Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Keeping the Focus on Jesus in the Midst of Frosty & Rudolph

Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, and Santa are everywhere right now. Unless you live under a rock, it is impossible to avoid running right into them. They are at the grocery store, in people’s yards, and even the gas station! The first time my toddler laid eyes on Frosty the Snowman he became his biggest fan. These characters are fun, joyful and sweet. I have no problem with my children enjoying the songs, the laughter, and the imagination that come along with them; however, I do not want them to take over the true meaning of Christmas. 

Here is what we have done in our family this year to keep the real spirit of Christmas alive:
1.       In the original frosty the snowman movie, frosty says “happy birthday” every time he gets the magic hat back and comes to life. We tell our son that frosty is saying “happy birthday”, because it is Jesus’s birthday. We remind him that everyone is so happy that Jesus was born to save us all, that we all (even frosty) like to celebrate. My son now runs around with a frosty hat and puts it on his head saying, “happy birthday Jesus”!
2.       The Rudolph story is a great way to teach children the verse Ephesians 2:10. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). This verse helps children to learn that we are God’s work of art and that every child is perfect just the way God made them. Rudolph gets made fun of for looking different than all the other reindeer; however, his different looking red nose is there for a reason, to help Santa fly his sleigh!
3.       Who can resist Santa Clause? All children seem to love the plump little elf that lives at the North Pole. Although Santa pops up anytime you leave the house, his presence during the Advent season and on Christmas day is all what you make of it. There are many different ways to incorporate Santa into Christian homes. In our home, we don’t focus on Santa, however; we also don’t pretend he doesn’t exist. We tell our children that Santa brings presents to celebrate Jesus’s birthday. We keep Jesus first, and Santa second, by filling our play areas and bookshelves with more books about Jesus than about Santa.
4.       Having a nativity scene as a main part of your Christmas decorations is another great way to keep the real meaning of Christmas alive. We have been using the Fisher Price nativity scene this year, but any nativity scene that your children can safely play with will work!
5.       Celebrate advent. Advent involves the 4 weeks before Christmas when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus and prepare for Christ to come again. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate this wonderful time of year. Words cannot describe how much I have enjoyed reading Ann Voskamp’s family advent book, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas. Although my son is a little young to follow along with the discussion questions, he has enjoyed many of the family activities.  This book is just one of the many different ways that your family can celebrate advent. Your celebration can be as simple as lighting 4 candles, reading the Bible and praying together as a family, or serving those in need.  
6.       Christmas morning can get overwhelming with all the gift giving. One great, simple way to focus on Jesus on Christmas day is to have birthday cake or muffins and sing happy birthday to Jesus. Since my son was born on Christmas day, we have one birthday cake for Jesus, and one for him!

I hope these ideas have been helpful, and that your family can keep the focus on Jesus during this season of Advent, on Christmas day, and all year long. From my family to yours…Merry Christmas!

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