The Christmas struggle is real. Commercialism runs rampant. We want to shower our children with gifts, but don’t want them to turn into entitled brats. We want them to grow up with hearts that value giving instead of only receiving. And most of all, we want Jesus to remain at the center of all we do this holiday season. But how?
Let me share we you our family’s tradition that’s been going strong for over a decade. It helps us to keep first things first each Christmas, centering us on what we’re truly celebrating.
Each year, I cut out paper hearts for all of us to decorate. Each family member colors a heart, front and back, for “baby Jesus”. We know He isn’t a baby anymore, but we place our hearts before Him in His manger on Christmas morning.
Each child (and parent) decorates their hearts differently, and differently from year to year, but each is an expression of individuality and gratitude. The paper heart is an expression of what He truly wants from us for Christmas, or any day, our heart. However we can express our love for Him, we do it there. And we place it before Him.
We decorate and give Him our hearts before we open any presents on Christmas morning. Before any stockings are unstuffed. Before any other festivities. He comes first. He deserves all our love.
The children look forward to this every year.
And I’ve kept all of these hearts in a memory box, just as He’s kept all of our love in His book of remembrance.
The children also put on a naivety play for us every year (very entertaining), we read the gospel account together, make Jesus a birthday cake, and watch The Nativity Story. Together, these traditions help us to keep our eyes on Jesus as the true reason for the season.
How do you keep Him first in your Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear about it.
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I love this tradition of yours! I hope to get bold enough to rewrite our Christmas day traditions next year.
This year, we stuck with our Famoly Advent Devotional, even though it meant often doing 2 or even 3 a day on the days the boys were with me to keep up from the days their father has them. It is Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift family advent Devotional. She traces Jesus’s adopted genealogy in a stunning but simple way, relating every person’s story back to us and back to Jesus and you hang “Jesse Tree” ornaments that represent each person’s story up each day. It usually has an activity to do, focused on returning to gifting our hearts back to Jesus and showing His love to those around us.