How can we help our kids not only understand the Christmas Story but also, the story of Christmas?
We have neither encouraged nor discouraged Santa Claus in our house. We’ve let the kids believe what they believe based on what they see and hear throughout the holiday season. We have however, placed an incredible focus on Jesus and the Christmas story for our family throughout the season. This balance has worked well for our kids who haven’t asked many questions about the jolly old man. Recently, though, my daughter (age 7) has decided that Santa doesn’t exist (because her cousin said so) and my son (age 4) is quite disturbed by the news. Remember, we haven’t encouraged a strong belief in Santa but we have allowed innocent faith in the idea because 1) Santa has never overshadowed Jesus in our home and 2) I believe that faith in friends like Santa and the Tooth Fairy encourages trust.
I found myself unprepared to deal with the Santa Claus debate between my children; that was until we turned on Buck Denver Asks… Why Do We Call It Christmas? In this episode, Buck Denver and friends deal with some interesting questions about the holiday season, including the origin of the man we now know as Santa Claus. I sat in the kitchen while the kids watched the show. All of a sudden, I heard my little man exclaim,
“See Hope! I told you he was real.”
She couldn’t argue with her little brother, because the story was historical and compelling. To her seven-year-old mind, she learned that Santa is real; but not exactly like we see him on TV. To his four-year-old heart, Buck and the gang proved him right!
Our What’s In The Bible? friends address Santa, the story behind our various traditions and several other puzzling Christmas concepts, providing families a culturally-relevant yet Jesus-honoring overview of the season.
- Origin of the word Christmas
- When Jesus was born
- Christmas Trees
- The story of St. Nicholas
- The story of Luke 2
What can we learn from the story of Christmas?
Why Do We Call It Christmas? covers many aspects of holiday culture that often stumps parents and Christians in finding a balance between honoring Christ and celebrating the season. The What’s in the Bible? gang thoroughly and respectfully address the intersection of Christianity and culture as it pertains to Christmas. Parents are given words and tools to help explain tough concepts to children while maintaining the magic of the holiday.
The miracle of Christmas is for everyone. It’s for our children and it’s for us. It’s for Christians and non-Christians alike. Faith and history come together in the story of Christmas; through every facet of the holiday. What we learn in Why Do We Call It Christmas? is that every part of the season, though seemingly pointless or worldly, can point back to Jesus if we keep him the center of it all.
Talking to our kids about Santa Claus and 4 more conversation starters:
1. Christmas – The word “Christmas” came from churches in Europe that would hold a yearly communion service called “Christ’s Mass” or Christmas! Though we don’t know the exact day Jesus was born, we celebrate Christmas on December 25th because on that day a long, long time ago the Roman people held a yearly celebration of the sun. Because many Romans had started worshipping Christ, when Julius 1 was leader over the Roman church, he suggested the people celebrate Jesus instead of the sun on December 25th.
2. Santa Claus – Saint Nicholas is Santa’s real name! About the same time the Romans were learning about Jesus, the people in Europe had a friend named Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a leader in the church. His parents had left him a lot of money, which he used to help the poor. If Saint Nick knew of people in need, he would secretly help by tossing money in their window at night. Over the years, this true story of Saint Nicholas and his heart to give gifts to those in need has evolved into the Santa Claus we celebrate today. Saint Nicholas loved people like Jesus. As we celebrate Santa and gift giving throughout the holiday season, we can focus our minds on loving like Jesus and honor him with our gifts.
3. Hanukkah – Hanukkah is the celebration of the miracle that happened during the rededication of the Jewish temple many years ago. A candle (only having enough oil for one day) burned for eight whole days as they cleaned and prepared the temple! This miracle was an amazing event in the history of God’s people. Although Hanukkah is traditionally celebrated by Jewish people Christians can celebrate Hanukkah, too.
4. The Christmas Story – Luke chapter 2 tells us the story of Jesus’ birth. Let’s read it together. The story seems a little upside down or backwards, doesn’t it? Jesus was born in a very humble way instead of in a beautiful palace and the news of his birth told first to lowly shepherds instead of great kings. The way Jesus’ life began tells us that God’s new kingdom will be very different than what’s normal today. The Christmas story is about so much more than the holiday we celebrate this month. It’s about God’s kingdom!
5. Emmanuel – One of the names for Jesus, this word means “God with us” and it’s what Christmas is all about! God made us and he loves us but we can’t be with God on our own, because God is perfect and we are not. For us to go to God, we would have to be as perfect as he is, and that’s just not possible. So God came to us. He gave up his throne in heaven to come to earth through his son Jesus. Jesus came to us as a baby, lived among us then died on the cross so that in God’s eyes, we can be perfect.
Phil concludes this special episode with a beautiful summary of not only the meaning of Christmas but the Gospel we’ve been learning about throughout our entire journey through the Bible this year:
I can’t reach out to God on my own, so God reached out to me. God with us, Emmanuel. . .now that’s something worth celebrating!
Have you watched Buck Denver Asks… Why Do We Call It Christmas? with your family? What have you been discussing about the story of Christmas?
Additional Christmas resources from What’s In The Bible?
- Buck Denver Asks… Why Do We Call It Christmas?
- Who Is Santa Claus?
- 10 Best Christmas Coloring Pages
- Christmas Family Bible Reading Plan
- An Uncommon Christmas: How To Buy A Cow
- An Uncommon Christmas: Finding Joy When Grief Is Heavy
- An Uncommon Christmas: Raising Uncommon Kids
- An Uncommon Christmas: Unwrapping Change
- An Uncommon Christmas: Christmas On The Mission Field
- Creating Family Holiday Traditions
- Christmas Traditions Around The World
- Celebrating The Season Of Advent
- Understanding Hanukkah From A Christian Perspective
Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. After 15 years in the music and publishing industries, Jessica came home to be with her two small children. Although the transition from the corporate world to the playground has been an adjustment, she is learning every day to access the grace available to us through Christ as she navigates the full time job of motherhood. She is the co-author of The Pregnancy Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey to Motherhood and The Baby Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey Through Baby’s First Year. Jessica lives in Nolensville, TN with her husband, Dave and two miracle babies, Hope (6) and Joshua (3).
Your family can learn more about the history of Christmas, and how Santa Claus, Christmas Trees and many of our modern holiday traditions point back to Jesus in Phil Vischer’s Buck Denver Asks… Why Do We Call It Christmas? Now streaming on JellyTelly!