Dreams For A Better-Than-Anything Christmas

BY BARBARA REAOCH, GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

A re you dreaming about Christmas? Does December 1st come faster every year? The whole month can feel like a race to catch up. “This Christmas won’t take us by surprise,” many parents decide every year. Dreams of a perfect Christmas with lasting happy memories begin to take shapeMaybe you are one of many who every year read inspiring articles of how to have your best Christmas ever. Does your list grow every year—lights and decorations; just the right gift for each one; a tasty Christmas dinner; and finding a Christmas activity you hope will become a new family tradition?  

How many of these questions apply to you? Every Christian parent wants to make Christmas memorable for their kids. But the list of “dreams” gets too longHow can parents prioritize Christmas activities?  Some activities trivialize Christmas and deserve to be abandoned. Other activities add to family life. They can become lasting memories to seal family bonds. Yet this season celebrates Jesus’ birth! Shouldn’t our goal be more than happy Christmas memories? In this season that celebrates Jesus’ birth, we want to cultivate a deeper love for Him! What activities will help our family aim for this goal?  

 What activities will help our family value Jesus more?  

“It wouldn’t be Christmas without gifts,” we often hearA simple rhyme has helped countless parents manage gift-giving: something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.” The truth is, clothes wear out, toys break and we lose interest. Ask your family, “Where is your favorite gift from last Christmas?” You’ll likely get blank, guilty looks for an answer. What about those gifts you had hoped would create memories to last a lifetime? 

Gifts can be sweet reminders of our love for one another.  But how can a family experience Jesus as God’s betterthananything gift? Jesus came to give us what is truly better—a new heart that will praise Him joyfully forever.  To all who in wonder-filled fear turn from sin and trust in Jesus, God gives forgiveness. 

What if this Christmas, we asked God to give us hearts to worship Jesus, Prince of Peace and King of History? 

In this season that celebrates Jesus’ birth, we want to cultivate a deeper love for Him!

 Which activities might God use to draw our family closer to Him and one another?

The melt-in-your-mouth Christmas cookie recipe you found may be a perfect new tradition for your family. special Christmas dinner may be a delightful meal for the familyBut what happens when a recipe calls for specialty ingredients and utensils you have to search for?  We spend more time trying to make it all happen than we do together! How many parents know what it is to end up in the kitchen on Christmas day asking, “Why am I working all alone?”  

Goodies at Christmas make for happy times. But even the best recipes cannot satisfy our hunger for God. God did not design these treats to be our greatest happiness. Christmas tells us that Jesus came to fill our hearts with Himself.  We want to help our family taste and see that Jesus is good and ever so satisfying. What if this Christmas, we asked God to give our children hearts that hunger for Him?  

 Will this activity distract us from our joy in Christ?

 For many families, the list of “perfect” Christmas activities grows every year. Rehearsals, parties, performances, recitals, plays! Shuttle service, fast food and home late! Before falling into bed, under compulsion, we remember our Christmas devotion. At the end of an exhausting day, reading the Bible together becomes merely an afterthought.  

 Where is the joy? We end up spending more time with our kids in the car than anywhere else. How can we resist the sinful pressure to keep up? What if we asked, “If we give our time, money and energy to this activity, will our family have more joy?” True Christmas joy comes as we give our lives to Jesus. Joy increases as we do whatever He wants, even when it means changing our plans. What if this Christmas, we asked God to help us prioritize daily time for Scripture reading and family conversations that celebrate the glory of Christ?  

What if this Christmas, we asked God to give our children hearts that hunger for Him? 

 How could this activity help us love our neighbors who don’t yet know Christ?

 Lights and decorations are often high on the list of what makes Christmas perfect. We hope our hands-on effort will bless our neighbors as much as our own family! How could anything beat the beauty of dazzling decorations and sparkling lights? Yet even before we take down the lights, the excitement is long gone. Christmas is the time to love our neighbors with this truth: only the beauty of Jesus’ light never grows dim. What if this Christmas, we asked God to use our hands, feet, voices, minds and hearts to help our neighbors enjoy the true beauty of Christmas?   

So, what are your dreams for this Christmas? Parents go to every effort and expense to see their dreams come trueYet, our dreams for our children will always be too small compared to God’s.  What activity will you set aside this year? A better Christmas awaits the family that treasures Jesus. This year, why not lead your children to the One who is better than anything an activity-filled Christmas tries to offer?   

Barbara Reaoch, author of A Better Than Anything Christmas (2020) is the former Director, Children’s Division at Bible Study Fellowship.  A Better Than Anything Christmas, traces the Christmas story and shows the glorious truth of Jesus—who He is and why He came. God prepared the world for Jesus and He will prepare your heart to celebrate this Christmas in a new and lasting way. 

22 Comments

  1. Thank you for reminding me of the “true” gift of Christmas.

  2. Indeed Lord Jesus – would you show us how to lead our children to you who is better than anything that a dazzling activity filled Christmas can offer ! I’m truly inspired to pray and think deeply and plan intentionally for a Christ filled Christmas.

  3. Thanks Barbara for giving me the truth about the joy of christmas. Considering this truth, i pray that the 2020 christmas celebrations will make a difference in my family. God bless you.

  4. Excellent thankyou

    • Thanks brother and sister Barbara Reaoch.No one can please God without faith.For whoever comes to God must have faith,that God exists and rewards those who seek Him.In Genesis biblical truth empowers us to know it was faith that made Abraham to become a father even at very old age.Sarah herself was doudtful to have any child at old age but trusted God to keep His promise.All are looking forward for “A better than Anything Christmas “Stay safe and blessed in fame of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

  5. It’s so sad that we have grown up celebrating Christmas without the celebrant! The focus for us was on the clothes and the food! I cant recalled being told about Jesus by my parents nor sitting down to discuss the person of Christmas-Jesus Christ as family. The only memory of Christmas is the new clothes and food we eat and wasted. Thanks Barbara for your book”A better than anything Christmas’. I not only engage children with Christ centred activity for Christmas but engage adults who have grown up with celebrating Christmas without Christ centered activity. This is helping them to have new thoughts about how to have a Christmas with family that centres on Christ full activity with their families.

  6. Thank u for putting Christmas into perspective

  7. May Jesus Christ born in my heart and change my heart forever to have better life with my family I pray in this session amen

  8. I loved this post. It is filled with so much truth. Thank you Barbara.

  9. In all these months of this year 2020, Covid has taught all of us – adults and children, rich and poor, people in mighty and lowly positions, royalty and commoner, super educated and least educated the value of the breath of life and relationships. What we took for granted and what we were chasing has been completely reversed. If the focus has been on Me, My achievements, My Family status, My Christmas celebrations to be better than my neighbour, this Christmas we can feel and have a heart for those who do not have their loved ones to hold this Christmas due to Covid death, those who have lost an earning member in the family or have lost their jobs. We can get children in the family to express their feelings and enlist and involve them in planning rather than breaking our heads about what material gifts to surprise them with which gives only temporary happiness. The birth of Jesus is the story of Love, the giving of self for others. Keeping this in mind, we can share God’s light and love with our family members and with others. The Shepherds went in search of the Saviour, the Magi too travelled long and searched and followed the Star of Bethlehem bringing their valuable gifts to the baby born in a lowly manger whose parents were ordinary people. Thinking of others and their needs more than only ourselves should be our good intention. When we see the joy of another person our happiness is real and multiples. Giving warm clothes and blankets, giving money to buy medicines for those who cannot make ends meet, baking or cooking a special Christmas dish to an elderly person with a hand made card with a short note to bring joy to them in their loneliness are some acts of kindness. Then when our Saviour comes a second time in all glory and majesty we will be surprised to hear Him say to us “Come my faithful child, just as you did it for the least of my brothers and sisters you did it unto Me.” Be simplistic and moderate in our Christmas decorations but let us sing those beautiful carols together with our children and bring cheer and God’s love to others just as He loved us first and He is always with us till the end of time.,

  10. That is the Christmas I want! There is nothing that deeply satisfies like Jesus. I am weary of that which pulls us away from Him. Thank you for stating it so clearly.

  11. In my kitchen I hung a distressed rustic teal JOY decoration I had painted and tied a pretty red bow around the ‘O’ this past week and I appreciated the question, ‘Where is the joy?’ It will be a constant reminder to share with my family about the truth about Jesus giving us everlasting joy that overflows in our hearts when we look to Him to satisfy us vs activities and material things.

  12. Thanks for the important reminder Christmas is all about Jesus . We need to intentionally direct our children back to the reason of Christmas. Very often, we are easily distracted by the things around us. The shopping malls hang up dazzling decorations and words like Joy at Christmas but True Joy begins when we have Jesus in our hearts

  13. Very nice blog and I really enjoyed reading it up to the end!
    Thank you very much Ms. Reaoch for posting this blog!
    Merry Christmas and Have A Prosperous 2021!
    I attend BSF at Grace Baptist Church every Monday here in the
    Woodbridge, Virginia area.
    And I do volunteer work watching the children for the pre-prayer meeting
    for the children’s group leaders!

  14. Thank you for a powerful message which has strongly reminded me of the importance of making Christmas be more of spiritual value than materialistic. I will share the glorious truth of Jesus with family members and friends virtually. Jesus is our Saviour!

  15. Great thoughts. I, too, thought about the dazzling lights and will remember what you said. However, you gave me something to think about to do. I am going to try and put together some questions to match pictures from my trip to Israel years ago. It will help bring back Jesus as our priority and main focus. Thank you again. How blessed we are to have this blog to remind us. Jesus is King!

    Nancy S.

  16. How special it is to see Barbara’s smiling face. She has such a comforting presence, manifest by the living God. Thank you for sharing your life with BSF over the years and now with so many in your Holy Spirit motivated writing. Thank you for reflecting the love of Jesus Christ in the direction of children. A wonderful gift to all indeed!

    • Great to hear from you, Keith. I am so grateful for my years in BSF. The fellowship in Christ with friends like yourself is an ongoing joy to me.

  17. I did enjoy reading this BLOB. Often many families leave Jesus out of their activities at Christmas,
    and that He is and why He came. Jesus is near us every day, we feel Him in our hearts.
    It is important to remember His birth at Christmas and every day.

  18. When I walk or drive through our neighborhood and see the dazzling lights, I will remember what you wrote and share it with my grandchildren, “Only the beauty of Jesus’ light never grows dim.” Thank you!

    • Great ideas indeed.
      Prayers go far enough.
      Guiding the child to pray for a heart that loves the LORD is one of the best ways to worship in truth and spirit.
      Thank GOD for your life, Barbara.

    • Grandchildren are such a gift, aren’t they Sue? And you certainly are God’s gift to your grandchildren.

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