Do you have any favorite Christmas traditions from when you were a child? Perhaps it was going together as a family to pick out the perfect tree. Maybe it was the cookies you baked together with your mom. These traditions are important to us because they provide us an anchor and connection to our family. Traditions tie a family together and give all of us a sense of belonging.
In the Bible, traditions were important to God’s people. God instructed them to celebrate certain feasts and festivals each year. These events were to be used to reflect on and remind God’s people of all God had done for them. Parents were instructed to use these festivals to teach their children about God and his faithfulness toward His people.
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance…And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Exodus 12: 14, 26-27
For Christians, traditions are important as well. As Noel Piper wrote in her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions, “The things we do regularly that help us in our deepest being to know and love and want God, the things that help our lives to be infiltrated with God–those things are traditions. And then if there are children in our lives, to pass these God-focused activities to the next generation–that’s what tradition is for a Christian” (p.25).
Christmas is an opportune time for Christian parents to “pass these God-focused activities to the next generation.” It’s an opportune time to teach our children about who Jesus is and what he has done. It’s an opportune time to center our hearts on our Savior with our family.
One way to focus on Christ during this Advent season is to learn some of the names of Jesus in Scripture. There are at least two hundred names, titles, or descriptions for Jesus in Scripture but I’ve selected twenty five names you can study with your children in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
A few ways to make it fun and engaging:
*Use pain pens to write each name on a glass ornament ball and hang them on a Christmas tree.
*For kids who like to draw, have them write out the name on shrinky dink plastic and cut them out into shapes of ornaments. Then heat them in the oven and hang the hardened plastic ornament on a tree.
*Make a paper chain with one name on each link and then hang your link around a tree when it’s complete.
The Names of Jesus
1. Jesus: Read Matthew 1:21
2. Immanuel: Read Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23
3. Messiah: Read Mark 8:29
4. Light of the World: Read John 8:12
5. Savior: Read John 4:42
6. The Word: Read John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13
7. Lamb of God: Read John 1:29
8. First Born of Every Creature: Read Colossians 1:15
9. Good Shepherd: Read John 10:11
10. Alpha and Omega: Read Revelation 22:13
11. Wonderful Counselor: Read Isaiah 9:6
12. The Christ: Read Matthew 16:16
13. Holy One: Read Mark 1:24
14. God with Us: Read Luke 2:1-20
15. Friend: Read Matthew 11:19
16. Son of Man: Read Daniel 7:13, Matthew 9:6, 12:40
17. Ancient of Days: Read Daniel 7:9
18. Servant: Read Matthew 12:18
19. King: Read Zechariah 9:9
20. Prince of Peace: Read Isaiah 9:6
21. Bright and Morning Star: Read Revelation 22:16
22. Bread of Life: Read John 6:35
23. The Mighty God: Read Isaiah 9:6
24. Son of David: Read Jeremiah 33:17 and Matthew 20:30
25. Unspeakable Gift: Read 2 Corinthians 9:15