You can start this simple but powerful family tradition.

Your kids may love to snuggle up around a cozy fire, cups of steaming hot chocolate in hand, sing Silent Night together and then listen with rapt attention as Dad or Mom reads the Christmas story.

Or maybe your kids are more like mine were, “Ah, Dad. Do we have to do that?”
To which I wanted to respond, “No you don’t have to. You get to! Now get in here and listen.”
But I realized such a response wouldn’t promote much peace on earth and goodwill toward Dad – or the Christmas story.

Then we stumbled upon a way to make it a little more interactive, a little more fun. It still wasn’t the highlight of their year but at least it made their participation less painful – for all of us.

We used a non-breakable nativity set to act out the action while I read the story. Our first year living in Guatemala Jana videoed this tradition. I share it below so you can see this doesn’t have to be some high and holy experience. We tried to have fun with it. But it gave us an opportunity to remind our entire family of the true meaning of Christmas.

We even found it worked when we had guests over or went over to someone else’s house. We could invite them to participate – or just watch – and share the story with them without appearing hyper-spiritual or like we were trying to ram religion down their throats.

A few pointers:
If you have young listeners be sure to choose an easier to understand version like the New Living Translation or The New International Version.

If you have really small, or impatient listeners, read only the sections I’ve listed in bold.

Print this out and store it with your decorations and you’ll be ready to do it again next year.

Have fun and a Merry Christmas.


  • John 1:1- 5, 14 (Eternal Word made flesh)
  • Luke 1:5-25 (Zechariah’s vision)
  • Luke 1:26-56 (Mary’s vision and trip)
  • Matthew 1:18-25 (Joseph’s first dream)
  • Luke 2:1-20 (Bethlehem & Shepherds)
  • Matthew 2:1-12 (Magi)
  • Matthew 2:13-23 (To Egypt and Nazareth)

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