I love Christmas decorations. They have a way of making everything more beautiful. Even the most humble of homes becomes a breathtaking site with just a few strands of twinkling lights.

Our family has accumulated quite the collection over the past 19 years. Every yard ornament and strand of garland has a story as to how it became a part of our family. The 9’ snowman in our front yard. The moving reindeer. The candy canes that won’t stay straight no matter how far we push them in the ground. Then there’s the ice sickle lights hanging on the house and the electric candles in the windows (one of which always has a burned out bulb). It’s not perfect, but somehow it all comes together to create something my kids look forward to every year.

Out of all our decorations, I do have a favorite. It’s my wooden nativity. I display it right inside our front door. I love the beauty in the smooth wood and how it reminds me daily what we are truly celebrating. The true story of profound love displayed through everyday people like you and me.

The Faith of young Mary, trusting in Gods plan.
The Obedience of Joseph, taking Mary as his wife.
The Truth of Jesus, the Son of God, coming to take His place in the world He created, among the people He would die for.
The Hospitality of the innkeeper.
The Humility of the stable.
The Praise of the angels.
The Joy of the shepherds.
The Seeking of the wise men.

Scripture being fulfilled in one holy night.

The nativity is a beautiful reminder of who God is and who He wants us to become. And even though December 26th marks the time when we begin rolling up the lights and putting away the nativity, it doesn’t mean we have to pack up Christmas. As parents, we have opportunities every day to lead the way and model for our children ways to keep the mot beautiful parts of Christmas up all year long.

So yes, pack up Joseph, Mary, and the babe lying in a manger. Pack up the stable and the sheep, the angels, wise men and shepherd. But don’t pack up Christmas.

Keep Faith on display as you trust in God’s plan.
Keep Obedience to God’s Word, even when you don’t understand.
Keep your Belief in the truth of scripture alive, even when it doesn’t make sense.
Keep Hospitality active, as you open your home to others.
Keep Humility in every room of your home as you put others first.
Keep Praise on your lips, no matter your circumstance.
Keep Seeking God, in all you do.

We as parents have the opportunity every day to fill our homes with a Christ-like beauty and be the person we – and more importantly God – wants our kids to be. And you know they’re watching us, as if taking in every inch of a newly decorated house at Christmas. The good news is that no matter where you are in your parenting journey, even the most humble of homes can be a breathtaking site when we choose to not pack up Christmas, but rather live it out in our every day lives. It won’t be perfect, but somehow God will make it all come together to create something that will help your kids become the people God created them to be.

Autumn WardAutumn Ward has been a writer for The reThink Group’s First Look preschool curriculum for the past 10 years and is the Creative Director for Parent Cue Initiatives. She believes every parent can be a spiritual hero in their child’s life and it’s never too soon to begin sharing God’s story of love with them. Autumn and her husband, Chad, live in Cumming, GA with their three teenage children Joseph, Sarah, and Anna.