Throughout our official homeschooling years, holidays always presented the same dilemma: How could we truly use them as a time to focus on the Lord instead of getting lost in all the worldly trappings?
Opinions on how we should (or if we should) celebrate Christmas vary drastically among Christians. Some have huge celebrations, while others have virtually no celebration at all. Some of us glow with excitement when we think of the holidays, some of us cringe, and some of us don’t know what to do or think of it all. But regardless of your personal view or participation in Christmas, this time of year provides special opportunities for you as a teacher.
After all, like it or not, the sights and sounds of the holidays fill the air, so to speak. It is impossible to go anywhere or do anything without observing the changes in the environment around us. Why not take advantage of the season’s uniqueness to explore with your children new depths of God’s truths? There are hundreds of ways to use the season as a training tool with your children.
If you’re wondering where you could find time for this, let me just assure you that taking advantage of the season doesn’t have to take a lot of time. What you do can be adjusted to fit the time God has given you. I’ve also found that I often need to readjust my priorities so that I can spend the time I need on what’s really important–God’s kingdom.
Below are a few ideas to get you thinking about teaching God’s truths to your children in new and refreshing ways through the Christmas season. Of course, they are just ideas. As you read them, ask God to help you think of what might work for your family.
Christmas Bible Ideas
- Doing simple plays and skits using old sheets as costumes can often help bring the Christmas story and its meaning to life. Younger children can act out the Christmas Story while Dad reads it aloud. Older children can design their own plays or compile the parts so that they can each read their character. Plays don’t have to be church productions to be meaningful.
- Evaluate how to decorate your home and consider putting up your Christmas decorations slowly as you reflect on their significance. For example, pull out one character of your nativity scene a day, and read about/think about that character’s response to Christmas as you do. Ask God, How did this person respond to your message? And then, How am I responding to your message?
- Do some sort of devotional as a family each day to help you prepare for Christmas. Devotionals can take on many different shapes or sizes. A friend once brought us twenty-five “advent bags” to use as we prepared for Christmas. Each bag contained a scripture and short thought, along with a tiny gift for the children. We opened one bag a day throughout the month of December–the children loved it! You could also make up a devotional to go along with your decorations. We once looked at Jesus being our King and decorated with a throne in our living room. See some other ideas here. We’ve also produced a Christmas devotional perfect for homeschoolers and families that traces God’s plan of redemption from the very beginning of time and comes with a little book for the children to make (it includes stickers and a gold pen!). I highly recommend it to you all–we designed it to only take a few minutes each day, but to be meaningful and something the whole family could use together.
- Examine your Christmas traditions, prayerfully asking the Lord how He would have you simplify and restructure them. We found that we were doing many things just because we’d always done them that, when removed, freed us up to focus more on the Lord and using the holiday as a ministry. He gradually had us lay aside the Christmas tree and presents–and we have not missed them a bit! Click here to read an article about some of the different ideas God has given us over the years to help us celebrate in different and meaningful ways.
- Holiday family devotionals –
Our holiday devotionals are designed to provide you with a fun and meaningful way to take advantage of the holidays to draw closer to the Lord. Each of the devotionals comes as a set that includes an easy yet meaningful craft for children to complete as they listen. For example, in our Christmas devotional, children make their own little books by coloring/adding a sticker every day.
Everything comes included in the kit, meaning there’s no preparation necessary on the part of the parent. These devotionals are truly easy to use, uplifting, and fun!
- Holiday Chat on Mom-to-Mom Radio Show My daughter, Katherine, and I were interviewed on the show and discussed holiday devotionals and more! You can download the MP3 of the show here.
- Traditions and Opportunities – An article reflecting back on some of the different things we did over the years to help us take advantage of the opportunities the Christmas season provides.
While the above suggestions and resources only scratch the surface of the limitless possibilities of ways you can teach your children through the Christmas season, I hope they will get you started. Be sure to ask God how to use the Christmas season to teach your children more about Him. That is what you really want them to learn.
–By Cris Loop
This article was adapted from a homeschool tip published in Christian Perspective’s November 2004 newsletter. Be sure to sign up to receive Christian Perspective’s e-newsletters each month, and check out our family-friendly Christmas devotional!