INTENTIONAL GRANDPARENTING DURING THE HOLIDAYS
What does it mean to be an “intentional Christian grandparent”? To me it means to take seriously my role to lift up Christ and His Gospel to the next generations, and to finish the race well by passing on God’s grace and truth so that future generations will know, love and serve Christ.
When I open my internet browser home page, I see loving pictures of grandparents with their grandchildren and helpful daily blogs from a website called “Grandmas with Heart.” This is a reminder to me every time I log onto the internet to be an intentional Christian grandparent. A recent blog post I found there was entitled “Your Grandma Power.” This article described how the writer’s young grandson had snatched one of her fresh baked cookies and said: "Your 'grandma power' is making cookies!" I think my grandchildren would say my “grandma power” is planning fun activities and games for holidays, especially family activities at Christmas time. They have some favorites that they ask for us to play every Christmas.
Here are some activities that you can plan to do with your grandchildren this Christmas to intentionally share the love of Christ with them. Please understand that these are not all my own original ideas but ones I have researched and tweaked using many Christian websites. So here we go with a few ideas to help you intentionally share the love of Jesus with your grandchildren at Christmas.
Idea Number 1—Record the True Account of Jesus’ Birth
One of the things about Christmas which brings us joy is the opportunity it provides for us to share with our grandchildren the true account of Jesus' birth—the real reason for the season. You could sit your grandchildren down and record/film them sharing the account of Jesus' birth—in their own words. It is certain to be a recording/video you will treasure. What a cherished treasure it would be to have the recording/film of your grandchildren sharing the Christmas account in their words and then one day to add the recording/film of your great-grandchildren doing the same!
Idea Number 2—Homemade Christmas Cards
Christmas gives us the perfect opportunity to involve our grandchildren in thinking about and praying for the people we know and love. To help them learn to do this, why not get them involved in making the Christmas cards for this year instead of buying them. You can have your grandchildren draw the design on the cover, you can write the inside greeting, and then pray together for the people who will be receiving the cards. Pray the coming year will draw the people who receive the cards closer to Jesus.
Idea Number 3—Star of Bethlehem Ornaments
If you search the internet for homemade Christian Christmas ornaments, there are hundreds to choose from along with YouTube videos that demonstrate how to make them. Here is an idea to make a Star of Bethlehem ornament. All you need is clothes pins, glue, and strips of paper with a Christmas message. Gather your grandchildren and read from Matthew 2 about how the Wise Men followed the star. Talk with your grandchildren about how God set the star in the sky to lead the wise men to Jesus and how He uses people and circumstances today to draw people to Jesus. You could find music to listen to while making the ornaments such as Beautiful Star of Bethlehem. You could also share with your grandchildren how you were drawn to Jesus and made the choice to believe in Him. If your grandchildren would like to make additional star ornaments to give to people they know, help them make more. Take time to pray with your grandchildren for the people who will receive the Christmas Star Ornament.
Idea Number 4—Start a new family Christmas Tradition
Help your grandchildren focus on others this season by making use of the Christmas cards received in the mail. Place the cards in a basket on the dinner table and take turns drawing one out. Then pray together for that person or family. Also, you could start a new family tradition by picking out a new holiday picture book to read on Christmas Eve.
Idea Number 5—Christmas Story Scavenger Hunt
This activity is a fun way for kids to celebrate Christmas on December 25th while helping them to focus on the real reason for Christmas—Jesus’ birthday. Print out Luke 2:1-20 and cut the scripture passage into 25 scavenger hunt clues, next weave the clues into whatever Christmas bows you have on hand and stick the bows around the house (or simply tape the clues around the house if it is easier). Then have your grandchildren go on a Christmas bow scavenger hunt. When they have found all 25 clues, they will be reminded of the real meaning of Christmas by putting the story of Jesus’ birth back in order and reading it together as a family.
Idea number 6—Serving Others This Christmas Season
We are called to humbly serve other people but sometimes it’s hard to come up with ways to help others. Here is a list of quick ways you can encourage your grandchildren to serve their siblings, parents, and neighbors this Christmas season.
Ideas for ways your grandchildren can serve their brothers and sisters:
- Pray for them.
- Do one of their chores.
- Give them the biggest piece of dessert—even if it’s your favorite.
- Offer them the best seat at the table, in the car or when watching a movie.
- Tell parents something good about them.
- Make their bed.
Ideas for ways your grandchildren can serve their parents:
- Do something helpful without being asked.
- Be ready to leave for school or church early, so your parents don’t have to wait for you.
- Obey without talking back.
- Write a letter or draw a picture to tell your parents you love them.
- Pick up your toys and art supplies.
- Make breakfast in bed for your parents.
Ideas for ways your grandchildren can serve their neighbors:
- Bring them a fresh batch of cookies.
- Invite them to a Christmas service at your church, a play at your school or another Christmas activity.
- Sing Christmas carols by their front door with a group of friends.
- Shovel their driveway and sidewalk—and don’t accept payment.
- Write a letter or draw a picture to share the Christmas story.
- Ask them to tell you about Christmas memories when they were your age.
Idea Number 7—The Gift of Scripture
Ask each family member to select a Scripture that has meant something to them during the past year. On Christmas morning, take turns reading the chosen verse or passage and share why it was important to them. This is a way to include Jesus in the gift-giving, and it helps everyone focus more on our Savior.
Hopefully, you found at least one idea to share with your grandchildren this Christmas season. If you will not be able to see your grandchildren in person this Christmas season, most of these activities can be shared via Facetime, Zoom, phone calls, or any other way you might choose to connect with your grandchildren who live at a distance.
Now back to my Grandma Power! Even though my grandchildren might say my “grandma power” is game planning, my greatest "grandma power" is to pray for my grandchildren. Prayer is a true "super" power that both grandma and grandpa can possess, because God is big enough and loving and gracious enough to answer our prayers. Jeremiah 29:12-14a: Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
So, be a grandma/grandpa with the "power" but remember your greatest "grandma/grandpa power" is to pray for your grandchildren.
My prayer for 2021:
We thank You Father for new beginnings. Our new beginnings start with You, for Your love is unfailing. Your “mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 2:22-23).
Please help us forget what lies behind, so we don’t drag any shame, regret or sense of personal failure into the New Year. Lead us as we strain forward to what lies ahead, pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14, paraphrased).
We pray for opportunities to share our redemption stories with our sons and daughters, our grandsons and granddaughters, so they, too, trust You for their own new beginnings.
In Christ’s Name, we pray.