At midnight I let him open all his gifts on Christmas Eve with my side of the family, but Christmas morning was reserved intimately for just our family of three. I made sure he would open our gifts to him with nobody else around but us. His papa got him LEGOs, which is his current fascination. Of course, he was more than happy to receive them. Especially that he was opening them after a breakfast of cookies and hot chocolate! (Sweet Christmas, yes?)
We could have ended the day there as I can see my boy is happy, and that we successfully communicated our love and appreciation for him by obviously spending time and thought on the boy. But my husband and I think that affirmation isn’t the only thing a person needs. Even at Christmas time, we stand by our belief and decision that the best gift we could ever get anyone is the effort to bring him/her to Jesus.
As a mother, I feel this even more. Never mind the LEGOs, the cookies, the presents, but I must give my son Jesus the best way I can.
So if you are a mom of a young child and are looking for a tradition, let me share with you what we did for Philip on Christmas day. It was actually simple.
My husband just did a yearend review for our family. He created a visual presentation (powerpoint or keynote would do; you can also print out if you want to!), filled it with all our photos from the beginning of the year to December, and we started to think of all the happy moments or our highlights through the last 12 months. We encouraged Philip to participate and these were some of the things he remembered:
“Japan! I ate the snow!”
“Istanbul! I ate Turkish Delight!”
“South Africa, the penguins made pupu!”
And because my son himself was getting all giddy with the memories that we felt like it was a great time to bring him back to the point and center of it all. We ended the presentation with a picture of the Nativity scene. We asked him what that was and he said, “It’s baby Jesus.”
A tip: prior to this tradition, introduce him to Christmas via books, videos, stories. I realized that when Jesus came as a baby he also became such a relatable figure to kids! Children resonate with small people and Philip always says baby Jesus in such an endearing manner. It is amazing how God has made His big story so friendly and understandable even for small people.
Anyway, back to the tradition. So Philip recognized Jesus and we took the opportunity to say that “This entire year, the snow, Turkish Delight, Penguins, was only possible because of Jesus. He gave us everything, Philip. So we have to pray and thank Him today, on His birthday.”
And then my husband ended with a picture of Jesus with a hole in his hand. When Philip saw that he looked at his hands and mine to see if we also had holes. And his dad told him that, “You know we don’t have holes in our hands because Jesus bore them for us.”
Then, we closed with a simple prayer.
Did my son understand that? I am not sure, really. Was it worth it? Yes, I surely think so. Like I said, God made his story to be so plain for all of us, yes, plain enough even for young and growing minds. The baby in the manger and the hole in His hands were more than enough to introduce my child to the best gift of all.
I think it also is good to know that we cannot give him everything all at once, but every effort that leads him to Jesus are already great and mighty steps! Like what my wise mother-in-law said last night, “Every Christmas builds on the last.” This is just the first, and who knows maybe sometime next year, we can speak to him more about the hole and being whole in Jesus.
But I pray that you won’t let this opportune season pass without speaking to them about it. After all, Christmas without CHRIST would be utterly meaningless.
I am pretty sure that so many parents out there also have creative ideas! My mother-in-law lights a candle atop a birthday cake and sings happy birthday Jesus at noche buena.
How about you? How do you make Jesus evident in your young child/ren’s life every Christmas time? Please share at the comments section below!!!