Make Christmas Sparkle!
How can I make Christmas sparkle? The tinsel, lights, and twinkling stars won’t do it! I make Christmas sparkle by keeping my focus on the true meaning of the season, the celebration of Jesus’ birth! Christmas without Christ is like a counterfeit dollar; it is worthless!
Remember, it is Christ’s birthday we are celebrating, so let us treat Him like the honored guest. Ask any child who is about to have a birthday, and he will tell you that his birthday is a special day, a day unlike all the other days of the year. Christmas is a holy day because it marks the most significant birth on this earth. The Christmas season allows us to reflect on this holy day and give God praise and thanksgiving. Without an awareness of God’s purposes for this special day, Christmas ceases to be a holy day and just becomes a holiday. The real meaning of Christmas is still found in the declaration of the angel, “I bring you good news. Today the Savior is born who is Christ the Lord.” The message of the angels is just as real today as it was on that first Christmas.
- The Lord is come, and we must receive Him as our King.
- The joy of the season is in the birth of the Savior!
- Christmas will sparkle when you crown Jesus, King of your life.
Our challenge as children’s ministry leaders is to lead children to discover not only a baby in a manger but the living Lord of Christmas! So that each child might know Him as Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Savior, and Emmanuel, God with us!
IDEAS YOU CAN USE
To make Christmas sparkle read a biblical account of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18-24, 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38, 2:1-20) to the children. Visit a live nativity scene or set up a nativity scene in your classroom. Read an age-appropriate book about the Christmas story with your children. Then discuss Jesus’ life; how he loved people and did things for others. To make Christmas come alive for them, teach them to imitate Jesus by doing things for others. Below are a few examples of ways the children can live as Jesus lived.
Teach them to give
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ “Acts 20:35 (NIV).
- Have the children choose one of their own toys (in good condition) to give to a child who has none. Or ask them to choose a clothing item, such as a coat or shoes to give to a local shelter that assists families with children.
- Let the children help provide the ingredients for a Christmas meal as well as presents for the children and articles of clothing for a family in need.
- Let the children make a list of family and close friends that he would like to give to this Christmas season. Help him think of gifts that require his time rather than money such as homemade gifts (see suggestions below) or acts of service.
Teach them to share
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” 1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV).
Talk with the children about what they have to share with others. Guide them to discover that they cannot only share things but also their unique talents and their time.
- Let the children help you prepare and neatly package a simple treat that they can share with someone such as a neighbor, teacher, or coach.
- Using their creative gifts let the children make cards, audio recording, or a video that could be shared with someone living alone, in the nursing home, or in the hospital.
- Ask the children to think of a family member or close family friend who would enjoy a visit from them. Help each child brainstorm things he can do while spending time with this special person such as reading together or playing a game.
Teach them to care
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land” Psalms 68:5, 6 (NIV).
- Plan a visit to a children’s hospital. With your help, the children can prepare a short program that the young patients would enjoy and a special treat to share with each one.
- Let the children collect clothing, school supplies, or toys to share with children in an orphanage or homeless shelter.
Teach them to serve
“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV).
- Volunteer to take your children to the homeless shelter to serve a meal. Determine a menu and assign responsibility for preparation to children and their families. In advance, the children could prepare table decorations. They could also make up care packages consistently of snacks and toiletry items.
- Take your children to an assisted living center or nursing facility. The children can help the nursing staff with specific tasks, distribute small gift items to patients, and present a program to the staff and residents.
- Are there people in your congregation or community who are unable to do yard work, housework, or car detailing? With adult supervision, assign these task to children in your ministry.
By teaching our children to imitate Jesus, we will keep the true meaning of Christmas alive for this generation and for the next, and will truly “make Christmas sparkle!”
Gifts Kids Can Make
Bookmarks: Each child provides a picture of themselves. Glue onto a strip of cardstock that is bookmark size. Children can then decorate them with glitter, stickers, write their names on them, or a poem. Cover with clear contact paper.
Refrigerator Magnets: Trim a picture of child to fit inside a baby food jar lid. Each child can then glue the picture inside the lid. Use glitter or glitter glue to put trim around the edge and then glue a magnet on the back of the lid.
Ornaments: Use 1 cup salt, 4 cups flour, 1 ½ cups water, and 4 tablespoons of oil. Mix flour and salt. Slowly add water and oil to the dry ingredients, stirring with a spoon until well blended. Knead dough until soft and pliable. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes. Use a straw to put hole in ornament for hanging. Bake 45 minutes in 350 degree oven until hard. Paint with acrylic paints or varnish to seal. Put a ribbon, string, or yarn in the hole for hanging on the tree.
Gifts Kids Can Give
Coupon book: Brainstorm with the children ways they can serve a particular family member, teacher, or friend. Provide each child with a 5 or 10 note cards. Let him neatly print on each note card one way he is willing to serve that person. Encourage him to decorate the other side of the note card with stickers or a drawing. The note cards can be bundled and tied with a ribbon and gift tag. During the coming year the coupon book recipient can then present the child with a note card when he needs a specific service performed.
My Story. Let the children write and illustrate a short story or poem for a particular family member, teacher or friend.
Originally printed as the Volume 10, Issue 12 of the CM Newsletter, December 2006, Contributing Editor: Bess Croyle