Are you trying to find ways to keep Christ in Christmas this year?
I know we are!
In a world that tells us to be caught up in the hustle and bustle of finding the best sales and deals for Christmas gifts, it can be hard to remember that Christmas is really about Jesus!
I became strongly aware of this struggle thanks to my toddler.
It was the day we received our first Christmas toy ad from Target.
As she flipped through the ad, she pointed at almost every toy and said “I want that.”
Fast forward to a couple of days later when we are grocery shopping.
One of the aisle end caps is loaded with toys.
My toddler asks if I can park the shopping cart in front of the toys so she can look at them all while I go pick out produce.
I have never been more aware of the greed inside each of us than in that moment as I watched her desire every new toy her eyes saw.
And in those moments, I wanted something better for her.
Christmas is NOT about “Stuff”
I want her to know that all of these “things” that she is looking at and wishing for will never satisfy her.
There is only one thing, or rather one person, who will satisfy the longing that is in our heart, and He is Jesus.
I know, I know – her request for all the toys was made innocently.
I don’t really think that she understands that we don’t just go out and buy every toy and thing that our hearts desire.
But frankly, some of us adults need to hear that reminder because we DO know better.
Parents find themselves racking up credit card debt in order to buy their kids all the latest and greatest things that they want.
Or we frantically shop the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to find and buy things for OURSELVES.
I don’t want you to think that I’m saying shopping is bad or finding a good deal is wrong.
But when it consumes you and becomes more important than Jesus it is an IDOL.
So what can we do to break the cycle?
How can you make Christmas more about Jesus and less about “stuff”?
Desiring Christ Above Everything Else
I think back to when I was growing up and the popular phrase was “What Would Jesus Do.”
My heart sinks when I think about what He must think of all this Christmas craze for THINGS instead of HIM.
I don’t want Jesus to see that in me.
I want to have a desire for Christ above EVERYTHING ELSE.
And THAT’S what I want for my daughter too.
And there is no better time than Christmas for me to help teach this to her.
What Is Your Priority This Christmas?
Our kids are watching – again, I have never been more aware of this than I have been with my toddler.
They will see through our actions what the priority of Christmas is.
Are we dashing around shopping, decorating the house, baking Santa shaped cookies, waiting in line to see Santa, and arguing with our spouse about finances and timing of family get togethers?
Or are we prioritizing being at church, reading the Bible and the story of Christ’s birth, volunteering our time for those in need, and giving to charities?
Can you see how these two scenarios give Christmas two very different focuses?
Again, I’m not suggesting that there’s anything inherently wrong with shopping, decorating the house, baking cookies, or seeing Santa.
But I am saying that these things can take the focus off of Jesus and in turn send our kids and others around us the wrong message of what Christmas is really all about.
In a world that complains about how self-centered kids are becoming, perhaps we should take a step back and think about who they are getting that from.
They are getting that idea from US!
If we don’t teach kids that they aren’t the center of the world, then how will they know any better?!
This is why my family and yours NEEDS to keep Jesus as the focus this Christmas (and every day for that matter).
But let’s focus on the Christmas season since this is a time where our priorities are more easily flip-flopped than any other time of year.
How to Keep Christ in Christmas
So what are some ways that we can keep Christ in Christmas?
How do we show our kids, our extended family, our neighbors, our coworkers, and anyone else watching us that Christmas is about Christ?
This is going to look different for every family.
I will offer you some suggestions below, but first let’s take a step back and think about how your Christmas holiday normally goes.
What are some things you could do differently so that the message you are sending is that Christmas is first and foremost about Christ?
I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t do ANY “traditional” Christmas activities, but how can more of our focus be on Christ this Christmas?
How do we make Christ FIRST this Christmas?
1. Read the Story of Jesus’ Birth
There’s no easier way to focus on Christ this Christmas than by reading the story of His birth.
When I say read the story of Jesus’ birth, I don’t mean you should read a synopsis or someone else’s commentary on His birth.
And don’t just read the children’s story that takes a minute to read.
When I say you should read the story of Jesus’ birth, I mean you should read it straight from the Bible.
I know, I know – the full Christmas story is spread across the gospel and requires some page flipping.
But it is SO WORTH the time to read the whole story from the different gospels.
And I will help you out!
To read the whole story of Jesus’ birth, read it in this order suggested below!
The Biblical Story of the Birth of Christ
- Luke 1:26-38
- Luke 2:1-7
- Matthew 1:18-25
- Luke 2:8-21
- Matthew 2:1-12
- Mark 1:14-15
And when you choose to read the story of Jesus’ birth is totally up to you and your family, but I would highly recommend reading it together as a family on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
This helps bring the focus off of the gifts and back to Christ.
But don’t stop there!
Read the Bible together as a family regularly!
The Bible says that we should meditate on the Word of God day and night.
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Make reading the Word of God together as a family a habit!
And if you have young children, start with a children’s Bible and then progress to the actual Word of God as they get older.
2. Attend Church
While I would strongly urge you to attend church every single Sunday of the year, if you are not currently doing that, Christmas offers you a chance to start a new habit with your family.
Start regularly attending church this Christmas season.
The book of Hebrews says that regularly attending church is important so that Christians can help one another!
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
There’s no better time to start a habit of attending church than this Christmas!
And almost every church across America will offer a Christmas Eve service.
If you are a regular church attendee, invite a family member, coworker, or a neighbor to a Christmas Eve service with you!
Christmas is probably the time of year when someone is most likely to agree to attending church with you, so make the most of the opportunity!
I know I personally look forward to the Christmas Eve service every year as an extra opportunity to focus my heart on Christ for Christmas.
But attending church for just a Christmas Eve service, or just a few times a year, or even just when it’s convenient, is not enough to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus throughout the year.
And God knew this!
He created us for fellowship with other believers.
We are called to be in community, serving and helping one another through life’s hills and valleys!
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
As Christians, we are called to help carry one another’s burdens, and what better way to do that than through the body of Christ!
And this is the example we see in the early church.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
They DEVOTED themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer.
If that doesn’t sound like God calling us to be devoted to attending church, I don’t know what does!!
I urge you to find a church home and become connected in community with other believers and to remain faithful to regularly attending church!
Attending church is a great way to not just focus on Christ during the Christmas season but throughout the whole year!
3. Shop the Holiday Sales for Others
For anyone who enjoys shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, perhaps you could take the focus off of getting gifts for yourself and your family and look for deals for those in need.
This can also be a fun way to get your whole family involved with giving to others.
Growing up, our family would fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, one of many organizations collecting toys, clothes, and other items for those in need.
Many churches collect items to help out families in your community.
Our church did something different this year and collected household items for families, such as paper towel, toilet paper, diapers, wipes, etc. so that the parents would have extra money to buy Christmas gifts for their kids.
Some churches collect new toys and let families come “Christmas shop” at the church for Christmas gifts.
Here are a few suggestions of organizations that collect new items to give to others:
- Operation Christmas Child
- Prison Fellowship Angel Tree
- Salvation Army Angel Tree
- Operation Christmas Spirit
- Marine Toys for Tots
For other ideas of places to check for toy, clothing, and food drives this Christmas season, try contacting one of these:
- Your Church
- Local Schools
- Local Hospitals
- Homeless Shelters
Why does buying things for other people help keep Christ in Christmas?
Because Christ himself urged us to give!
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Just as God loves us and gave Himself up for us, He in turn calls us to be generous and sacrificial like He was!
4. Donate Money
Many organizations rely on people’s extra generosity during the holiday season to help them serve the community throughout the year.
I personally love supporting Christian ministries that use the donations to not just help meet physical needs, but also to help other organizations that will use it as an opportunity to share the love of Jesus.
Our family supports a couple of children through Compassion International throughout the year.
We also enjoy giving extra during the holiday season to Samaritan’s Purse through their giving catalog.
This year we let our toddler help pick out the gifts that we would donate.
She was so excited to tell other people about the goats and chickens we sent to people in need!
This is the beauty of letting your kids be involved so they can see that there are people around the world that don’t even have their basic needs met!
It helps open their eyes to the abundance they already have!
But find an organization that you connect with and support them during the holiday season with a monetary donation if your budget can support it!
Here are some organizations you might be interested in donating to this Christmas season!
- Samaritan’s Purse
- Compassion International
- Save the Children
- World Vision
- Trees for Troops
- Ronald McDonald House
God has called us to be generous to those less fortunate!
17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward them for what they have done.
Giving financially is one of the ways that we can help the poor!
5. Donate Items
And just because you don’t have money to buy new items doesn’t mean that you can’t still give generously to others this Christmas season!
Consider donating gently used items to a local shelter or organization serving those in need.
Different organizations need everything from the commonly thought of clothes and food to more odd requests like old cell phones and even cars!
It’s hard for me to list off places for you to donate things locally, but it’s very easy to find places with a quick search online!
Just type in “local donations in X” and type in whatever city you live in (instead of “X”).
Once again though, for a general idea on places to look for to give donations, check out:
- Your Church
- Local Schools
- Local Hospitals
- Homeless Shelters
And please remember that God wants us to be cheerful about giving and not give out of guilt.
More important than WHAT we give is our ATTITUDE about giving.
2 Corinthians 9:7
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
This verse can help you have the right attitude as you look at the things that you have and are trying to decide what you can donate.
Remember the abundance that God has blessed you with and out of a heart of thankfulness, choose to share God’s love with others through the donation of items you don’t use or no longer need.
6. Volunteer Your Time
For another idea that won’t cost you any money, consider volunteering your time!
Volunteer your time at church, a shelter, or another event serving others this Christmas.
Visit a nursing home and spend time with the residents.
Organize a small group of people to go sing Christmas carols through the halls of a children’s hospital or nursing home!
Check with your church to see if there is anyone in the congregation that could use a helping hand around their house.
Perhaps you could vacuum some floors for an elderly person, take a meal to a single parent, or help someone who is disabled put up their Christmas tree.
There are so many creative ways that you can volunteer your time, especially around Christmas.
And just because you can’t give gifts or give monetarily doesn’t mean that you should feel bad!
Giving your time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give!
Remember, this is what the church is supposed to look like – helping one another in our times of need!
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
This verse is a great reminder that we don’t have to give lavish gifts to be the hands and feet of Jesus!
Inviting strangers into our homes, looking after the sick, and even visiting those in prison are all ways listed in this verse that we can do the will of God without needing any money.
7. Make Nativity Themed Cookies
One of the most common Christmas traditions is making cookies!
But what if this year instead of Santas and Gingerbread men you made nativity themed cookies?!
Your cookie baking time could become a devotional time where you and your kids reflect on the birth of Jesus.
Check out this Nativity Story Cookie Cutter Set from Lighthouse Christian Products which comes WITH devotional notes for each cookie cutter!
And on top of that, your purchase from Lighthouse Christian Products helps support orphans and children with special needs in Ghana, Africa.
I mean, how cool is that?
As parents, we are called to teach our children in the way they should go.
6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
This means turning every opportunity we have with our kids into a chance to build up and encourage their faith.
So why not use making Christmas cookies as a chance to train them in the way they should go!
Better yet, have them invite friends over to help and use it as a chance to witness to their friends!
Or share nativity shaped cookies with neighbors, co-workers, those in nursing homes, or those in the hospital!
That’s what I call Christmas cookies with a purpose!
8. Listen to Christian Christmas Music
Another classic Christmas tradition is listening to Christmas music.
So why not listen to Christmas songs that are about Christ instead of about Santa?
And no, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with listening to Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman.
In fact, these are the two Christmas songs my toddler knows best and belts out at the top of her lungs.
But do I want these to be the only two Christmas songs she knows?
Do I want her to think that Christmas is about Frosty the Snowman?
So at night when I put her to bed and she asks for me to sing her Christmas songs, I choose to sing songs about Christ!
And last night she was actually getting some of the words to “Silent Night” and she could hum almost the whole tune!
Being intentional is worth it!
Wonderful classic Christmas songs about Christ that you probably know by heart and could sing with your kids include:
- “Silent Night! Holy Night!”
- “Away In A Manger”
- “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
- “What Child Is This?”
- “The First Noel”
- “Joy To The World”
- “Angels We Have Heard On High”
- “O Come All Ye Faithful”
- “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”
- “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”
Obviously there are A LOT more Christmas songs about Jesus than this, but I tried to list some of the more popular songs that you might already know by heart.
And when you sing these Christmas songs, sing them as praise to Christ!
1 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
So sing Christian Christmas songs as praise to Him!
This verse says to tell of His wonderful acts – there is no greater act that He has done than to be born as a baby and grow up to die for us on the cross!
As you sing, think about how amazing it is that God came to Earth as a baby, knowing that he would be mocked and crucified!
How wonderful is our God?!
Praise God for the gift of Jesus on that blessed Christmas night!
9. For Kids: Find Christ Centered Christmas Books
My daughter LOVES reading books.
We’ve taken a few trips to the library now and have gotten loads of Christmas books.
Sure, some are about Santa and Rudolf.
But I’m always on the lookout for books about the birth of Jesus!
As I mentioned above, as parents it is so important to be intentional with our children!
19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
I find that reading books about Jesus is a great way to “talk about them when you sit at home!”
One of my new favorite Christmas books to read to my daughter is “What Is Christmas?” by Michele Medlock Adams.
This story does a great job of going through and asking the child if Christmas is about Christmas traditions like baking cookies, writing Christmas cards, singing Christmas carols, or hanging Christmas lights.
Then it asks if those things are why we celebrate Christmas.
And at the end it clearly states that all of those things are nice, but that Jesus is the real reason why we celebrate Christmas!
This is the message I want to send!
All of these other things are fun and nice, but the birth of Christ is why we celebrate Christmas!
A really fun idea is to select 25 Christmas books about Christ and have your kids read one each day in December leading up to Christmas.
I might have to start collecting Christ-based Christmas books so that I can do this with my kids!
Another choice is to purchase something like The Advent Storybook: 25 Bible stories Showing Why Jesus Came by Laura Richie!
It starts in Genesis and has stories throughout the Old Testament leading up to the birth of Christ.
The stories are meant to help your child see God’s plan woven throughout the story of the whole Bible.
And each day there is a question at the end of the reading to discuss with your child.
It’s a wonderful book and definitely keeps the focus on Christ for Christmas!
10. Literally Give the Gift of Jesus
To drive home the point that Christmas is about Christ, why not make the first gift opened on Christmas morning be Jesus?
And you can get creative with this!
If you are doing the 25 Christmas books idea that I just mentioned above, start your Christmas morning with the last of the Christ-centered Christmas books!
Preferably, it would be a book that is basically a story about the birth of Christ.
But it doesn’t have to be a book!
Wrap up a picture or figurine of Jesus to remind your family that Jesus is the greatest gift we have ever received.
Instead of opening other gifts right away, reflect as a family on all of the blessings that God has given you and say a prayer of thanksgiving to start your Christmas morning!
2 Corinthians 9:15
15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
11. Have a Birthday Party for Jesus
While our family has never had a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas day, I do think it is a really neat idea, especially if you have smaller kids.
My daughter is all about birthdays right now and singing “Happy Birthday.”
So why not have a birthday celebration for Jesus?
I think it sends a beautiful message that the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is to be CELEBRATED!
Our King has come!
This is something we should be JOYFUL about!
We should have hearts filled with praise!
This was the response the angels had at the first “Christmas” (yes I realize we don’t know the exact day Jesus was born).
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
So why not have a party in celebration of the birth of our King?
If that looks like a birthday party with cake and a joyfully sung round of “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, I think that is a fun way to remember Christ’s birth!
And it definitely keeps Christ as the focus of Christmas!
12. Send Christmas Cards
When sending cards out for the holidays, instead of saying “Happy Holidays”, make sure your card says “Merry Christmas!”
Even better, send a Bible verse about the birth of Christ on your cards!
This could be the only Bible verse someone you are sending a card to might see all year!
If you need some ideas on a Bible verse to include, check out this list of 75 Christmas Verses for Cards from Shutterfly.
I know what some of you might be thinking – I can’t say Merry Christmas and send out Bible verses, people might get offended!
Frankly, we need to stop being so concerned about offending other people.
Christians aren’t called to be politically correct, we are called to share the Good News to everyone!
And there’s no better way to do that than to acknowledge God before men!
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
So let’s not worry so much about if people will be offended if you say Merry Christmas.
In fact, be sure to say Merry Christmas to anyone you cross paths with!
Cashiers, grocery baggers, people holding open doors – spread the love of Christ this Christmas with a joyful Merry Christmas!
And speaking of strangers, you can also send cards to people you don’t know to spread the Good News at Christmas time!
Do you randomly get free cards in the mail?
Or perhaps you enjoy making handmade cards?
Why not use them to spread some Christmas cheer and the hope of Jesus to others?
Look out for local opportunities to send cards to hospitals or prisons.
You can also look for opportunities to send cards to troops!
There’s no better time to tell people about the Good News of Christ than around Christmas time!
This is the same response the shepherds had once they had found Jesus!
Check it out!
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
So let’s be like the shepherds this year and spread the word about Jesus!
How Will You Keep Christmas About Christ?
Well, those are my 12 suggestions on how you can keep your Christmas focused on Christ this year!
Do you have any other ways to keep your heart, mind, and actions centered on Christ at Christmas?
If so, please share below in the comments!
Merry Christmas to you!
May it be a wonderful time for you and your family to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior!