better) was to wrap up all of our characters from the nativity scene. We wrapped them each individually and then attached to each package was a couple lines from the Christmas story. I sort of revised the story so it was easy for a 2 year old to understand. For example "One day, God told Mary that she was going to have a baby"...then the child opens the Mary and puts her in the manger...etc etc until all of the people are in the stable. Then, the last present to unwrap is the birthday cake, all wrapped up and the last tag says something like "Jesus' birthday is the reason we celebrate Christmas every year"...and then the kids unwrap the cake. We didn't have any children who could read (just Rayna and her cousin who is also only 2 years old) so we had the adults read but we thought it would be fun, once the kids are older, to have them each read a line from the story and eventually use the real story from Luke or Matthew.

Anyway, thought this might be a fun idea for your family especially since your older girls would understand it even more!

See you soon!

Cap said...

You could just have your kids say 'Jesus comes at Christmas for us, not Santa.'

Not sure where I heard that, but it seems a simple thing to say and understand.

At my house we always did the Nativity calendar. I remember waking up and feeling excited that it was my turn to open that day's window.


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