- Christmas Party Idea – “Win it in a Minute” Games with Holiday Flair
- Christmas-Themed Bible Skill Games
- Christmas Coloring Pages
- Telling the Christmas Story
- 10 Buddy the Elf Quotes for Kids Ministry
- 5 Things You MUST Do with Your Kids This Christmas
- The Real Christmas Story: A Quiz for You and Your Kids
- 10 More Elf Quotes for Kids Ministry
- Christmas Teacher Appreciation: Personalized Ornaments
- Christmas Time Is Here…And So Is Jesus
Probably most of the folks that I run into during November and December are excited about and looking forward to the holiday season. They may have some anxieties about “getting everything done,” but, for the most part, this season is one of their favorite times of the year.
As a Christian and follower of Jesus, every year during these days, I try to challenge myself to make sure that in the midst of the hustle and bustle that Jesus really is at the center of my holiday celebrations. Would you join me in doing the same and asking yourself these 7 simple questions?
1. Are you being faithful during these days in spending time with God in His Word and in prayer?
2. Do you look for opportunities while shopping and spending time in your community to say a good word about Jesus?
3. Do you purpose to have your family time at Christmas lift up the name of Jesus and truly celebrate your Savior and what he has done for you?
4. Have you set up a Nativity Set in your home to remind your family and guests that come into your home that Jesus is at the root of your celebrations…not just decorated trees, bright lights and traditional holiday foods?
5. Do you make sure that Christmas cards you send include the name of Jesus and the real reason for Christmas?
6. Will going to church at Christmas time be more than just a duty? Will you make every effort to truly focus on God’s love that was perfectly shown as He sent us His Son?
7. Lastly, have you made a commitment during this season to do something (give a missions offering, volunteer at a homeless shelter, bake something delightful to give away including a note about Jesus) that helps spread the Good News?
Let’s commit together that with God’s help, this will be our most evangelistic Christmas ever!
Each of us grew up looking forward to things in life that we could “count on.” Even though we did not know it at the time…these treasured experiences have become “traditions.” Included in this group would be things like: how the house smells at Thanksgiving; the types of food we eat on certain holidays; whether we read the Christmas story from the book of Luke on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day…and on and on.
Children love traditions! Adults love traditions! Each year we look forward to re-experiencing meaningful memories. For different families this list of valued traditions can be very unique…For example, in my family we never have mashed potatoes for the Christmas or Thanksgiving meals. For some families, though, things are just not right without the mashed potatoes on the dinner table for both occasions.
If you were to make a list today of annual family traditions, what would be on your list? Never forget that this list of treasured memories usually began during the childhood years. So the question becomes, as a family, what will be the traditions that your kids remember? Consider these and then plan to make some of these happen throughout the year:
- A time when the family reads from the Bible together. This might be at Christmas when we read the story of Jesus’ birth and Thanksgiving when we read Psalms of thanksgiving.
- A family group time at Christmas. One of my greatest joys each year is gathering my twelve grandchildren (soon to be thirteen!) for a time of singing, sharing the Christmas story and playing games together that help us remember this blessed time of year. (For years, my grandkids have dressed up and acted out the Christmas story…very easy to do with just a few pieces of fabric and a few props.)
- A planned time just before Thanksgiving dinner when each family member names just one thing for which he/she is grateful.
- A concerted effort to attend church together on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
- An effort to make each family member an Easter card always including the phrase, “He Is Risen!”
- A birthday dinner for each member of the family letting the birthday person choose the restaurant.
Traditions don’t have to be complicated. They can be very simple:
- Going out for ice cream every Friday night.
- Going on Daddy Dates and Mommy Dates.
- Choosing one night of the week when everyone in the family is committed to staying home and playing games.
- Memorizing one Bible verse a week together as a family
You get the idea! Plan for fun times together as a family and “keep your promises” when it comes to honoring these times together. Your kids will love it!
Two years ago I travelled to Africa, and since then, every beat of my heart sounds different. My heart – echoing Christ – compels me to fight for justice, mercy, kindness, orphans, and the poor.
Sometimes I don’t know how to fight for the poor, but God clarifies my questions by telling us to give to others (Matthew 25:31-46, Acts 20:35, 2 Corinthians 8:7). Here’s an excerpt from a study on justice that, along with Scripture, has multiplied my giving:
“Take your hands and squeeze them together right now as tightly as you can. Hold them, if you can, until I tell you to stop, OK? It won’t be too long, just hold them really tight. Really squeeze; really press them together. You know what? That’s exactly what some of us, if not many of us, are doing in our lives. We do this with our money, relationships, and jobs. We wonder why we are a stressed-out culture — it’s because we’re holding tightly to anything and everything we can get our hands on.
DON’T LOOSEN THOSE HANDS. Keep holding them tightly. What I want you to do now while you’re holding really tightly is … just let go. Release your grip and completely relax your hands. Notice how life-giving blood rushes back to your palms and fingers. Sense the change that comes in your breathing and heart rate as you loosen your grip. Consider the difference in your attitude as you stop holding on.”
(From Get Uncomfortable by Todd Phillips)
6 Ideas for Being Generous
Let’s welcome generosity into our homes and make giving a habit. Here are a few ideas of how your family can give to others right now:
- Send a shoebox through Operation Christmas Child.
- Sponsor a child through Compassion International.
- Pass out sandwiches to homeless people in your city.
- Invite those without Thanksgiving plans into your home.
- Deliver groceries to a family in your neighborhood, and cook together to get to know them.
- Start bi-weekly visits to a nursing home.
Will you continue the list with ways that you’re giving?
“The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.” (Zechariah 7:9-10, HCSB).
As Halloween fades into the rearview mirror, we start running full throttle into the holidays. In our race, we can sometimes find ourselves rushing through Thanksgiving as though it’s a blockade to get to Christmas! And if we’re not careful, we can teach our kids to have that same attitude. Here are a couple ideas to help your kids (and maybe you!) develop an attitude of gratitude!
Cut 2”x11” strips of paper in autumn colors, enough to have one for each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every night encourage family members to write something that they’re thankful for on one of the strips. Make a loop with each piece and link them together to make one long chain. During all the wanting and wishing as Christmas approaches, this will help remind your kids of everything that God has already provided for them. Option: Cut the strips from Christmas colors and use the chain to decorate your tree.
Make a table runner for your Thanksgiving table by cutting a long section of fabric, preferably a light muslin or something similar. Prior to Thanksgiving dinner, have each child make a handprint, either with paint or by drawing around his hand with a permanent or fabric marker. Ask the child to write something on it that he’s thankful for. (Or, for young children, the parent can write it.) This can become a family tradition as you use it year after year and watch your child’s handprint grow. As you read the things that you’ve been thankful for through the years, this will serve as a great reminder of all that God has done.
What are you doing to help your kids and families develop an attitude of gratitude? Leave a comment and let us know!