Happy Holy Days! This is a fun time of year where everyone works a little extra hard to be kind to one another. We have passed the Black Friday Deal scrambles. We made it through the Cyber Monday clickfest. Now, all we have to do is sit back and enjoy the star.
My son is two and so this is the first Christmas where he really knows what is going on. I care a lot about the traditions we teach him because the holidays and the way we observe them shape us in very foundational ways. So my wife and I examine most everything we teach him about the holidays. Last year, I wrote a few articles on advent. This year though I am going to focus on following the star.
Following the Star
I figure that if a star was good enough for some wise men to travel over 1500 miles then that is good enough for me. Because of this, we have over-emphasized the part of the nativity of the wise-men seeking Jesus in our house for now.
First, it was made easy because there is a movie called The Star. The movie is the nativity story told from the perspective of the animal bystanders with some dramatic elements added in. My son really likes the story and the characters and it has made talking about the nativity easy in our house. Also, the animals have Biblical names which has opened up for us to tell their stories too. I am all about those side benefits.
Second, we do not have an elf on the shelf. I know the elf is supposed to move around and report on the kids and whatnot. The fun though is that the elf moves around and the kids get to find him every day. Instead of an elf, we follow the wise men. They follow the star around and hang out next to it every day (see picture at the top). After bath time (when the stars come out) the star is in a new location, and he has to help the wise men find the star for the next day. Eventually, the wise men will end up in the nativity scene.
How it goes over
Our son loves helping the wise-men follow the star because we are reinforcing the tradition with some well-deserved tradition lubricant, chocolate. When the wise men arrive at the star, we get to open our advent calendar chocolate. The motivation to find that star post bath time is really high! Yeah, we might be bribing him a little, but the Bible also advises us to be shrewd. There is no more important place to be crafty (in both senses) than in parenting. The important thing is that the nativity is the focus of Christmas.
Take it deeper
One of the things that has been revealed to me over the past year has been the need to continue to follow Jesus. Just like his star, Jesus is a moving target. He is not a fixed point where we can always say, he is here or there. Jesus moves around which requires us to keep following him.
I am not saying that Jesus is always changing. You can always recognize the star. That doesn’t change. However, its location does move and often into unexpected situations. This means Jesus is exciting and there is always something fresh for the followers of Christ. We cannot stay still. If we do then we aren’t following Jesus. We are just watching the star go by in our lives.God is the destination. We just have to keep following Jesus to get there. Click To Tweet
I never expected the nativity star to become an important part of my theology. Growing up, I always appreciated it. There are also some great articles about the science behind the star. More important is understanding the metaphor. The star is Jesus. Like the star, Jesus is not the end. God is the end. God is the destination. We just have to keep following Jesus to get there. The pesky part is that He is always moving around. That is also the best part.
What are your holiday traditions?
What are your holiday traditions? Do you rock the elf on a shelf? Do you Binge-watch the classic Claymation Rudolph and Santa Clause is Coming to Town? What about the more recent movies, like Will Ferrell’s Elf? Maybe you’re a lights and blow-up person. Let me know in the comments what makes this time of year special to you.
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