Here in the United States, I love the beauty of Christmas: the twinkling lights, the decorations, and the occasional appearance of snow. However, with the birth of my children, I began to think more deeply about what I wanted this holiday to be about for them. I wanted them to know, really know, why we celebrate Christmas. It has to be about more than the weather because I cannot control the snow, much like I cannot control life. It has to be about more than the beauty because sometimes life isn’t beautiful. It has to be about more than the lights because life can have dark moments. I want my children, along with all children, to know about the Savior we celebrate. They need to know that God has a plan; God keeps His promises; God loves us individually; and Christmas is not the end of the story.
Truths of Christmas
- God has a plan. Christmas is about God’s plan to bring mankind into relationship with Him. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve and separated us from God. God never wanted that separation, and He began His plan to bring us back to Him. We sometimes think the plan started with the birth of Jesus. In reality, it began so much earlier. We see God’s plan when He saved the human race through Noah and the ark. We see God’s plan when He called Abraham to be the father of the Jews. We see God’s plan in the marriage of Ruth and Boaz. All of these events and people, along with many others, paved the way for the birth of Jesus. This plan reminds us that God always knows what is happening in our lives, and He is planning for our good. We may not see or understand God’s plan, but we can trust Him! Sharing this Truth with Children:
- God keeps His promises. God promised Abraham that he would have many descendants even before Abraham’s son Isaac was born. God promised Israel He would send them a Savior, even when they fell into captivity time after time. With the birth of Jesus, God kept His promise. So often, we forget that God keeps His promises. We forget that the One who promised to send a Savior is also the One who promises to provide for us. We forget that in the midst of our struggles and worries, God has promised peace. We forget that in keeping His promise, God provided a way for us to be in fellowship with Him once again, meeting the most important need in our lives. Sharing this Truth with Children:
- Share stories with children about times in your life God provided for you.
- Make a “God’s Promises” Cup. Let each child decorate a paper cup and fill it with scriptures written on slips of paper that list some of God’s promises.
- God loves us individually. Christmas is a story about the birth of Jesus, but it is also a story about God’s love for individuals. He chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus and provided a caring husband for her in Joseph. He spoke directly to Joseph in a dream to explain what was happening. He placed a star in the sky for the Magi to follow. He sent a host of angels to announce the birth to the shepherds. While we see all of these events as part of the story of Christmas, to Mary, Joseph, the Magi, and the shepherds, these events were personal. They were a message from the God who loved them. We must always remember that God loves each of us individually. While He may not speak to you in a dream or send angels to have a chat, never doubt that He is speaking. The scripture that spoke to you this morning, that was God loving you individually. The car that almost hit you but didn’t, that was God loving you individually. A tiny baby lying in a manger, that was God loving you individually. Salvation is not a group experience. God wants you to come to Him individually and accept the gift and sacrifice of Jesus. Sharing this Truth with Children:
- Invite children to look for ways that God is showing His love to them individually. (a kind word from a friend, a need met, safety when traveling, etc.). Encourage them to write them on a poster and make it a group project.
- Help children make a list of ways God showed His love to the people in the nativity story. Next make a list about how God shows His love to them. Remind children that although they were not physically at the birth of Jesus, Jesus was born for them too! This is another way God shows us His love.
- Christmas is not the end of the story. Although the story of the birth of Jesus involves beautiful pictures and images, God’s plan was not complete until Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Christmas story is simply a stepping stone to the greatest sacrifice of all time. The stable is there to point us to the empty tomb. Always make sure children know the end of the story! Sharing this Truth with Children:
- Invite children to accept the gift of salvation. Christmas would be a wonderful time for them to begin their relationship with God!
- Begin a study of the life of Jesus that extends all the way to the Easter season.
-By Kathryn H. Creasy, Executive Director of Leadership Development and Discipleship Ministries
As published in the December 2016 issue of the White Wing Messenger