Just last Monday night I had a strange visitor. This is how it happened. I had just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door of the front room, and to my surprise, a special visitor stepped out from behind the Christmas tree.
He placed his fingers over his lips so I would not cry out. "What are you doing?" I started to ask, but the words choked up in my throat as I saw that he had tears in his eyes. He then answered me with the simple statement: "Teach the children."
I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question and with one quick movement, brought a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood there in my night shirt bewildered, the visitor said again, "Teach the children."
My perplexed expression still showed in the near darkness.
"Teach them the old meaning of Christmas---the meaning that Christmas nowadays has been forgotten."
I started to say, "How can I?" when the visitor reached into the toy bag and pulled out a brilliant shiny star. "Teach the children the star was the heavenly sign of promise long ago. God promised a Savior for the world and a sign of the fulfilment of his promise. The countless shining stars at night now show the burning hope of all mankind."
The visitor in the story goes on to explain several other symbols:
2. Red Christmas Ornament
3. Christmas Tree
7. Candy Cane
Each year, I read this story to my young children. I have a little drawstring bag filled with the symbols, just like in the story.
As I read about each symbol, I pull it out of the bag and let the kids hold it.
If you'd like a copy of the full story, it is available as a Google Document that you can easily open, save, and print to use for your family.
I love this little tradition. Last year, my kids would remind me of what each symbol meant every time we saw them around town. It is so easy to get focused on Santa and presents and dance recitals and parties, that this is just one more way that we try to remember Christ at Christmas.