Celebrate Christmas With Your Grandkids

As grandparents, we have wonderful opportunities to connect with our grandkids during the holidays — to celebrate Christmas, influence and bring out the best in them. As Deuteronomy 4:9 says: “Take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” According to this verse, we are to teach two generations, not just one. As a spiritual matriarch or patriarch of our families, we have the opportunity to pass on our faith. And what better time than at Christmas? Here are some ways we can do that within different family structures:

Sour relationships

Denise
dreaded Christmas. What used to be a joy-filled holiday was now a date she
wished wasn’t even on the calendar. A rift had grown between her and her
daughter. Still, Denise wanted her grandkids to know about God. Is your family
like Denise’s? Is tension, hurt feelings or outright animosity dominating the
atmosphere?

As an
elder in your family, try to take responsibility for restoring peace so you can
be an influencer in your grandkids’ lives. First, ask for forgiveness. If you
think you don’t need to, look at the relationship through the eyes of others,
especially your grandchildren. Then make sure you see the broken relationship,
not the other person, as the enemy. Young children will pick up on this. Even
if change doesn’t happen this Christmas, dream of a better relationship in the
future, and make this holiday season a step toward reaching that goal.

It’s fascinating that Jesus, the complete embodiment of both grace and truth (John 1:14), often led with grace. If you’ve tried to get your kids and grandkids to see things your way (that’s leading with truth) and it’s not working, then change to leading with grace. Try to genuinely understand their point of view, then forgive and love unconditionally.

Celebrate Christmas With Your Grandkids - Excited Grandchildren Greeting Grandparents With Presents Visiting On Christmas DayiStockPhoto.com/monkeybusinessimages

Where’s Jesus?

Dominique
and Crystal made a big deal about Christmas, but the focus was on Santa, elf
movies, decorations and lots of expensive gifts, especially from the other
grandparents who were more financially able to be extravagant. Dom’s parents,
Will and Nina, were frustrated. Nothing in their grandchildren’s Christmas
focused on Jesus, and whenever it was mentioned, Crystal would flippantly say,
“We just want Christmas to be fun for our kids.”

When Christ is left out of Christmas, either by the parents’ decision or overindulgent gift giving, grandparents still shouldn’t go against the parents’ wishes. After all, the parents are responsible for the children, not the grands. And your goal is to keep a healthy relationship with both the kids and the grandkids.

If the
parents don’t mind your weaving the Christmas story into the holiday for your
grandchildren, here are two fun activities that can be done with grandkids:

• My
friends Tina and Ray “kidnap” their grandkids to go view Christmas lights. Doing
that allows them to naturally talk about Jesus’ birth when they go by a house
with a manger scene.

• My
friend Elaine helps create a pre-Christmas event that is packed full of
faith-based crafts, movies, snacks and fun for her grands.

Telling
kids about Jesus at Christmas is organic, so grandparents don’t need to push an
agenda. Instead, have fun with your grandkids and then you may have the
opportunity to respond to their questions about Jesus.

Stale Christmas celebrations with grandkids

Alfonse and Maria enjoyed close relationships with their three daughters and spouses. All were believers and made a genuine effort to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. Maria noticed some of their grandkids were tuning out the familiar Scriptures. They needed a fresh approach to how they reminded the grandchildren of Jesus’ birth.

As
grandparents, we are perfectly poised to make a difference in our
grandchildren’s lives. Here are some Christmas activities you can do to make a
spiritual impact on your grandkids this holiday season:

Faith activities

• Before you gather, ask family members for
their favorite Christmas carol, and make a playlist of family favorites for
background music during the day. At an appropriate time, ask each one to share
why he or she likes that carol and how it reminds them of Jesus’ birth.

• Ask your grandkids what Jesus means to
them. Then share your own faith story, describing what you have seen God do in your
life and in those around us.

grandmother and grandchild with a presentiStockPhoto.com/Choreograph

Scripture activities

• Write one verse of the Christmas
story on each gift tag for your grandchildren. Ask them to put the Scriptures
in order and read them before they open their presents.

• Read Scripture passages that
prophecy about the Messiah, such as 2 Samuel 7:12-16, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6
and Micah 5:2. In advance, write and then giftwrap passages that show how Jesus
fulfilled each prophecy (Luke 1:31-33, Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 4:13-16 and Luke
2:5). Allow your grandkids to unwrap the Bible passages and connect them with the
prophecies. 

• On
decorative paper, write out John 1:14, Galatians 4:4-5, Philippians 2:6-8 and
other passages that point out the theological implications of Jesus’ birth. Roll
them as scrolls and hang them on the Christmas tree.
As you tell the Christmas story, ask your grandkids to find all the
scrolls on the tree and then give them to you or their parents to read.

• Prepare
a few items that represent God’s gifts to the world. In gift bags, put a
statement or symbol of how the birth of Jesus impacted human history. For
example, on a gift tag, write “To: all women, From: Jesus.”
Inside put a card with Galatians 3:28 and the word equality on it, with your own statement
about how Jesus impacted the status of women. On another, write “To: the sick,
From: Jesus.” On the card inside write “medical care” and a statement about how
Matthew 25:37-40 was the motivation behind the world’s first civilian hospitals.

Your role

Remember, as grandparents, we are perfectly poised to make a difference in our grandchildren’s lives. It’s what we’re called to do, no matter our family dynamics. So make a spiritual impact this Christmas on your grandkids. It may require prayer, creativity, communication with your adult kids and effort. But it is possible, and believe me, it will be well worth your effort!

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