Christmas evokes so many feelings in us! Our childhood memories, beautiful Christmas carols, holiday movies, unlimited themes for decorating, special foods, gift giving, holiday events in our schools, communities and churches… all this and more are part of Christmas celebrations around the world. Celebrating Christmas can be overwhelming and expensive and exhausting, especially for moms who carry most of the responsibility for making Christmas momentous for their family. It is easy to create a fabulous celebration but miss the most important role that a mom has at Christmas.
In the Bible, Luke 1 tells a dramatic and beautiful story leading up to the birth of Jesus. An older couple who are related to Mary the mother of Jesus, receives the blessing of an unexpected pregnancy. Their child will be John the Baptizer whom God chose to be a forerunner of Jesus. In Luke 1:76-79 the very specific mission of John’s life is prophesied over him:
“And child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Praise God for such a beautiful proclamation and purpose in life! The spiritual preparation of the people of Israel was John’s mission. His work was not about himself, but about the people who needed their hearts opened wide, so that when the Messiah came, they would know Him.
Just as John was given a responsibility to prepare the way for Jesus in those ancient days, you, as a Christian mother are a vital forerunner in your family. The Father has strategically placed you in your child’s life to prepare the way for your children to follow Jesus. As a mom, you are called to share the knowledge of salvation and to prepare your children for the arrival of Jesus in their lives. Christmas is a beautiful and unique time to prepare our children for the salvation of Jesus in very tangible, fun and meaningful ways.
Prepare Your Heart
In America, Christmas is a very busy season and it is easy to neglect our time for sitting with the Scriptures and asking the Holy Spirit to lead us each day. Let’s be careful to manage our schedule so we each prepare ourselves for Christmas. Don’t allow the stress of many good things to crowd out your heart’s preparation for Christmas. The gospel of Luke has 24 chapters so you could read one each day of December. Or there are many great Christmas reading options on the YouVersion Bible app or great Advent books that will prepare you for the arrival of Christmas.
Prepare Your Home
The physical elements of Christmas decorating are so fun and exciting. Seriously, putting a TREE in our house and decorating it, whether simple or fancy, is a pretty radical thing to do! But we make such a fuss of decorating because this season is a unique celebration, different from any other. Decorating themes are fun, but keep Jesus among the tinsel and holly!
As you prepare your home, place a nativity scene as a focal point to remind that Jesus is the center of all the ways we celebrate. I loved having a child-friendly nativity that the children could touch and play with, using it to act out the story of Jesus’ birth in their own words. Their own special nativity draws them into the story as you talk with them about the arrival of baby Jesus. When they outgrow the child-friendly nativity allow older children to participate in choosing a nativity that they especially like and making it a central decoration in your home.
Prepare Your Family
Christmas can get out of control quickly and a mom’s preparation is critical for awareness of Jesus’ coming and why He came. There are so many ways to prepare our family to celebrate Jesus’ coming. Think about the music you are playing, the books you read together, the family devotions, the prayers you are praying together, the topics of conversation in the car or at family meals, the generosity you show to those in need. Almost everything we do at Christmas can somehow relate to Jesus and why He came.
Attending a Christmas Eve service is a great way to celebrate Jesus together. Another tradition that I love is the First Gift. Place a tiny baby Jesus or Jesus in a manger, in a beautifully wrapped box under the tree. (We have a nativity where the baby and the manger are separate so I leave the manger empty before Christmas.) When gathering for exchanging gifts, read Luke 2.1-20 (or choose a shorter portion for younger children. Allow one of the children to open the First Gift, and place the baby in the manger. Then pray and thank the Father for Jesus, the most important gift we ever receive. Keep your children involved in your traditions and if things are rowdy or a little out of control, its okay! Just keep the celebration joyful! My mother-in-law loved to have a birthday cake for Jesus with a small nativity atop the cake and the children led us in singing Happy Birthday Jesus. Be creative and choose something your family will find meaningful.
Prepare for Hope and Peace
What is the outcome of this season we call Christmas? In the prophecy over the baby who would become John the Baptizer, these words were said:
“Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78
Didn’t we see the whole world living in darkness and the shadow of death during the pandemic. It caused us to witness darkness very tangibly and harshly, yet the darkness of sin and death are always in the world. Yet, in our Father’s merciful compassion, He sent His Son to us, to shine on us as a new dawn, bringing Light, Hope and Peace to all who will follow Him. He came to guide our lives, to lead and teach us a life of peace and hope. When we follow Him, our feet are guided through the world’s darkness, through the shadow of death, through a pandemic, through loss and grief, but always into the way of peace, knowing that He will lead us through it all. And through death, to live with Him.
As a mom, are you prepared to be a forerunner for your family? Are you preparing and participating in celebrations that will help your children understand who Jesus is and why He came and what He has done for us? Now is the time to go before Him this Christmas and prepare the way!
Cynthia Thompson enjoys living in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, Larry. They have two daughters, two sons-in-love and two grandsons, and one adopted daughter. She loves time with her family, prayer journeys, coffee with friends, and traveling all over the world!