If you’re looking for something new to add to your Christmas that helps to keep your family focused on Christ, a Bethlehem Dinner is our family’s favorite way to do just that. The kids look forward to it each year, and the spirit it brings into our home is almost tangible. We’ve been doing this for a few years and even when we had toddlers it was so effective.
We do our Bethlehem dinner sometime in December, usually close to Christmas (like the Monday before, so it is also our Family Home Evening that night). Because we frequently travel for the week of Christmas, it can vary. It would be a great tradition for a Christmas Eve or one special night that you pick during December.
Dinner should be different than your normal dinner and inspired by what Mary and Joseph may have eaten as they traveled to Bethlehem. We do simple, finger foods that are cut up into bite size pieces:
- summer sausage
- baby carrots
- pita chips
Getting the kids calm and settled so the spirit can be felt is all about the ambiance. We sit on a blanket on our family room floor. Turn out all the lights (& close the blinds if it’s light outside) EXCEPT the Christmas tree lights — those stay on. It should be dim but light enough to see your food.
As we eat, my husband reads to us the story of the birth of Christ from Luke 2. We don’t need to say anything else, just the words from the scriptures. It’s as simple as that.
This has been a powerful way for us to focus on the Savior at Christmas. Everyone looks forward to it. And my favorite part is that it doesn’t take a lot of work to prepare. Cutting up some cheese, sausage, and fruit to serve with the other store bought items make it a simple meal to prepare and there’s no extra work. It’s just a beautiful way to bring the spirit of Christmas into our home.
Share some of your Christmas traditions that bring the focus on the Savior in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you do!