The holidays can be a busy time. Families are inundated with parties, get-togethers, retail fever, and thousands of hours of holiday programming at their fingertips. While many of these things are harmless in themselves, the true meaning of Christmas can easily be lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
As a youth leader, it is your calling to constantly lead your students back to Jesus Christ and the gospel—especially during the holidays. Christmas is an amazing opportunity to help your students refocus as the year comes to an end and a new year begins.
Here are three ways you can remind your students of the true “reason for the season” as we approach Christmas.
1. Teach the Christmas story—and focus on the gospel
“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” – Luke 2:10
You may have read the Christmas story hundreds of times by now. You may have seen all the live nativities and heard all the retellings in movies and plays. However, there is nothing quite like hearing the story of Christ’s birth anew every year.
A great way to remind your students of the reason for the season is to take a night of your youth group schedule to simply open God’s Word and read the Christmas story together. Read it to your students. Read it with your students. Have your students read it to you. If you have time for a short devotional, focus on God’s grand plan to redeem mankind through His Son (John 3:16). This is the gospel! Turn this night into an opportunity for students to make an eternal choice for God as they hear about His great love from His Word!
2. Celebrate Jesus’ birth with music
“Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!” – Psalm 105:2
There may be no better way to remember the awesome love of God shown to us through Christ than singing praises to His name! God-honoring Christmas music is a gift. The best part is, there are many great songs that tell of Jesus’s birth. There is not enough space for a comprehensive list here, nor would I assume that any song is “better” than all the others—but there are many great classic hymns and contemporary songs that praise God for the first advent of His Son.
Whatever your musical style is, take time to explain the meaning behind these songs to your students. Let the lyrics about the amazing, miraculous life of Christ sink in. Let your singing be an act of corporate worship to God!
Be sure to be intentional about the reason for singing. We sing to honor the One who showed us such love that He gave His only Son; He lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again three days later, conquering death and offering the hope of eternal life to all who believe in His name!
3. Prioritize giving over receiving
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35
Just as God has given His Son to us, we should give to others. Jesus Christ modeled the pattern of giving during His ministry, and He fulfilled this purpose completely on the cross. Christmas is a great reminder that we should look after those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
A great way to do this might be to collect groceries for a food pantry, gather winter clothes for a local shelter, or donate toys for struggling kids in your neighborhood. Your students could give of their time by going Christmas caroling to elderly people in your area. Encourage your students (if they are able) to give sacrificially to each other and their families, expecting nothing in return.
Whatever you choose to do, always bring your students back to the reason why we give—to imitate the One who has given so fully to us. Ultimately, it’s all about the incredible gift of Jesus.
We hope that this holiday season brings growth to your students and your team as you celebrate the true reason for the season. From all of us at Word of Life, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Adam Minor is the Chief Editor for Word of Life Youth Ministries. He has more than 20 years of experience as an Olympians leader at his home church. He and his wife, Sarah, have two young children and live in northeastern Connecticut.