Teaching our Children To Appreciate Christmas
When the post-Thanksgiving shopping is past, if toy sales are up over the previous year, it is good for the merchants. It also means that many children will have a good Christmas. Sad!
The promotion of Christmas according to the world’s standard–the standard by which many people judge what is a good Christmas–is quite easy. One does not have to teach children in this regard. They absorb the ads on TV. They listen to the tales of Santa Claus. They make their Christmas lists. They walk through the toy stores and the malls. They absorb Christmas by osmosis.
Sadly, that is the most that many children know about Christmas, or at least the most they remember. Well-meaning adults who ask, “Did you have a good Christmas?” reinforce this when they ask, “What did Santa Claus bring you?”
We look at Christmas in a different manner. We start from the premise that there would be no Christmas, no Christ-festival, if there had been no Christ. The world, while giving lip service to Christ, in fact uses the birth of Christ to serve its own purpose. The achieved result is that the blessing of Christmas is lost because the Christ of Christmas has been diminished.
The real meaning of Christmas is not absorbed. It is found in Scripture. It is taught!
“But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:14-15). “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Tim. 1:3-5).
Christmas Is — Taught!
It falls primarily upon the parents to teach their children. This responsibility secondarily belongs to the church as assistant to the parents in looking after the spiritual welfare of the children.
Children need to have a clear understanding of sin. Without sin and its condemnation there would have been no need for Jesus to come into the flesh.
The instruction of children will include the teaching of Old Testament prophecy, namely, that in the Old Testament the Heavenly Father prophesied through the prophets about Jesus Christ.
Children are to be taught who Jesus is. He is true God become Man to be our Savior. That is the meaning of the name Jesus.
Children need to know that life on earth is passing, and that the real life is in heaven. Jesus is the only way to heaven, as Scripture clearly teaches.
Children need to be taught of the love of God, and how the epitome of this love was the sending of Jesus Christ into the world so that–when toys are broken, clothes are outgrown, games are over, and life on earth is past and gone–trusting in Jesus, they may enter into life everlasting.
All the trappings and giving of Christmas will come home to haunt those parents who have not taught their children what Christmas really is.
What will be the response of parents to those children who naturally like to ask, “Why?” What will parents say when on judgment day the child asks, “Why did you not teach us what Christmas was really about? Why did you not lead us to Jesus and teach us the gospel?”
The gospel and the message of Christmas–“Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior”–is not absorbed; it is taught. Therefore, let your Christmas be built first upon the Word, with the Child of the manger as its focus. Then it will be a good Christmas.
Without the Word, a good Christmas is not the best. Do you not desire the best for yourself and your children?
–Pastor Daniel Fleischer