Teaching Our Children the Real Meaning of Christmas – By Linda Mei Lin Koh

It’s that time of the year when stores are brightly decorated with red and gold ornaments on Christmas trees, twinkling lights, Christmas songs filling the air. For the children, those special packages and gifts that they look forward to each year will be under the Christmas tree soon.
Christmas provides an excellent opportunity to share the real meaning of Christmas as we pour the truths of the gospel into the hearts of children. It is the most ideal time to show them that the greatest gift they could ever have is the gift of Jesus. Let’s seize this opportunity to teach these gospel truths at Christmas:

About a week or so before Christmas day, we can use family worship times to read together the book of Genesis and talk about the fall and sin of Adam and Eve, and the promise of a Savior (Genesis 3:15). Then we can read about the promise to Abraham and discuss about Moses and the one who is greater than Moses will be coming (Hebrews 3:3-6). The family can continue to read the prophecies of Isaiah who identified the Lamb who will be coming and who will suffer for us (Isaiah 53:7).

Ellen White strongly advises parents that: “In celebrating Christmas, fathers, mothers, children, and friends are diverted from the great object to which the custom is attributed. They give their whole attention to the bestowal of gifts upon one another, and their minds are turned away from the contemplation of the Source of all their blessings both spiritual and temporal. In their attention to gifts and honors bestowed upon themselves or their friends, Jesus is unhonored and forgotten. Parents should seek to teach their children to honor Jesus. They should be instructed how He came to the world to bring light, to shine amid the moral darkness of the world. They should be impressed with the fact that “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (The Bible Echo, December 15, 1892, par. 11).

For the world, the holiday season is about spending lots of money, buying gifts, or going on an expensive holiday. But the story of Jesus is one of humility. He was not born in a palace but in a humble stable. Everyone expected this King to conquer the Romans and overthrow them so that he could establish his new Kingdom. Read Philippines 2:1-11 with the children and show them the humility of Jesus. Show them how they can in turn be humble to serve the poor, the homeless, and the less fortunate.

It is also a great truth to teach our children that God uses weak and humble individuals to accomplish His plan of salvation in the Christmas story. God uses Mary, a simple, humble girl from an insignificant town to bear the Savior of the world. He uses humble shepherds to announce His birth. He works through ordinary fishermen like Peter to share the gospel of Jesus everywhere. God will continue to use us to finish his work.

Another important truth to teach our children during this season is that God keeps His promises. We can study the first promise of a Savior after the fall and right through to Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross and His promise to redeem us culminating in His Second Coming to take us home to live with him in heaven.

This is an excellent time to introduce our children to the different names of Jesus who was not only the Savior of the world, but he is Emmanuel, Lamb of God, Alpha and Omega, Rock of Salvation, Bread of Life, Prince of Peace and many others. Lead them to study the Bible and examine these names, showing how God’s promise was fulfilled in this little baby boy who was born on this earth to give us salvation. Yes, help our children see that Jesus is the greatest gift they could ever receive and the greatest gift they could share with others. May this Christmas season be one with greater meaning as we teach our children about the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is a season to thank God for His greatest gift to us all; a season to share the wonderful blessings we have received; and a season to rejoice in the promise of the Coming King. May each of you be filled with the Holy Spirit that gives you joy, peace, and love during this holiday season.


Linda Mei Lin Koh is our General Conference Children’s Ministries Director.