*Sponsored by The Star In Theaters November 17.
The Christmas season is drawing closer and every year I look for thoughtful activities to help teach my four children the true meaning of Christmas. Already, my kids are circling every item in the toy magazine and talking about how many tablets they’re each going to get. If we’re not careful, the miracle of Jesus Christ’s birth will quickly become overshadowed by “things.”
This year, we’re looking forward to heading to the movie theater as a family to watch the new Sony Pictures Animations movie The Star, plus we’re introducing a new family Christmas tradition that will promote kindness in your home.
The Story of the First Christmas
In theaters November 17th, The Star is a funny and inspiring adventure of a brave donkey named Bo (voice by Steven Yeun) who finds the courage to break free from his daily grind at the village mill and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams.
On his journey, Bo teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep that has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told—the first Christmas.
The Star is the first big Christmas movie to actually embrace the Christmas story. The focus is not on Santa, elves, or presents, but rather the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
My family could greatly use that reminder.
If one of your family traditions is heading to the movie theater to catch a flick, The Star is the perfect family film to watch this holiday season! It’s an inspiring re-telling of the Nativity story through the animals who were actually there! You’ll leave the theater feeling uplifted and inspired.
The Star cast is packed with voices you’ll recognize like Kelly Clarkston (voice of Leah the horse), Kristen Chenoweth (voice of Abby the Mouse), Tracy Morgan (voice of Felix the camel), Tyler Perry (voice of Cyrus the camel), and Oprah Winfrey (voice of Deborah the camel).
Plus, the soundtrack is amazing with songs by Mariah Carey, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Fifth Harmony, and more.
A New Christmas Tradition: Building Baby Jesus a Manger of Kindness
So much of Christmas has become commercialized. There’s such a franticness to buy, buy, buy! Sadly, a huge portion of our holiday season is spent stressing about the things we will be giving and getting instead of expressing our gratitude for Jesus Christ’s birth and spreading kindness to others.
This holiday season in our home, we’re starting a special new tradition we call, “Building Baby Jesus a Manger of Kindness.” Here’s how it works:
After Thanksgiving, we get down the nativity set and have a special family night where we open our Bible to Luke chapter 2 and let the kids get out each nativity figure. As each child chooses a figure, mom or dad find the scripture that coincides with that figure and we read the story of the first Christmas.
We read about Mary and Joseph, about the special star that appeared, and about baby Jesus, whose bed was a manger. The kids are always so concerned that Jesus wasn’t warm enough. That’s when I had a sweet idea—let’s make baby Jesus a manger of kindness.
First I created a simple paper cutout of baby Jesus lying in the manger and glued it to a trifold poster.
We explained to the kids that to keep baby Jesus extra warm this holiday season, we were going to make him a bed using kindness straw.
As a family we cut out several strips of paper. When we notice anyone in the family doing something kind, we write it on a piece of kindness straw and then glue it onto baby Jesus’s manger.
The goal is to fill baby Jesus’s bed with as much straw as we can to keep him comfortable and warm.
John 13: 34-35 talks about showing love one to another. “Love one another, as I have loved you…” The very best thing we can do to make Jesus happy and warm is to show love to one another through our words, actions, and good deeds.
Not only did the kids fully embrace this activity, they started looking for ways to be more kind.
Our poster can stand as a reminder all season long that the true meaning of Christmas is centered on Christ and kindness.
The kids can read the sweet things on the kindness straw and can keep adding to baby Jesus’s bed all season long.
If you’re looking for a few ways to center your holidays on what matters most, try building baby Jesus a manger of kindness.
Also, head to theaters November 17th to see The Star—it’s going to be a Christmas classic you’ll want to watch again and again!