Put Jesus first this season.
The order of things matters. In the Bible, order mattered a lot. The significance of giving your “first fruits” of your labor to God as a tithe is stressed. The firstborn had more status and responsibility. So when it comes to little things like Christmas, I think the order matters too. That’s why we put up our nativity FIRST. Before we pull out the tree, the lights, the presents, the stockings. We set the tone for the season. This holiday is not about the “stuff,” but about the KING!
Our pastor once preached about having the nativity as a central part of your holiday season, and Paul and I went straight out and bought a set that day. It doesn’t matter what kind you get- a table top set, a picture for the wall, a big plastic one for the yard. Just make it a priority in your family!
Make the Christmas story kid-accessible.
There’s something about nativity scenes that draw a child in, and they want to touch, rearrange, and yes, PLAY! So make it accessible for them. That may mean buying a toy nativity, or just letting them touch a fancy one. That may mean rearranging your house to set the nativity somewhere they can touch it.
During the holidays when we were in our old house, we would move a coffee table over to a spot where it could display the nativity. Kayla, my daughter, was always over there, touching the characters, acting out the story, and having fun with it.
Kids need the chance to interact with the story- to pretend, play, act it out. It makes it more real to them. So you may have to let go of your perfect display for the sake of letting your child have some fun with the nativity.
Tell the story.
The last thing I want to mention is that having a nativity out is the perfect chance for you, as the parent, to act out the story with your kids. Take the characters and talk about what part they played in the story. Make it age appropriate, telling more details as they get older.
Kayla is six this year and has asked a few questions about Mary and Joseph like, “Who was Jesus’ real dad- God or Joseph?” and “What are these presents that they wise men brought?” Let your child lead the discussion and present this amazing story to them.
Don’t hesitate to drop in the theology and importance of it. Tell them how amazing it was that God gave his only son to the earth to give us a way back to God. Tell them that Jesus was a real, actual person like us that walked on the earth. And use this season to lead them to the most amazing gift- a personal relationship with Jesus. Moms and dads, this is a fantastic opportunity each holiday season. Don’t let it get shuffled away with the events and excitement of the season. Make it count this year. Put Jesus first.