Written by: Debbie Miller
Sights and sounds of Christmas are everywhere. Twinkling lights are being strung, decorations are coming out of the boxes, Christmas songs are being played, hummed and sung, and the smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies is beginning to fill the air. What an exciting time of the year! Each year as I remove our nativity pieces from their well worn Styrofoam box, I am flooded with memories of Christmas. Several of our nativity pieces show evidence of having been handled by little hands. Joseph lost his arm in 1984 when our oldest son was a two-year-old. The first year I had to glue Joseph’s arm back in place I was heartbroken. I probably had spent more on this set than our budget could manage at the time. Each year at Christmas I would open the box and Joseph would need a new repair job. As the years passed I began to look forward to seeing Joseph and his broken arm. The memories of celebrating the birth of Jesus with our children were much more important to me.
This time of year I am reminded of the responsibility we have in Children’s Ministry to focus our teaching on Christ. As you begin to prepare your lessons for the month of December, are you being intentional about keeping Christ in Christmas? It is important that you consider the purpose of what we are called to do, especially during the Bible Study hour. “Over the years the Sunday School movement has been tweaked to meet the needs of people. Yet the primary purpose of this hour has remained the same – helping boys, girls, men and women connect with God through His Word.”1 The biblical truths we read in the Bible are the foundations on which we teach. It is important to plan activities that relate to the Biblical teaching. We have a limited amount of time each week to teach Biblical truths. Sadly, the time you have, may be the only time some children hear foundational biblical truths.
In the past you may have innocently included secular Christmas activities, including Santa, without thought as to how these activities might impact the teaching of biblical truths. Take a few minutes to think about the activities you have planned for the month of December. Will each activity support your teachings about the birth of Jesus or will the activities be a distraction? Will your activities confuse truth with fantasy? Does this mean you can’t celebrate with your children at church? Absolutely not, the moments you spend making decorations for a Christmas tree or sharing a Christmas snack build relationships with your children. A relationship is an important component in reaching children with biblical truths. What it does mean is that you are intentional about making Christ the center of your teaching about Christmas.
Enjoy teaching about the birth of Jesus and have a Merry Christmas!
1 Lifeway: Connect 3 The Power of One Sunday School – Preschool Teaching Plan.