I have begun to share with my girls the story of Christmas. It’s not as easy as I thought it would be. I’d imagined the words to just pop out and Alani say, “Oh, I see and that’s the meaning of Christmas…” Truth is, American Christmas is super hard to explain to a 2 year old.
How do I unpack Christmas to my 2 year old? Must I explain Santa? What about Frosty the Snowman? Why are the m&m’s red and green now? Why do we have a tree with lights in our living room? What are stockings?
First things first, what is Christmas about? Jesus. So, we started there.
No matter what nativity scene you chose to display the coming of Christ in your home, make it count! Use it as props to tell the amazing story of our Savior.
Here are some innovative ideas to do with the Nativity scene as you tell the story to your young children.
1. Start with just Mary, Joseph and the manger. Many nativity scenes have the removable Baby Jesus so you can place him in the manger on Christmas morning.
2. Move the Wise Men and camels to a different part of the home. Every day, bring them a bit closer. Ask your kids if they have noticed the Wise Men getting closer. Make sure they come to visit Jesus, after he’s been born.
3. Put the shepherds and the sheep somewhere high and out of the way. As you tell the story, point to the shepherds keeping their flocks by night.
4. Reenact the story for your children. They love playing with doll houses and action heroes. Teach them the story of Jesus birth by moving the figures around. Once a week try going through the whole story again. Put the Baby Jesus in the manger. Shine a flashlight on the shepherds and have them say their part. Bring them to the set. Pretend the Wise Men travel across the living room floor and present their gifts to Baby Jesus. Get creative! (Oh, you might want to invest in a Fisher Price or Veggie Tale plastic versions if you have inherited a nice Nativity Set).
I think there are some things we need to TEACH our children, and other things we can wait for them to ask about. I want my girls to KNOW about Jesus. I want to remember to actually TEACH the meaning of Christmas, not just mention it here and there as the month rolls along.