With all the busyness of this time of year, it would be easy to miss the greatest gift and the real reason we celebrate Christmas—Christ. As Ann Voskamp says, “Christ came into the world for you—and you came into the world for Him.” What a profound observation!
Every year, I make sure that my family and I focus on Jesus so that in the extra activities that fill our December schedule, we don’t miss Christ in Christmas. It would be a terrible shame to overlook the most important aspect of the holiday. This focus is included in homeschool and in family time.
This year, I chose to include Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift in our December homeschool devotions. Her way of looking at things is so fresh and true and relatable. I appreciated how she wove the relevance of Old Testament stories with the birth and resurrection of Christ and how she encouraged us to dig deeper. Suggestions for application of her Advent daily devotions are included at the end of each. We hung up the paper ornaments as we rediscovered the culmination of the prophecies. The book is beautifully put together. Voskamp has an amazing talent for presenting an issue through a new focus while touching our hearts with common experiences.
This year, we also revisited the history of certain Christmas carols in the book, O Come, All Ye Faithful by Joni Eareckson Tada, John MacArthur, and Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth. It was interesting to learn what the songs mean, to learn the history or origin of the songs, and to share in memories about the songs. We listened to the accompanying CD and often sang along.
For years in homeschool, we memorized Luke 2:1-20, then extended the verses to Mathew 1:18-24, 2:1-16, and Luke 1:26-38. Now, we don’t need to read the Christmas story on Christmas morning. Instead, we listen as children recite the story, and I follow along in case someone needs a prompting, which rarely occurs. Of course, this year, I only have one child refreshing her memory during school.
In the past, as a family, we have read different Christmas stories each night and followed an Advent calendar. We’ve enjoyed various movies and baked special treats.
Together we continue our traditions of lighting the crèche in front of our house, praying over the Christmas cards and letters we receive, eating a birthday cake for Jesus, and watching the Nativity Story movie. Little moments add up. I think it is all the little activities together that make up the big place in our hearts for making it as special as we can.
As the children grow up, life changes. We still have a stack of Christmas children’s books and our favorite movies. I’m sure one day, we’ll have little people to snuggle up with to share the stories with again, and the movies will be fresh and new because we share them with people who are seeing them for the first time. Our lives never stay the same, but our deep love for what matters to us remains steadfast.
How have your celebrations changed over the years? What is something new you added to your celebration this year? How do you keep your focus on Jesus?
Well, Merry Christmas! May your love for Jesus and for your loved ones shine bright this season and throughout the coming year!