Several Christmases ago as the wrapping paper was getting tossed away and the toys were being assembled, we realized that Jesus was not part of our Christmas morning celebration. At first we thought, “Well, that’s OK, the kids still understand the reason for the season.” Then as we began to reflect, we realized that as much as we tried to incorporate our faith into the holiday season it was always overshadowed by other things. You know what it’s like, countless holiday parties, gift exchanges and programs to attend. Each year we vowed to be more diligent with our Lenten calendar, and each year it would be day 14 and we were still back on day 3!
So we went for an out of the box approach. We looked at our least busy month of the year and landed on July. We had our Elf on the Shelf come for a surprise visit! He appeared one day with a tiny Christmas tree and a note that explained he would be bringing the kids an activity each day to help them learn more about the reason for Christmas. They were beyond excited!
Every day for a week, the elf brought a different part of the Christmas story. We made crafts, colored pictures, and read from their kid Bibles. It was amazing! There was no pressure for gifts or fancy cookies, just our own little personal vacation Bible school! While they loved seeing the elf, they were even more excited about getting to ask questions and look up scriptures. They asked us to pull out the manger scene and re-enacted the Christmas story.
We ended our week of Christmas in July with hot cocoa, holiday movies and a deeper understanding of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. The holiday’s now are just as busy, and we still fall behind on our Lenten calendar, but Jesus will never be missing from the season again.