We have had an unseasonably warm fall here in Minnesota, something that has been such a gift this year. So it has been hard for me to get in the “Holiday” mindset. Maybe it is the impending blizzard watch we are under for later in the week or the fact that every store is decorated for Christmas, but thoughts of Christmas were on my mind this morning.
I was remembering the times we spent at my grandparent’s home and how before we opened any gifts on Christmas Eve my grandpa would pause and read us the Christmas story. As a child, I was filled with the excitement and anticipation of what was in the packages under the tree …not of the miracle of Christ’s birth.
But my grandpa recognized something that I now understand more deeply myself…the season should be a celebration of the amazing gift God sent for all of humanity.
I try and put myself in the place of those we read about in Luke 2. How must Mary have felt, carrying the Son of God inside her? What was the journey like that the wise men took to travel incredible distances to bring gifts to Jesus?
Or the shepherds, have you ever thought about the shepherds?
Typically the shepherd was kind of the low man on the totem poll. They spent their days and nights out in the field with sheep. And yet God sent His angels to the shepherds so that He could announce the coming Christ child.
Luke 2 paints a beautiful picture for us:
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[d]
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
As a parent, I would love for my kids to see the wonder of Christmas in the birth of Christ and not just in the gifts laying under the tree.
With wish lists and toy guides and elf-on-the-shelf, often Christmas loses its focus on Christ pretty quickly. So we have to be intentional during the Advent season to bring things back into a right focus.
One of the ways we will be doing that this season is with Dayspring’s Shepherd on the Search kit. In the kit is a book, a small shepherd doll and a box that creates a manger scene. The book tells the kids the journey the shepherd will be on throughout the month of December.
Inviting the kids to go on a journey of their own, each morning the kids will search for where the shepherd might be. His final destination is the stable on Christmas Eve. One of the things that I loved about this kit was that Dayspring has a website specifically dedicated to sharing ideas on how you can incorporate this kit in your day to day life.
This is a fun, yet focused way that you can incorporate the anticipation and celebration of Christ’s birth every day during the Advent season.
Dayspring also has a Christmas CD that features kids singing some of our favorite Christmas Carols! What a wonderful way to create a worshipful environment all season long!
The excitement of presents and new toys will always be something our kids will have, but my hope is that with a daily focus on the miracle of Jesus, we will help establish them a love for the true meaning of the Season.
What are some of the ways you keep Christ present in the Christmas season for your kids? I’d love to hear your ideas!
I was provided the Shepherd on the Search kit for free from Dayspring in exchange for my honest review. All stories and opinions are my own.