3 Christmas Pitfalls for Parents

Bring the full picture of Christ’s redemption into as many conversations as you possibly can this Christmas.

If we want to give our children the gift of clearer gospel understanding this Christmas, we must put more thought into how we lead them than we put into buying gifts and making Pinterest crafts. How should we shepherd our kids through a season laden with greed? Should we give one present per child, tithe in their honor, or stop giving gifts completely? As you think and pray through how to answer these questions for your family, consider three Christmas pitfalls that I’ve commonly observed parents pondering.

 

It’s Christmastime again, and if you’re a parent you may be having familiar conversations about gift-giving, consumerism, and the cross. Discipling children through the Christmas season is challenging. Our lists of errands are as endless as the numbers of cookies we hope to bake. With teachers to honor, traditions to uphold, parties to attend, and all the gifts to buy and eventually wrap, the physical demands can overshadow spiritual needs.

If we want to give our children the gift of clearer gospel understanding this Christmas, we must put more thought into how we lead them than we put into buying gifts and making Pinterest crafts. How should we shepherd our kids through a season laden with greed? Should we give one present per child, tithe in their honor, or stop giving gifts completely? As you think and pray through how to answer these questions for your family, consider three Christmas pitfalls that I’ve commonly observed parents pondering.

Pitfall 1: How can I keep the world from hijacking Christmas?

The world doesn’t define our celebration; we do, in obedience to God. While the wise men navigated rocky paths, nature’s elements, and the persecution of a jealous king to worship at the feet of the true King, we must navigate around media, consumerism, and cultural Christianity. The world has neverbeen a respecter of Jesus, so we need not be shocked and appalled when Santa trumps the babe in the manger in Target ads and everywhere else. We are called to shine as lights in the midst of our crooked generation (Phil. 2:15). So when the world publicly hijacks our holiday, peacefully take it right back within your home and community by teaching, showing love, and shining Christ’s light to everyone around.

Teaching my kids the gospel and the real message of Christmas doesn’t mean we must forsake watching Frosty the Snowman while drinking hot chocolate by the light of the Christmas tree. It means we have additional conversations about what we’re watching and emphasize which parts do and do not reflect the gospel. We explain which elements of our celebration are simply fun, which are culturally significant, and which specifically celebrate Christ. Instead of fearing the world, teach your children to engage culturally for the spread of the gospel.

Pitfall 2: Why should I give my kids gifts when they dont need or deserve them?

While most of our children have no need for presents, we enjoy giving them, and they enjoy receiving them. Both giving and receiving reflects God’s heart for his people. While God gives his children spiritual gifts like love, power, victory, hope, peace, and deliverance, I’m not sure how to wrap those up to stick under the tree. Yet giving presents can demonstrate the same greater spiritual truths in a tangible way.

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