|The Christmas season offers some unique opportunities to be intentional about passing on wisdom to our kids. I had the privilege of sharing a few of these thoughts during live coffee chats over the last couple of weeks. I hope they are helpful for you as we celebrate the Christmas season with family and friends.
Tell Them WHY
It's easy to rush through the season with activities and traditions without stopping to make sure our kids understand WHY we do what we do and what it MEANS. For instance, why do we put a Christmas tree in our home? What do the candles on the Advent wreath mean? Why do we wrap and give presents? What are the origins of Christmas pageants or songs we sing? I could go on and on. These are all teachable moments that help to enrich the simple things we do during Christmas. One great resource our family has used in helping us answer these questions is
"The ADVENTure of Christmas" by Lia Whelchel
Teach HONOR and SELFLESSNESS
While selfishness is not limited to Christmastime, it can be heightened at this time of year. Consider the scene of a large family gathering at Christmas for prayer before a buffet-style meal. It is not uncommon for children to push aside others to be first in line and then the person who cooked the meal ends up at the end with half the food already gone.
Try this - invite the oldest to go first along those who cooked the meal. This is a way to HONOR age and service. It is ok for the kids to go at the end. Along the way, help your children understand the importance of esteeming others above self. This experience provides a valuable lesson and a good visual of honoring others and acting selflessly.
PREPARE for Extended Family
We love our families, but let's face it, when a lot of people get together we will often differ over certain subjects. These subjects might include politics, religion, or appropriateness of various actions, etc. Inevitably, your kids will ask about what they hear and see from others. I have found it best to be proactive in these cases instead of reactive. A conversation ahead of time that indicates some things they might hear, topics that can come up or actions they may see should be in order. You might say something like, "My child, while we believe that ________, not everyone does. You might hear some people at the gathering say ________. We love them and respect them, but here is why we believe what we believe. You should do this (or not do that) if you hear _______. If you see this particular action from other kids or adults, that is not permission to do the same thing. This is why we act in this manner."
These are opportunities for good Biblical lessons. Don't find yourself reacting or criticizing. Think ahead of time and prepare your kids for circumstances that can be challenging in large gatherings. Even challenging circumstances do not negate our Biblical responsibilities to love one another, to respect authority, to speak truth, and to raise our kids in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
I hope these few items taken from common Christmas occurrences can challenge you to be a proactive parent who seeks to instill Biblical values into the hearts and minds of your kids and to do it purposefully. Best wishes for a peaceful, joyful and worshipful Christmas celebrating the coming of our Lord to save us from our sins.