What If This Was Your Very First Christmas?


Welcome to our special series, “Keeping Christ at the Center of Your Holidays.”

Over the next few weeks, you get to enjoy the wonderful words of my amazing friends as they share with you creative and practical ways you can keep Christ in the middle of all of your celebrations.

Our prayer is that you will come to know Him, worship Him, enjoy Him, celebrate Him, and share Him with family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. People all around us need to know the love of Jesus.

May we all be bright “lights” this year – sharing hope to those who need it most!


Several years ago, we went on a hiking trip.

Our boys were 9, 6, and 3. We actually took the trip on our spring break, but right before we left, in an unusual turn of events, it started snowing in March.

Originally, we planned to camp, but we quickly changed our plans when snow began to fall. As a family of all boys (besides me), we love being outside…especially hiking.

This was the first time we had taken our youngest, Andrew. We didn’t hike long, but he was a trooper. Look at that sweet hiker?!?

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year; however, sometimes we forget that our young children are experiencing things for the very first time. To make the holidays special for the young and the old, here are some wonderful suggestions for families. Why not drop by to grab some fresh ideas?

Is he not the cutest?

One of my most vivid memories from that trip was saying,  “Come on Andrew. Let’s go, Buddy.”

He kept stopping and trying to touch to snow, look at the snow, step on the snow…anything. He was fascinated with the snow.

Later that night Fred and I were talking about our day of hiking.

We had hiked to a beautiful waterfall. We crossed cable bridges. We saw a beautiful snow-covered landscape. It was really a great day.

One thing kept sticking out to us though as we recapped the day…

“Hurry up, Andrew. Come on buddy. Let’s go pal. Keep walking Andrew.”

Over and over and over.

Then it hit us. Andrew had never seen snow.

He’d never touched it.

He’d never felt it under his shoes.

It was all new to him.

We were so concerned about the hike and the destination we missed the opportunities along the way for our youngest to experience the wonder of the snow.

So often, I think our time with our family at Christmas is much like this, especially for children.

We lose sight of opportunities along the way to share the simple truths of Christmas with our children because we are so focused on getting through the month.

Is there another month of the year where the Bible is discussed more?

Is there another month of the year where people are more open to loving their neighbor, spreading good cheer, and serving each other? (Nope.)

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year; however, sometimes we forget that our young children are experiencing things for the very first time. To make the holidays special for the young and the old, here are some wonderful suggestions for families. Why not drop by to grab some fresh ideas?

One Christmas, when my oldest two boys were 5 and 2, my Aunt Janice took them to an event at her church called “Bethlehem Breakfast.”

It was a simple pancake breakfast followed by a simple telling of the Christmas story.

Then, each person was given a calendar with different ideas for each day leading up to Christmas. There was always a small passage of scripture from the Bible to read and one small activity. We loved it.

I took the idea of that wonderful preschool minister, Carol Williams, and adapted it for our church at the time, Springhill Baptist Church.

This year, we’ll be carrying the tradition on at our current place of service.

The inspiration behind “Bethlehem Breakfast” does not have to be done with a church. You could gather a group of friends, neighbors, or just your own family.

At Springhill, we had a sign-up sheet for breakfast foods, met for breakfast, told the Christmas story, and then issued some kind of challenge.

Each year I tried to vary up the ideas.

Here’s a sample of a card we gave out as we shared these kind acts of service:

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year; however, sometimes we forget that our young children are experiencing things for the very first time. To make the holidays special for the young and the old, here are some wonderful suggestions for families. Why not drop by to grab some fresh ideas?


Some of the things we’ve done over the years include:

  • Read a passage of scripture each night regarding the Christmas story.
  • Discuss the characters in a simple Nativity set.
  • Look at the stars on a clear night and talk about the night Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Make cookies for our neighbors.
  • Pay for the car behind us in the drive thru.
  • Make cards for shut-ins.
  • Take pizza to the fire department.
  • Serve at a local food shelter.
  • Memorize a passage of scripture together.

(A great verse for children to memorize is Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”)

We always try to add things to our calendar that serve others, that show the love of Christ, that point our children toward Jesus’s sacrificial love.

Isn’t that what Christmas is about?

Jesus came as a baby to serve us.

He served while he was on earth, but ultimately he served by giving his life so that we could live.

Matthew 20”28 says, “The son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Your “Bethlehem Breakfast” doesn’t have to be a production or another thing added to your calendar.

It can be worked into your daily routine.

Here’s a sample calendar:

What If This Was Your First Year To Enjoy Christmas? - Melanie Redd

This would be living out Deuteronomy 11:19 when God tells the Israelites to “teach them to their children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road when you lie down, and when you get up.

This Christmas, make much of Jesus!

Be intentional about sharing the Christmas story with your children. Click To Tweet

Be intentional about scheduling activities that teach your children how to serve.

Don’t forget that they are new to this world.

This may be their first time to see the snow.


Thank you, Jennifer, for a wonderful post about our children’s perspectives of Christmas. Your story reminds us to allow our kids to enjoy the holidays and linger over the special moments! Sure, do appreciate you sharing your heart with us during this series.

You can stop by and visit with Jennifer at this LINK. Let her know I sent you!


Jennifer Shackelford:

Jennifer and her family live in the South. She and her husband, Fred, have three boys ages jennifer13, 10, and 7, and one unruly dog named Dash. Chaos2Peace is a blog designed to bring peace in the midst chaos by providing organizational tips, menu planning, simple recipes, and a whole lot of laughter. Join us on the blog today as we do life together, one step at a time.

You can connect with Jennifer: On her website – HEREOn Facebook – HEREOn Pinterest – HEREOn Twitter – HERE.

 


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© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About helloredds@gmail.com

Blessed wife of Randy for over 25 years, mom to two great college students, blogger, women's ministry coach, speaker and author who is amazed by God's grace-

5 thoughts on “What If This Was Your Very First Christmas?

  1. Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing such a cute and memorable post today!
    I love the Andrew story! And, your suggestions for making Christmas more meaningful are great!
    Sure am blessed by you~
    Melanie

  2. Adored your suggestions, Jennifer, and the darling story about Andrew. I am sending your blog along to my daughter who has three young girls. I think she could find so many creative ways to prepare them for Christmas through your suggestions.
    Blessings!

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