“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” Dale Evans
When we sift out commercialism and get down to what Christmas really is about, we must agree that Christmas is God’s love in action. God sent His only Son to earth to show how much He loves us. Sometimes in the busyness of the Christmas season our ministries fail to reflect to children the real meaning of Christmas.
Oh, yes, they hear the Christmas story. They sing Christmas carols. They may even buy presents and give them to others. But have they really comprehended God’s active love that made Christmas a reality and a celebration? What can we do to make that happen?
TELL THE STORY
Almost every child is familiar with the Christmas story—perhaps too familiar. Help the children experience the story as if it was for the very first time.
- Provide preschool children with figures of the nativity that they can interact with.
- Provide props and simple costumes so preschool and early elementary children can act out the Christmas story in their own time and in their own way.
- Place a small baby Jesus figure or picture of Baby Jesus in a box. Wrap the box in Christmas paper. When the child opens the box (whether on Christmas Day or in your ministry time) remind him that Jesus is God’s gift to us and He is the very best gift.
- Talk with children about what they can give God. What gift does He want from each of them?
- Hide a baby Jesus figure and let the “wise men” in your children’s ministry search until they find Him.
- Create a Christmas Eve service for the families of your church that engages children in the story of Christmas. You might have stations telling the Christmas story—Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem but cannot find a place to stay; Baby Jesus is born in a barn; a choir of angels sings wonderful songs announcing the baby’s birth; the shepherds come and worship. At each station provide interactive activities that the children can do.
- Have a birthday party for Jesus. Celebrate with Christmas music, interactive games, and birthday cake. Ask each child to bring a wrapped Christmas gifts containing a toy for a child his age and gender.
- Hang a stocking for the Christ child. Let the children fill it with notes just for Him.
LIVE THE STORY
If Christmas is love in action let the children live out God’s love.
- Challenge older children to become modern-day magi. The magi brought three gifts to Jesus. What three gifts can you give to Him?
- Ask children to give up something each week before Christmas and then use the money saved to help someone in need.
- Ask children to set aside a certain amount of time each week to serve at home, in the community, or at church.
- Encourage the kids to go through all of their stuff and donate something of value to a local charity
- Encourage every child to do something for the pastor and other leaders in your church—a homemade craft or snack, a note of thanks, an act of service.
- Ring in an international Christmas by assigning a country to each child. Besides reporting about how that country celebrates the holiday, he or she can prepare a seasonal dish to share, give Christmas greetings in the language of that country, or demonstrate a song or folk dance. Then pray for the people of that culture so that they too might understand the meaning of God’s love.
- Ask children to bring in one or two Christmas cards that friends have mailed to their home. Pray together for each person or family whose name is on the card.
Take action now to make sure that the children in your ministry and in your home get the big picture of what Christmas is all about—God loved us so much that He sent His Son into the world. That is worth celebrating!
-By Kathryn H. Creasy, Executive Director of Leadership Development and Discipleship Ministries
As published in the December 2017 issue of the White Wing Messenger