Santa was a HUGE part of my childhood and Christmas. I looked forward each year to all the getting that was to be had. I had LARGE lists. I combed the Sears catalog (toy section) and wrote out detailed lists. Year after year, I looked forward to Christmas morning. Each of us (my brothers and I) had a giant pile of loot from the big guy, overflowing stockings and, as if that wasn’t enough, we had wrapped presents under the tree from family. It was a big old get fest and I LOVED IT! My love language is gifts. I love giving and receiving. That’s how I show love.
But, as I look back, I realize that every year that I can remember, I was left wanting. I grew up in a church going home. We went to church on Christmas Eve… the late night service. I remember singing Christmas songs and the sanctuary being decorated. I don’t remember hearing about Jesus and why Christmas had anything to do with him. I mean… sure I knew that Christmas was celebrating Jesus’ birth. But something got lost in translation for me.
Santa ruined me y’all. I mean seriously. I am not ragging on people who celebrate Santa… I’m really not. When people groan at the fact that we don’t “do Santa” in our home with our kids and say things like “we did Santa and I turned out fine,” I smile at them. I know, though, deep down that I did not turn out fine. I have a lust for things that rears its head every Christmas. Try as I may each year to not think about the stuff and the commercialism, I cannot help but imagine what is coming my way Christmas morning. I have to be so intentional… so purposeful to focus on Jesus.
Please know that I am not judging those who include Santa in their Christmas celebration… maybe you handle it better than I ever did. I have a love- hate relationship with Christmas. I seriously love this time of year. I love the music, the decorations, the light, advent devotionals, the food… and the presents. I have had to learn as I get older how to be super intentional to focus on Jesus.
Here are some ways that we try to make Jesus central:
1. We celebrate Jesus year round. He is not a name that we only hear at Christmas.
2. Starting December 1st, we have a daily advent reading. We have done things like the Truth in Tinsel, Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent and this year- Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas (Jesse Tree)
3. Look for ways to serve: offer to babysit, invite people to dinner, do Operation Christmas Child, Blessings in Boxes, Angel Tree
4. Help with the Children’s nativity play at church- teach them that when they share the story of Christmas, they are worshipping Jesus and sharing the Gospel
5. Limit the presents. Our children don’t get a ton of stuff from us. We give them each a couple of presents and stockings.
6. Have a family tradition that starts your Christmas morning with the focus on Jesus. Each year, we make a pancake birthday cake for Jesus. We read the Christmas story, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and pray before any mention of presents is made.
How are you intentional with your Christmas celebration?