The month of December is full of opportunities for our families to hear the Good News of Jesus’ birth:
- Church music presentations
- Community Christmas celebrations
- Advent observations at church and home
- Television programs (Be careful!)
- Devotional magazines
None of these, however, can be as meaningful as a simple time of gathering our family members together for a time of reflection and worship.
My wife and I have begun this annual tradition with our family. Whether all of our kids and grandkids gather at Thanksgiving or Christmas (we rotate every other year by having all 23 of us at one of these two holidays) we always plan a dedicated time for family worship. This year our gathering was at Thanksgiving (we called it Thanksmas!) I asked all thirteen of our grandchildren to sit on the floor with me (Papa) and my wife (Nana) and the other adults sat behind them. Our time of worship was simple and meaningful:
1. We talked about the tradition of giving and receiving gifts. Ahead of time, I wrapped thirteen boxes and inside each box placed the name of one of my grandchildren. I drew the names of my grandchildren out of a Christmas bag and let each (one at a time) open one of the gifts. As the name of the child inside the opened box was announced, we celebrated the birth of that child (you could do this with all of your family members) and talked about how glad we were that God gifted our family with that child.
2. I then showed the family a larger, wrapped box and began to tell the family that the name inside this box was the most wonderful gift ever given to us. I let my wife open the box and of course inside we all found the name of JESUS. We talked as a family about why JESUS was the best gift of all.
3. I then read the Christmas story from Luke 2. We prayed and thanked God for sending Jesus.
4. Lastly, I had gathered ahead of time some pictures related to the story of the Good News of Jesus…one of Joseph sleeping, one of the angel telling Mary the Good News of Jesus’ birth, one at the manger with Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus, one of Anna and Simeon seeing baby Jesus in the temple, and one of the Magi following the star to the young boy Jesus and placed them on the walls around the room. One at a time we remove the pictures and talked about what it depicted. We then had fun putting the pictures in order according to the sequence each is told about in the Bible.
5. If I followed this outline again, I would definitely close out the time of worship by singing one of the family’s favorite songs about the birth of Jesus. If you don’t feel comfortable leading the singing, invite another family member to lead or simply play a CD and sing along.
What ever plan you follow, be sure to include the reading of the story of Jesus’ birth from the New Testament. It is so important the kids and adults alike be reminded that Jesus is truly the reason for the season!
Jerry Vogel serves as a Childhood Ministry Specialist in Lifeway Church Resources. He is married to Janie and has four children and thirteen grand kids. Jerry is a member of Brentwood Baptist Church and teaches preschoolers there. He is committed to enriching the lives of those who teach kids as well as making eternal investments in the lives of children.
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