The words Christmas and simple do not often go together.
In fact, all things simple tend to get lost in the shuffle of life around the holidays.
Most years, you quickly arrive at December 20 and realize that Christmas is just days away and there is nothing “simple” about it.
Well, don’t give up.
Simple is possible.
What is a simple Christmas?
Remembering the real reason for the season. Bringing Jesus into the moment and taking the time to look back over his arrival here on earth and the eternal impact that has on the world today. Simply going back to the basics of Christmas with your family and in your heart.
If you’ve searched all over Pinterest and the web to find simple ways to have a simple Christmas, you might be more overwhelmed than when you started. Books to read, lists to complete, crafts to make and so on… that can really bog you back down from where you want to be.
So take a deep breath.
Wherever you find yourself in the world, just a few simple moments through the gospels can ground your heart in Jesus this Christmas season.
In our family, we have a Christmas morning tradition of reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 before we open gifts as a family.
But, there is some heart preparation that should go with Christmas morning and I wanted to create a way for our family to experience this preparation together as we get ready for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The more I studied the principles and lessons of the Christmas story, I realized that we should be dwelling on these things long before Christmas morning arrives.
How amazing to walk into the Christmas holiday with our hearts prepared in openness to Jesus, to be ready to give to others and respond with a heart excited to worship Him.
Our book is God’s Word… the telling of the Christmas story as given in the gospels.
Our big idea is a simple lesson full of activities and discussions from the nativity story to prepare us to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
This is something that all families can use to prepare for Christmas. Truthfully, even if you don’t have kids, going back to the basics can be a refreshing, restoring and refining way to simplify your heart at the holidays.
I’ve created a printable to go along with the lesson and to help guide you as you walk your family through the Christmas story. It is a word doc and easily edited/printed to fit your family (or even your classroom at school or church!)
My prayer is that this printable only opens your creativity to using God’s Word and the story of His birth to bring your family closer to Jesus this year in simple ways.
First, we read about how there was no room for Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Luke 2:6 says, “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
The girls took turns reading the verses together.
Then, they used their toys to act out the nativity story. We talked about why there was no room for Jesus. We also talked about how we can make sure that we have room for Jesus in our hearts.
Next, we talked about the angels singing and proclaiming praises to baby Jesus. They listed songs that we sing each year that are similar to the words the angels said in Luke 2:12-14. The angels exclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” After that, we went to Matthew. Matthew 2 tells us about the gifts given to Jesus by the wise men.
The girls read the story and we talked about the different gifts. Why were the gifts valuable and what was their purpose to Jesus? This helped us talk about what our gifts to Jesus can be and how we can give gifts with purpose to Him.
We talked about Gold. It is valuable. The most valuable thing we have to offer Jesus is our heart.
We talked about Frankincense. It is a pleasing aroma to those who smell it. Are our lives a pleasing aroma to Jesus and to those around us?
We also talked about the final gift, Myrrh. Myrrh was used as a perfume but it was also used for healing and medicinal purposes. Are we a healing agent to our families, friends, churches and other situations around us? Are we an agent that God can use for help and healing of the hurting and broken in our world? What an incredible discussion to have with your kids!
The final part of this simple lesson is found in Luke 2:19 where we learn about Mary’s heart. The Bible says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Finish the lesson by creating a family poster. Let your kids be creative. They can draw, cut out pictures from magazines, decorate with words, color or use family photographs. Allow them to use the discussions you’ve had to make something to help them remember the different aspects of A Simple Christmas. We haven’t done this part yet but we will work on it as we get closer to Christmas and after we have talked about these things again.
Here are a few ways to use this lesson in your home:
- print the printable for your family or one per person
- divide the activities up and spread them out over the month of December
- use these chalkboard ornaments to write words of Christmas or favorite verses to hang on your tree
- do a family service project together as a valuable gift to someone or your community with a purpose
- make a list of things you are thankful for each day to practically walk out treasuring things up in your heart
- read the Christmas story together before opening gifts
- go caroling to remember the angels singing to Jesus at his birth – don’t forget a caroling book!
- hang battery Christmas lights in the bedrooms to remember that Jesus is the light of the world (these are great because your kids can put them anywhere without worrying about plugs!)
- set out a kid-friendly nativity set for hours of playing and remembering
- read books as a family with simple faith lessons for Christmas
As we head into the holidays, a very busy and hectic time for families, how can we slow down and purpose to treasure each moment? How can we ponder the days and enjoy the whole event of Christmas as a family in purposeful, intentional ways?
If your life is overseas, far from home and friends, how can you help your family remember the real reason for the season?
I hope this printable helps you keep Christmas simple and Christ-centered.
Now it is your turn! What are some ways that you keep Christmas simple and help your family prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth each year?