Something happens in Christian families around the holidays. Everyone starts looking for advent resources. We get online and buy books about baby Jesus. We start googling creative ways to make Christmas about Him instead of about presents. We decide to start new traditions, like reading the Christmas story from the Bible beside the Christmas tree. We put as many nativity sets as possible in our house, and we try to find Spotify lists that are heavy on carols about the manger.
We know that we want Christmas to mainly be about Jesus. Yet, we also want it to be about presents. And family. And food. And decorations. And Christmas movies. It’s wonderful to focus as much as possible on Jesus and the deep, true, forever impact that the birth of Christ has on everything. In fact, it’s essential. We should do that as much as possible throughout this season. But, what really matters is not how much we talk about Jesus during December. What will make an eternal impact on our families is how much we talk about Jesus during all the other months of the year. What matters is whether we are living out this faith in regular, every day life.
Does Jesus have any other place in your family’s life, or is He reserved just for the manger?
Are you deeply involved with a local church, where your children are learning and growing in His word? Are you serving others through your church family so that your children see what true Christianity is? Are you allowing God’s word to impact the decisions you make, the conversations you have, the spending you do, the ordering of your priorities?
Is December the only time you talk to your children about spiritual things?
How many of us, when we put our tree away and begin a new year, will forget all about the zeal we had during the Christmas season for teaching our kids about Christ?
It doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of making Christmas just another spiritual dead end, what if we used it as a crucial, beautiful, world-altering starting place for a life that revolves around Jesus? What if we prayed and asked God to revive our hearts this Christmas, to restore the joy of our salvation? What if this Christmas Jesus brought real and lasting revival to our own hearts, our families, our churches? What if this is the very good beginning of a changed life, one where we and our our children and our children’s children will see the impact of true devotion to Christ alter everything about us?
It will mean an invasion of our hearts and minds. A no holds barred attack on the sin in our own lives. It will mean giving up entertainment and activities that are separating us from Christ. It will mean sacrificial living.
But, it will all be worth it. We want our children to be able to stand before Jesus and hear those precious words: Well done, my good and faithful servant. It begins with us. How are we helping to get them to that moment? What are we placing as a higher priority? Sports? Sleeping in? Money? Everything else seems ridiculous when compared to an eternity with the King of Kings. Our kids need to know there’s more to Christ than a sweet little baby on a bed of hay. We have to get them beyond the Christmas story. We have to show them though our own lives and through the church and through His perfect word that He is mighty and merciful, and everything about Him can change everything about us.
Do your advent calendars and your Jesse trees and your nightly reading of the Christmas story. But, don’t stop there. When January rolls around, will your kids be able to look back at Christmas and recognize it as the beginning of a Jesus-focused life for your family? Or will it look like yet another spiritual dead end?
We are the last people on this Earth who should be walking our kids down spiritual roads that lead nowhere. Run to Christ and watch your little ones follow. Abundant life and eternal hope are the sweetest gifts of all.
This article originally appeared here.