Monday, December 13, 2010

Helping Littles Understand the True Meaning of Christmas

Because we have always home schooled these little kids, I think I have assumed that they just absorb what I have actively taught my older children. This is especially true when it comes to matters of faith. Prayers that we have always said, tend to get passed from one child to the next with very little active planning on my part. They are part of our day, so they are taught repeatedly, without my ever sitting down with a child to have them memorize the prayer. This year I wanted to really impart to them what Christmas is all about. I want them to experience not just the wonder that comes from Santa and the commercial Christmas season, but the hope, expectation, delight and love that comes from the real Christmas story. I wanted them to think of angels and stars, and of the Savior born in Bethlehem. I want them to think of the little drummer boy, who had no gift to give, and so he played his drum for Him.

So this year we have started a new tradition. For each "little" goodness or kind act the children perform, they will get a bright star to hang, with the goodness written on it. These stars will be displayed all through Advent, and will be their gift to the Savior on His birthday.

My sister started this with her kids this year, and my Kolbe loved it so much that he wanted to do it, too. So far, he has offered the most stars for Jesus' birthday. Even my wee small Benji has taken to doing small jobs or sharing his toys with Yeb to be able to hang another star. I'm not sure he understands it all, but he does understand that you have to do a goodness to get a star. He'll even tell you that all the stars are for Jesus' birthday.

My sweet Jenna, always one to offer to help, or do  a job without being told, should have far more stars up there. I need to watch her for a few days, and surprise her with the stars, even when she doesn't ask for them to be displayed. She knows that God knows what is in her heart, so I think she doesn't need to see them up there, but will be pleased that I noticed how much she really does for others.

We're just getting started with this new tradition, but I already see that it has changed how the kids look at Christmas. Kolbe asked me today how many more days there were until Christmas. A typical question. I saw him counting the days on the calendar, and heard him tell Luke that he thinks he can get a bunch more stars for Jesus with the time left. He is so excited! Jonah wants to try and beat him, because it has to be a competition, you know. Until he finds his DSi. Ah, they are all so different, and so dear, in their own ways. My baby is just old enough to rip the stars down, and the ornaments off the trees, but he is precious in God's eyes, and in mine. I can't wait to see what he makes of Christmas morning!

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