A teacher friend of mine recently posted a picture of an art project one of her fourth-grade students did that made me laugh out loud. The student wrote across the top of the page, “My favorite holiday is Halloween because it’s Jesus’ birthday!”
This funny misunderstanding between Halloween and Christmas served as a good reminder for me that our kids may need a gentle reminding of “the reason for the season.” And if we’re being completely honest, in all the craziness that this season tends to bring, maybe so do we…
This December, [SPOILER ALERT ] we’re spending all month talking about the Christmas story in Kid’s Ministry! Here’s the inside scoop on what your kids will be learning in our classrooms at Hillside this holiday season, as well as some simple activities for at home to help you and your kids slow down and soak up why we celebrate Christmas in the first place – Jesus’ birthday!
Week 1: December 1-2
An Angel Visits Mary: Luke 1:26-55
At church: We kick off December by learning about when God sent the angel, Gabriel, to Mary to tell her that she would give birth to a baby who would be called Jesus, the Son of God. To us, an angel coming to Earth to tell Mary she’s going to give birth to Jesus might seem impossible; but for God, nothing is impossible!
At home: Ask your kids, what are the seemingly “impossible” situations you or someone in your life are facing right now? Spend time together thinking of friends, family members or circumstances that you want to focus on praying for this month. Just like you might make a Christmas countdown chain, make a paper prayer chain and write down a different prayer request on each link.This year as your children count down to Christmas, may they also be reminded of the importance of prayer. This act of taking time to slow down as a family and pray in an ultra-busy season might be just the recharge you need to start the new year right.
Week 2: December 8-9
Jesus is Born: Luke 2:1-7
At church: We see throughout the Old Testament many prophecies about the birth of a Savior, a Ruler, a King who would come to Earth to deliver His people. The birth of Jesus fulfilled all of those prophecies! God had a perfect plan for Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection. Just the same, God has a plan for each of us – even in the yuck and messiness of life.At home: Nevertheless, sometimes we need to be reminded of this truth. As we teach about the perfect plan God had for Jesus and has for each of us, find some time to pray a blessing over your kids this week. Give your little one’s verbal affirmation of who Christ says they are, even if it feels awkward (or even if they’re too young to understand). Sometimes the best gifts we can give to those around us are our words!
Week 3: December 15-16
God Sent His Son to Be the Savior of the World: Luke 2:5-7
At church: If you flip to Genesis 3, we see the first sin ever committed in God’s newly created world. Because Adam and Eve chose to be disobedient and eat from the forbidden tree, they were separated from God. If we fast forward to the New Testament, we see God send His Son who would ultimately pay the price for every sin of every person and end the separation between God and His people. Kind of a big job, right? This week, we are teaching that God sent His Son to be the Savior of the WHOLE world so that He could take the punishment for our sin.
At home: Maybe we’re a bit biased as Kid’s Ministry, but we love that God chose to send Jesus as a baby, in a way that was non-threatening and so unexpected. After talking about Jesus’ humble birth, this simple manger craft from Housing a Forest fit the topic perfectly. Craft time presents a great opportunity to pause and retell the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:5-7, even if you have to do so with a little glue on your hands.
Week 4: December 30
We Should Tell Others About Jesus: Luke 2:8-20
At church: In our last week of December, we’ll dive into Luke 2:8-20. An angel appears to the shepherds and tells them the good news of Jesus’ birth. After visiting Jesus, they set off to tell others about what they had seen. This news was too good to keep to themselves. Even though we didn’t get to see Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, we have the same mission as the shepherds did – to spread the news about Jesus!At home: At some point this season, look for opportunities to share Jesus with others by serving those in our community. Serving others comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s inviting your neighbors to walk and look at Christmas lights with you, creating Christmas “blessing bags” care packages for those in need, or devoting your Christmas morning to serving the homeless, bless someone this Christmas season simply by choosing to be a light through acts of service. Make like the shepherds and spread the good news!
Although, Christmastime tends to tempt all of us with “being busy,” consider these ways to slow down and continue to teach your children the Christmas story throughout each week. We believe that simple activities like these ones are great ways to teach your kids what it really means to celebrate Jesus’ birthday… whether we choose to do it on Halloween or on Christmas Day.
By Natalie Moore
Hillside Kid’s Ministry