"Do you know the reason we celebrate Christmas?"
This was the question that Santa posed my children last year as we made our new traditional visit to The Christmas Store in Santa Claus, IN. This wasn't a question one might expect to hear from your local mall Santa, but this Santa is far from typical. Oh sure, he wore the same red suit and sported the classic white beard, but his chair wasn't surrounded by elves or gifts. Instead he sat in a beautifully carved throne displaying the nativity. This was a Santa who wants to help kids still enjoy the magic of the holiday, but also to remember that while the magic and presents were fun, they weren't what the season was all about. He wanted to remind them that without the birth of Christ, there would be no reason to celebrate Christmas, and no reason for Santa. And so as each child came to his lap, he asked them that important question, "Why do we celebrate Christmas?"
And what a wonderful display to see your child telling the face of Christmas himself the TRUE meaning of the season, "To celebrate the birth of baby Jesus". As a mother, there is nothing greater that I can give to my children during the holiday season than that knowledge. Each year I try to take the opportunity to keep Christ in Christmas, and remind them that at Christmas and throughout the year, we should strive to be like those shepherds in the field, from that old Christmas story we know so well:
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. - Luke 2:8-20
These shepherds heard the news of Christ and they set out to find him, and when they did they continued to praise and glorify God. As Christians, this is exactly what each of us should be doing, at Christmas and throughout the year- seeking the Lord continuously and singing His praises! Still, with the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to lose sight of that. So each year, I surround my kids with books and crafts and songs to give them that much needed reminder.
This year, we are starting an all new tradition that I am excited to share with all of you today: Shepherd on the Search-
Embark on a family journey and find Christ in Christmas! During the Advent season, begin reading the story of your shepherd's timeless journey in a beautifully illustrated interactive children's book, and let the fun begin every day as you hide your shepherd and your children find him in a new place along the search! The shepherd's journey begins anew every Christmas season and ends on Christmas day as your shepherd finds his way to the manger. Make meaningful Christmas memories as year after year your family delights in helping your cuddly shepherd retell the timeless story that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas.
Now, we know that children love the magic of Elf on the Shelf, but I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of a mischievous little elf making mischief throughout the house and reporting back to Santa. Yes, it's cute, but I'm not sure its the right choice for OUR family. The Shepherd on the Search provides a great alternative for families like mine seeking to keep Christ at the center of the holidays. Kids still have the fun of searching for their little pal each morning as we countdown to the holiday season, but they are also being reminded of that first Christmas night.
From leading us to find fun Christmas activities like crafts or storybooks, to inspiring us to give to others... I cannot wait to begin the Christmas season on our very own search for the shepherd.
As the holidays draw near, I will be sharing ideas on using Shepherd on the Search to help lead your children to Christ this season. You can also visit shepherdonthesearch.com to buy the Shepherd and to sign up for family activity ideas all throughout the Christmas season!
Will you be searching for the shepherd this Christmas? What other fun ideas do you have for keeping Christ in YOUR Christmas?