I remember the eager faces of my sons as they sat at the top of the steps with bated breath yearning to dash down the stairs in breathless expectation to finally view the long-awaited Christmas tree with the gifts from Santa, and the many other presents that they could finally open on Christmas morn. What a thrill it was to see the happiness etched on their faces as they progressed from opening one gift after another! Yet, a few months later, most of the toys were at the bottom of the toy box. They had lost interest in the new toys, or the clothes that they received were outgrown in 3 to 6 months. Gifts are wonderful items to accept, an excitement to wonder what is inside, and a delight to open up. They are many times articles that we desire or need. However, for this Christmas, when I was limited financially in what I could give, I began pondering on how to make lasting Christmas memories. How can I give something that is more than a gift? It has to be something that I do that makes a memory that will last forever. I guess that as a grandmother, who has just turned 64, I yearn to make memories that will be planted in my grandchildren’s hearts.
Consequently, the first step that I took in making memories was that my daughter-in- laws and I organized for all of my grandkids and my niece to come and make sugar cookies together. We had such a delightful time. The kids drank their hot chocolate, while the adults had their pumpkin chai tea. We rolled out the dough and then cut out all of the cookies with angel, tree, and star cookie cutters. Then we placed the cookies on cookie sheets and baked them. Finally, we dunked them in icing and decorated them. Cookie sprinkles were strewn everywhere as chocolate faces busily designed their perfect cookies. What joy!
Secondly, my daughter-in-law introduced us to the idea of acting out the Nativity story. Therefore, all 14 of us are going to get dressed up in character and act out the Christmas story. Of course, we will have baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the angels, the shepherds, and a narrator to tell the story. We will also have a photographer who will be filming our endeavor. This will definitely be a memorable event! I also found some Nativity coloring pages that I have stapled into booklets for my 8 grandchildren to have when they come to Nana and Poppy’s house. This will be another means of communicating the real reason for the season to my babies.
Next, we are going to have a birthday cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. I want to make sure that my grandchildren know why we celebrate Christmas. Jeannie Cannon in her article “What Your Kids Really Want for Christmas” states: I want them to remember the anticipation, the thrill, the joy of celebrating the Christmas miracle. Christ has come. The greatest gift has been given. We can tear up the naughty and nice lists. Jesus has done for you and me what we could never do for ourselves. We now have God’s unfailing and forever love. So, come let us adore Him! I want to give my kids a Christmas that is all about the miracle, not the material. This means drawing nearer to the heart of Christ, choosing memorable experiences over fleeting tangibles, and serving and giving to those in need. Because no matter what their lists are asking for, what every child really wants is LOVE. To love and be loved.
Jeannie continues saying that here are a few simple ways that we can give and share that love with gifts that won’t end up at the bottom of the toy box.
- The Gift of Jesus We can let our hearts draw nearer to Christ as the calendar draws nearer to Christmas. We will gather, we will read, we will talk, we will pray, we will play. We will celebrate the coming of our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.
- The Gift of Presence We can lean in. Listen. Create simple moments and memorable experiences. Spend more time and less money. Yes, less doing and more being. Our presence is the present is what they want.
- The Gift of Giving We can give and serve and love. We have a “Happy Birthday Jesus” party. For the presents for Jesus, He wants our love, our trust, our hearts. He wants us. He wants us to love Him and love one another. We can love Him by loving one another. Jesus said: Truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. I have seen joy in my children’s eyes as they have come to experience loving and serving and giving as Christ has first loved and served and given to us. Our children long to know that they are part of something bigger than themselves that they have been created for a purpose.
Finally, I have collected so many ornaments that my tree is heavy with them. I am going to let my grandchildren select one ornament from my tree that they can claim as their own and take home and put on their own tree. Another memory maker, that they will be reminded of each year as they place the ornament on their own Christmas tree.
One of the most important messages that I want to impart to my grandchildren is that Jesus is Immanuel God with us.
Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us“).
God sent His son Jesus to be with us. He is not a God who is far away and unapproachable. He is a God who loves us and cares for us. He is a God who listens to our cries and a God who comforts us. He is a God who encourages us and who strengthens us. He enables us to persevere through the troubles and storms that occur in our lives. He is our friend and comforter who never leaves or forsakes us. He offers us hope when we are depleted. He extends peace in the midst of discord and chaos. He embraces us with His love where there is hatred.
Therefore at Christmas time we can not help but fall on our knees to worship this babe who was born in Bethlehem. This baby, who is our Lord, our Savior, our God!
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord or Maker; for He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.” Psalm 95:6-7
Here are some resources that you might enjoy this Christmas.
May the Lord keep you in the palm of His hand.