Holidays can be important times to connect and grow faith in your family. Most families have extra time at Thanksgiving and Christmas to do things together. Invest the extra time in faith-building exercises and experiences. It could be as simple as "I'm Thankful for ..." Before enjoying your feast, go around the table and share two things you are thankful for about the person on your left. "I'm thankful for my brother who helps me practice basketball and let's me play video games with him and his friends, sometimes." "I'm thankful for Uncle Jermaine who tickles me and laughs at my jokes."
Another idea for Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving Place Cards. Choose a Bible passage on thankfulness (Psalm 95:2, I Thessalonians 5:18) divide the scripture and write a section on 2-3 place cards. Number the cards in order of the sections. Ask everyone to read their section in order as a Family Thanksgiving Prayer.
If you have younger children, have them make a Thankful Feast by cutting out pictures, or draw illustrations of the Thanksgiving food they enjoy and other blessings they are grateful for, and gluing them on a large piece of construction paper. Display on the refrigerator as a reminder.
What can you do to serve others at Thanksgiving? Is there someone that may not have a family to celebrate with? Can you invite them to join your family? How can you model thankfulness for your children?
Christmas is another time that is ideal for driving faith home with your kids. The whole season is about God sending His gracious gift of His son. It's about a child. It's about a gift that we haven't earned. It's about joy and togetherness. What can you do to strengthen faith this Christmas? Check out 52 Family Time Experiences for fun, intentional Christmas experiences that you can do with any family. For example: Christmas Basket - once a week after Thanksgiving have Soup Night for dinner, instead of a more expensive meal. With the money you save buy groceries and place them into a basket that the kids have decorated. Canned goods, candy canes, gift cards, and decorations might go in the basket. On Soup Night pray that God would show you a family who is in financial need and could benefit from the groceries in the basket. Right before Christmas, drop off the basket at their house with a Christmas card. You may choose to keep it a surprise and anonymous.
Intentional moments happen year-round, not just on holidays. A few tips to get you started: 1) Invest the time. Set aside time each week if you can. Children benefit from routine and will anticipate the time. 2) Prepare. Read the weekly session in the book ahead of time and obtain the materials. I suggest compiling all of the materials into a 'Family Time Box' (see list in book) and you will have them ready. 3) Protect your Family Time by eliminating distractions and conflicts in schedule (no tech, texts, TV, phone, video games, etc. for the twenty minutes. 4) Customize for your kids. Adapt for each child's age, interests and learning style. 5) Honor each other by being present - physically and emotionally. 6) Be flexible and make it fun. It doesn't have to be perfect - it's family! Enjoy each other! If you have teens, let them lead some of the Family Times. (See more tips in 52 Creative Family Time Experiences). Please share your family time experiences with stories, photos and videos. We can learn from each other!