Do you find it difficult to engage your teenagers during the Christmas season? I mean about the real reason for the season? I know I do. It seems the majority of Christmas activities tend to be geared toward younger children. And it can be easy to let family traditions and events drive us through the holidays without actually creating space for our teens to encounter God and really experience His unconditional love for them.
Over the last few years, I have gathered thoughts from friends, mentors, and resources to compile a list of ideas geared toward teenagers. Obviously, each teenager is different and might respond to one idea but not another. This is why it is important to rely on the Holy Spirit. We can create opportunities, but He does the work. Take time to ask the Lord what He wants to do with your teen through this holiday season. As you plan your activities for the month of December, consider some of these ideas to put your teen in the path of knowing God.
The celebration of Advent is a meaningful tradition that marks the four Sundays before Christmas. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for celebrating the nativity of Jesus as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. Advent is filled with Scripture readings, time for reflection, prayer, worship, singing, and serving others. Put your teen in charge of leading your family through Advent this year; you may be surprised what he comes up with! For more information on Advent, visit http://focusonthefamily.com/parenting/holidays/adventcalendars/celebrate-the-advent-season.
Serving together helps your teenager to focus on giving rather than receiving. There is an abundance of opportunities to volunteer your time during the holiday season at homeless shelters, nursing homes, local church outreaches, and more. In my experience, God reveals His character to my children and me when we give to others with our time. Encourage your teen to choose where she would like your family to serve this year.
In the Old Testament, fathers intentionally passed down faith to their children during times of festivities or gatherings. During the month of December, consider planning specific family nights filled with delicious food and treats, games, and a time to worship with one another as a family. In our household, my husband often prepares a short devotional, we sing together, and then we pray for one another. This can be a meaningful time for teenagers to know God’s love and thoughts toward them. If it makes sense for your family, consider putting your teen in charge of some part of these family gatherings.
“Teenagers let their walls down with time and consistency.”
I want to encourage you that if you have tried some of these things without much success, don’t give up! Keep trying. Teenagers let their walls down with time and consistency. Like most things, cultivating deeper relationships with God and with each other takes time and the work of the Holy Spirit. He is faithful to produce fruit from the seeds you plant.