At the Yuletide season someone always asks, “How can we keep Christ in Christmas?” The answer is simple—try! Christ can be kept at the center of your Christmas if you put forth an effort. Here is my recipe of three specific things that your family can do:
1. Remember the reason for the exchanging of gifts. This has become the dominant feature of Christmas for many families. Parents, make clear to children the reason for exchanging gifts—it is only symbolic of God’s great gift to us, namely Christ the Prince of Peace. Children should be taught to give as well as receive. It is best if children are encouraged to buy gifts with their own money, especially gifts for the needy.
2. Keep Santa Claus in his place. I would not want to do away with the Santa Claus tradition. A certain amount of harmless make-believe is a part of a child’s growing up, and all children outgrow Santa in a few years’ time. But Santa should never be allowed to usurp the Christ Child’s place. Make sure children understand that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. When children are taught only about Santa Claus and nothing about Christ, Christmas becomes very empty of significance.
3. Have a brief family worship on Christmas morning. Here is a simple plan:
First, have the family sing several carols together, such as “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World”—or listen to a recording of them.
Then, using images from the Internet or pictures on your religious Christmas cards, piece together the story of the birth of Christ as you recall it. Make it a game. You may begin by selecting a picture of the angel that appears to Mary and Joseph. Next, look for the city of Bethlehem, the shepherds, the wise men, the manger scene, etc. Then ask various members of the family to read aloud verses that pertain to these scenes.
Finally, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for Christ the Savior, our church, our nation, and our friends. Remember also those who are still in spiritual darkness around the world. Pray for “peace on earth, and good will toward men.”