Christmas: A Guide for the Church
What is Christmas?
From the very beginning, God promised that He would save His people from their sins. For years, God’s people waited for their promised Savior to come until, at last, God kept His promise! Christians around the world celebrate this day as Christmas. Here is how it happened:
Many years ago, God sent the angel Gabriel with a message for a young woman in the city of Nazareth named Mary. Gabriel told Mary she was going to give birth to a Son and she was to call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. This was no ordinary baby!
While Mary was pregnant with Jesus, the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, announced that everyone must travel to their hometown for a census. So, Mary and Joseph left Nazareth and traveled to a town called Bethlehem.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth to Jesus. However, the town was too crowded, so Mary had her baby in a place where animals were kept. She wrapped Him swaddling clothes and laid him in a
In a nearby field, there were shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to them in blinding light and the shepherds were terrified. The angel said: “Fear not! I have very good news for you! Today, in the town of Bethlehem, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, was born. You will fill him wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, a great number of angels appeared, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”
When the angels disappeared, the shepherds went straight to Bethlehem to find Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus, lying in a manger, just as God promised. After the shepherds left, they went and told everyone what they had seen and heard, praising God for what He had done.
Like those shepherds, some 2,000 years ago, Christians today are still praising God for what He did. Christmas is a celebration of God sending His Son, Jesus, into the world to save His people from their sins.
What should I emphasize in my home this Christmas?
For most children, the Christmas season is their favorite time of the year. While there is nothing wrong with the sentimental trappings of Christmas, parents should be careful, lest the message of Christ
- Emphasize the greatest gift they could ever receive. What many children most look forward to at Christmas is the receiving of gifts. As your child is making their list and counting down to Christmas, use this opportunity to share with them the greatest gift they could ever receive: salvation through Jesus Christ. Let your gift giving be a platform to share the gospel this Christmas.
- Emphasize the Light of the World.
One favorite tradition during the Christmas season is the hanging of Christmas lights. This Christmas, as your family admires the beautiful Christmas lights brightening the nighttime sky, use this opportunity to emphasize a greater light: Jesus, the Light of the World (John 8:12). Let your decorations be a platform to share the gospel this Christmas.
- Emphasize the truth of God’s Word.
While many of our treasured Christmas traditions are make-believe, the real Christmas story is no fairy tale. This Christmas take time to read the real Christmas story found in the Bible and emphasize the truth of God’s Word. Let this Christmas be a platform to teach your children to trust God’s Word.
How can I teach my child more about Christmas?
As a parent, God has called you to be the primary disciple-maker in your child’s life. Here are two ways you can teach your child about Christmas.
- Read the Bible story together. Read as a family either Matthew’s account in Matthew 1:18–2:12 or Luke’s account in Luke 2:1–20.
- Celebrate Advent as a family. Advent is a four-week celebration of Christ’s coming to earth and is a great tool for parents to help shift the focus of the holiday season back to Christ. Click here for more resources for Advent.