I have a vision in my head of the perfect Christmas. I’m not sure when it was planted in my brain – maybe in my late teens or early twenties when I began to imagine what my grown-up, married life would look like.
You might be able to relate to my vision or have a similar one – the whole family in matching pajamas, a beautifully decorated tree, Christmas music playing in the background while the kids cheerfully decorate cookies, sending out adorable Christmas cards with a picture of the family in coordinating outfits adorning each one, everyone receiving exactly the gifts they wanted, and then some.
Yeah, that vision has never become a reality for me. I’ve stopped sending Christmas cards; probably about 10 years ago. Our family has never had matching pajamas (but I was so close to getting them this year). I usually have to insist on the Christmas music being played and the kids usually end up fighting over helping with the cookies (when you have 8 kids, the kids have to take turns helping mommy so she doesn’t go crazy).
We didn’t even put the Christmas tree up this year; I just don’t have the energy this year to constantly guard the tree from a 16-month-old. The wreath never made it onto the door either. And I hope everyone likes their gifts this year; I really had a hard time picking them out because there really wasn’t anything that anyone really wanted and there definitely wasn’t anything they needed.
Have you ever woken up on December 26th (or gone to bed after a busy day on December 25th) and have a feeling of discontentment overwhelm you? The sadness of Christmas being over and feeling that something was missing or forgotten? Yup, me too.
And you know what was missing? Jesus.
There have been far too many Christmases where I was too concerned about buying the perfect gifts, too worried about the decorations being just right, and too busy with parties, shopping, and other activities, that Jesus was left in the background. Sure we had our nativity scene up and the kids know the reason we celebrate Christmas, but that was about it. Our Christmases were NOT Christ-centered.
And while I’m still a work in progress, and probably always will be, our Christmases have shifted from being more about temporary things to being more about eternal things.
Our focus is on Jesus. He is the key to having the perfect Christmas.
If He is at the center of it all, if He is at the heart of Christmas, then it can’t be anything but perfect.
As I sit here writing this, Christmas is three days away. I still don’t have all of the gifts bought, and none of the ones I have bought are wrapped. We are having company over this weekend and our house is a mess (and that’s putting it lightly). We will be spending Christmas away from both sets of our parents, and this might be the last Christmas we celebrate with my brother-in-law. Sounds like the perfect Christmas, doesn’t it?
Well, it is! Because God has already given us His unspeakably amazing Gift – the best Christmas Gift we could ever receive – our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. And what’s even more wonderful is that we can enjoy this gift everyday of the year, not just at Christmas time.
I know that it can be easier said than done, so if you need some help and ideas for ways to keep Christ at the center of your Christmas celebrations and activities, here are some suggestions:
Here is a list of 20 Christ-Centered Christmas storybooks that will make excellent editions to your Christmas storybook library. The books on this list are some of our favorites, some that we are planning on reading for the first time this year, and some that have been recommended to us.
This is the latest thing we are incorporating into our Christmas activities. We love reading Christmas books together, so when we read nativity books, the kids can take out our nativity story stones and play with them (and stay focused) as I read to them.
I have created a list of faith building Christmas gifts for kids to give this Christmas. I am always on the hunt for Faith-Based gifts that help reinforce the true meaning of the holidays and that will help us celebrate our faith!
This printable nativity bundle includes activities that are a great way for the family to come together, have fun, and focus on the true reason for the season! It includes Nativity Bingo, Nativity Memory, Nativity Story Scripture Copywork, and Nativity Stick Puppets.
Advent is the time leading up to Christmas Day where we anticipate the celebrating of Christ’s birth. Many people celebrate this period with advent calendars, activities, and Scripture reading. Focus on the Family has some FREE advent calendars and resources you can use to do this with your family. Or you could do a quick search on Pinterest for free printables and resources as well.
Find Christ-Centered Christmas Decor & Gifts Here:
Fisher-Price Little People A Christmas StoryLED Flameless Nativity Candles – Set of 3Nativity Playset for Children 19 Pieces by BibleToys. Includes Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus. Christmas Toys for ChildrenMelissa & Doug Classic Wooden Christmas Nativity Set With 4-Piece Stable and 11 Wooden FiguresFisher-Price Little People NativityPLAYMOBIL Nativity Stable with MangerKurt Adler 11-Piece Nativity SetThe Nativity StoryThe NativityOutdoor Nativity Store Holy Family Outdoor Nativity Set (Large, Color)EasyGo Large Outdoor Nativity Scene – Large Christmas Yard Decoration Set and Reusable For Many Years!!Winter Wonderland Holiday Nativity Set LED ProjectorNativity Shadow BoxChristmas Holiday Nativity Mason Jar Decal Sticker Set – 24 Sheets2 Dozen (24) Make a NATIVITY SCENE Sticker Sheets Religious Education – VBS CHRISTMAS Party Classroom Activity FAVORS – Holiday GIVEAWAY by OTCCelebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas: Seven Traditions to Lead Us Closer to the SaviorCelebrating a Christ-centered Christmas: Children’s EditionA December To Remember: Creating Christ-Centered Family TraditionsA Christ Centered ChristmasJoy to the World: A Devotional Journal for AdventHow to Create a Christ-Centered Christmas for Your Kids: Practical, Hands-On Activities to Help Your Child Focus on Christ at Christmas12 Gifts for Christ: Traditions, Activities, and Devotionals for a Christ-Centered Christmas12-Day Nativity: Christmas Activities for a Christ-Centered HomeDiscovering the True Spirit of Christmas: Fifteen Minutes a day to a Christ-centered ChristmasChristmas: It’s Jesus’ Birthday, Not Yours (30 Day Devotional Series)Teaching the Gifts of Christmas: A Christ Centered Family Christmas Time TraditionChristmas Without Santa Creating a Christ-Centered Christmas