Christmas · Faith · Faith at Home · Motherhood

A Life-Giving Christmas {Guest Post}

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focus on Christ. Here are some more ways that you can remember the real reason for the season. #christmas #christian #christinchristmas #jesus #happybirthdayjesus”>

Blue with gold glitter A Life giving Christmasfocus on Christ. Here are some more ways that you can remember the real reason for the season. #christmas #christian #christinchristmas #jesus #happybirthdayjesus”>

Christmas is one way that brings up many ways to talk about faith at home and lay the foundations for our children’s faith. A couple of years ago I shared a few ways that our family is intentional about making Christ the center of Christmas, and I am very excited to share some more in this guest post by the lovely Beth Runkle.

A Life Giving Christmas

I plopped down on the couch to rest for a moment while my kids were napping. Just as I was sipping the last of my mid-afternoon coffee, I heard a pitter-patter across the floor of my entryway as my four-year old son skipped on his tip-toes.

“Mommy, wake up Gracie!” he begged. “It’s time to open the book box, and it’s my turn.” He grinned from ear-to-ear.

I smiled, gently placed my finger over my lips, and whispered, “Shh! Give me just a couple minutes more before I wake your sister. Let’s look at one of the books we opened earlier this week and see if you can remember the story.”

Moments later, my kids were hopping eagerly next to the Christmas tree which was lit with a melody of pastel colors and covered with handmade ornaments. Under the tree was a single package.

This box contained a material item, but that is not what gave it value. It was the intangible blessings associated with the package. The container was a simple plastic-coated box printed to appear like a wrapped Christmas present. Inside, was a story about Jesus’ entrance into the world.

Each day my children took turns opening the special container and gathering the jewel inside. The tale was a gift of time, warmth, and joy. It contained the undeniable favor of the message of the good news of Jesus Christ.

I settled onto the sofa and gathered my precious children around me.

“Read it Mommy, hurry!” begged my son.

I smiled as I opened the cover to read of the first Christmas, told from the creatively- imagined perspective of the animals that witnessed the birth of the Christ-child. I and my sweet blessings read the story once and then again as the little toddler with pigtails wrapped with pink bows plead, “Again, again!”

Centering Your Christmas on Christ

All of this anticipation, excitement, and pleasure was focused on celebrating the entrance of our Savior into the world. During a month when the attention of many adults and families is largely focused on the fat little man in the red suit, all of this enthusiasm was centered around our Lord and Savior.

No matter how you enjoy your December, you can create memorable traditions that are steeped in the long-term satisfaction of knowing Jesus. You can generate warm memories for you or your children just like the true snippet of my life I shared above.

Empty Christmas Traditions

Although I was raised in a loving home, my focus during December was mainly on pouring through the pages of a catalog and circling all the items I wanted for Christmas, followed with gathering around the television to watch the Rudolph special.

These are fond memories, but they did not create lasting joy for me. I remember how unfulfilled I felt the day after Christmas. All the material things I had hoped for did not truly satisfy.

I also recall the anxiety I felt, wondering if I had been good enough for Santa to visit. I had consumed countless Christmas goodies, but still felt empty.

As an adult, after accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf, I dedicated my children to the Lord.

Deuteronomy 6 Parenting

One of the things I felt led to create for my children was the opportunity to hear the gospel spoken, not just once, but every day.

But, I wanted the gospel to be enjoyable and fun. I wanted to obey the instruction in Deuteronomy 6: 6-10 to teach my children about the Lord and His commands.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. And you shall repeat them diligently to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. You shall also tie them as a sign to your hand, and they shall be as frontlets on your forehead.  You shall also write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

One of the ways I practically accomplished this was by centering our holidays on Jesus.

I wanted to resist the temptation to give into the commercialization of Christmas and celebrate Jesus on the anniversary of His entrance into the world.

I did not grow up knowing how to do this, but I am passionate about sharing my ideas with others because I know how it transformed my own
family – not just temporarily but for eternity.

Although you may be a military member or spouse who cannot celebrate Christmas at home with family, I want to challenge you to implement new and distinctly Christ-centered traditions. I hope to inspire you to immerse everything about Christmas in Christ and make celebrating the joy of your salvation the center of your celebrations.

Some Ideas to Get You Started

Here are some ideas that you can implement to center the season on celebrating Jesus’ original entrance into the world and looking forward to His coming again:

  • Decorate in such a way that your neighbors and visitors know that you celebrate Christmas as Jesus’ birthday – More nativities than Santas, lighted cross display in your yard, or a Jesus themed tree.
  • Read an Advent (the season before Christmas) devotional – there are many on the market for individuals or families. Be sure to pick one that focuses on Christ’s birth and anticipated return.
  • Let all of your movie watching during the season be centered around the birth of Christ. [Beth has a great list to get you started here.]
  • Consider building a Jesse tree throughout the season which traces the lineage of Christ and God’s faithful fulfillment of promises.
  • Host a Birthday party for Jesus in which you briefly share the Gospel
    Bake and decorate nativity shaped cookies and “paint” them with thinned, colored icing
  • Every few nights, gather the Christmas cards you have received and pray for the sender(s)
  • Make or buy some nativities designed to be played with by young kids
  • Host a nativity making competition with your friends or family – Gather graham crackers or a kit that you transform into a nativity scene.
  • Celebrate Advent with countdown books – read a different book focused on the birth of Christ each (or every other) day.




About the Author

Beth was drastically changed for Christ as an adult when she finally understood that God desired intimate relationship with her. She and her husband passionately share the truth of the gospel with many military families they met during her husband’s twenty-five year career. In addition to being devoted to leading women’s Bible study, Beth loves to share her pursuit of Christ-centered living with other women. Beth firmly believes that we should all be intentionally pursuing Christ on special occasions like Christmas and Easter but also on not-so-special days too. She blogs about her practical ideas for teaching others to make Jesus a part of their children’s everyday at BethRunkle.com and has been speaking to equip families for 15 years. After fourteen moves and homeschooling her children, she and her husband joyfully joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, working with their military focused ministry, “Cru Military.” In addition to weekly discipleship with female cadets at the Air Force Academy, she and her husband have a vibrant marriage ministry to military couples. Beth resides in Colorado Springs, CO with her husband and two teenage children.

You can connect with her on Instagram and Pinterest as well!

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