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5 Ways to Celebrate Jesus at Christmas with your Kids

29 Nov

Christ in Christmas

With all the holiday cheer, holiday baking, holiday shopping, holiday decorations, and holiday music, it is easy for us and our children to loose the real heart behind why we celebrate Christmas. I love all the typical Holiday stuff – Santa & the reindeer, Mariah Carey “All I want for Christmas”, the sparkle of the Christmas tree, and presents under the tree. But with in the midst of all the holiday magic, I strongly believe that our kids have got to know the purpose of why we are celebrating! If we are not intentional about sharing the “why behind the what” of Christmas, our kids can get swept away with Christmas lists and miss that Jesus is at the center of it all.

Here are 5 really practical ways to celebrate Jesus this year at Christmas….

1. Bake a Birthday Cake for Jesus!

Every kid loves a good birthday party! Little kids might not get the whole Jesus in the manager thing, but they understand that a birthday is reason to celebrate! What we have done in the past is sing “Happy Birthday to Jesus” at one of the meals of the day – we bake (or buy) a little cake, put a candle in it, and let the kids sing and blow out the candles. This is just one small but very fun way to keep bringing the focus back to Jesus.

2. Read the Christmas Story as a family!

Start a tradition of reading the story of Christmas as a family at some point on Christmas day. For my family we do it first thing Christmas morning before presents are opened. Before the wrapping paper gets shredded and ribbons start flying, we cuddle up as a family and read the story of Christmas from the Bible …. or from a Children’s Bible for us. Remind your children of the greatest gift of all – Jesus. Spend a moment to direct the attention back to Jesus and the “Reason for the season”.

3. Give Back

A mother’s nightmare is having the spirit of Christmas development greediness and self-focused children. We need to remind our kids that “God so loved the world that he GAVE his only Son”. A good remedy to overt the self-focus of our kids this year is to have them join us and be a part of giving back. Here are some great organizations that do great outreaches during the Christmas season: Operation Christmas Child, Toys for Tots,  Angel Tree, or local or church-based outreaches.

4. Make Your Nativity Set a Focal Point

It might seem like a really simple thing, but keeping one or two nativity sets as a focal point of our Christmas decor is a constant reminder to our children that Christmas is about Jesus. There is nothing wrong with the Santas, the snowmen, gingerbread houses, and Christmas trees, but if that decor is all our children see and baby Jesus in the manager is on display in low traffic areas…. our kids will subconsciously assume that Christmas is not about Jesus.

5. Talk with Your Kids about the “Reason for the Season”  

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, make sure to have age-appropriate heart-felt conversations about why we celebrate Christmas. Explain your heart and your gratitude for Jesus and ask you children to share what Christmas and Jesus being born means to them.

What about you? Are there any Christmas traditions that your family does to keep Christ in Christmas? Share your ideas by commenting below!

Motherhood: Did I sign-up for this?

6 Oct

Me? a mom?

I remember at the very end of my pregnancy with Ella, I had an interesting revelation.

I realized this: “I have always wanted to have kids… but I did not necessarily always want to be a ‘mom'”

It was at the end of my pregnancy with Ella that all the sudden my pregnant belly was drawing attention from a different crowd … and my identity was quickly shifting from a 20-something young professional …. to a “prego”!

You might be thinking, “having kids” and “being a mom” are the same thing. But somehow in my mind they were two very different things. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted kids – that was never a question. But, being a “mom” was a whole notha thing!

Any other young mom can understand what I am saying here. There is a big identity shift that happens when you go from being a young married woman or a young working professional to being a “mom”. Your entire life flips upside down and your entire identity shifts in what seems overnight.

You used to go out for coffee with friends frequently, get your nails done, and exercise whenever you wanted. Now as a mom, your hair is rarely fully done, a long shower feels like the spa, and you have to find a babysitter to exercise!!

Honestly, looking back  on my daughter’s first year of life – I think I had a mini (big) identity crisis. Because of the way I am wired, I get energized by accomplishing/achieving things … moving the “ball” down the court of life. So, when I cut my hours at work, lost “titles”, and slowed down my pace to be home with my baby a couple days a week… I had to redefine and revalue the things that filled my days.

When this transition into motherhood peaked, I thought …  “Lord, help!”. I realized I needed to find significance, purpose, and value in my new role as a mom and embrace the new sacrifices of that role.

To deal with this identity crisis, I had to find a scripture to stand on to base my identity (to be a target) in my new role as a new mom, and Psalm 113:19 hit home for me.

Psalm 113:9 – Like a joyful mother of children

Once I embraced that fact that I indeed was a “mom”, I wanted to make sure that when my kids were old and moved away from home that I could look back on my life as a mom and say that it was a joyful time…. that I fully embraced it and was joyful in the midst of it!

As moms, I do not think any of us knew exactly what we were signing up for. But when motherhood is embraced, it is indeed one of God’s most priceless and tender gifts.

Speak it!: Lord, I embrace the gift of motherhood. Help me to be a joyful mother of children. Help me to see the joy, humor, and blessing in every moment as a mom. I love you, Lord!

monkey see, monkey do

27 Jul

There is a phrase that says… monkey see, monkey do… and it is so true in the parent/child relationship.

As parents, we need to recognize and ask ourselves, “What lifestyle are we modeling for our children?” Without even knowing it, our kids will default to living in the same patterns that we model for them.

The Apostle Paul talks about how our lives are living epistles read by all men (2 Corinthians 3:2). That basically means that our lives are an open book that all men (including our children) watch to see how to live for God. We are the most influential people in our children’s lives. What lifestyles, behaviors, and attitudes are we modeling for them?

Are we creating Godly and life-bringing habits and patterns within our household?

Is God at the center of everything that we do…. from our morning routine, to how to treat each other, to the things we spend our time and money on…

How would the atmosphere of our home be described? tense or peaceful? faith-filled or full of worry? worshipful or self-focused? loving or conflict-filled? joyful or depressing?

Today, let’s not take the responsibility of parenting lightly and do a little self-evaluation on what we are modeling to our children.

Lord, help me to be the best possible example to my children as possible. I want to help my children form Godly and life-giving habits and patterns in their life, because of what they see in my life. I need your strength to do it! I receive your wisdom and strength now. I love you Lord, Amen.

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