How can we help the littlest ones in our family understand what Christmas is all about?
My friend likes to tell the story of the time someone asked his toddler, “Do you know the real meaning of Christmas?” Everyone laughed when the little one shouted, “Presents!”
As sweet and funny as this story is, the truth is that the real meaning of Christmas can get lost in the shuffle. Small children, especially, may be so overwhelmed by all the new experiences this time of year that they don’t quite grasp the purpose behind it all.
So what’s a mom or dad to do to make sure that our little ones understand what Christmas Day is all about? Here are 3 simple ways to share the real meaning of Christmas Day with your children.
1Sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus
Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth, after all, and kids know that you sing “Happy Birthday” at a birthday party. Singing the birthday song to Baby Jesus is a refreshingly easy way to get the point across.
2Pray at home with your family
When we go to Mass on Christmas, the little kids in the family often aren’t paying close attention to the prayers and readings. But it’s a different story when they’re home with Mom and Dad, snuggled up and hearing words spoken right beside them.
When we take a few moments on Christmas Day to pray as a family at home, it leaves an impression on our little ones. We might thank Jesus for coming to earth and for saving us (“like a real-life superhero!”). This is the perfect moment to bring the whole family’s focus to Jesus.
3Sing a Christmas hymn together
There’s something about singing that just makes us feel calm, peaceful and connected to those around us. And the words of hymns share theological truths in a way that’s both beautiful and easy to remember. Singing hymns is an amazing way to teach doctrine.
Singing a Christmas song feels especially jubilant after the waiting of Advent! Choose a favorite hymn (or more!) and join together to sing it. (If you need a place to start, my family’s Christmas favorite is.)
As you say the words, savor their meaning and rejoice in knowing, deep in your heart, that the goodness and beauty of the Christmas story is true and present in our world today.