Getting the Message Across
Parents often it difficult to help children understand how—or even if—holdiday specials and movies relate to the church calendar events and activities. The meaning and joy that should be the focus of the season seem too often lost in rush to put up this year's decorations and make lists of must-have presents. This tug of ware between tradition and true faith at tines frustrates both parent and child.
In this section, you will find resources that will help you explain where Christmas traditions originated and why they don't--of themselves--"remove Christ from Christmas."
Additional resources may be used to help chidren--and adults!--see a different aspect of Santa and giving through church worship and Sunday School presentations. If have additional presentations you have used and would like to include, don't hesitate to contact us!
Finally, we have found that chidren often respond best to parents reading aloud. A book, "The Sad Santa," was written to share this message in what we hope you and your children find an engaging and meaningful story.
Traditions and Legends
This is a church program for Christmas decorations. The program provides explanations for: the Nativity display, the Advent wreath and candles, poinsettias, evergreen boughs and wreaths, the Christmas tree, and church ornament(Christmons) which further explain several symbols common to most churches. Please feel free to modify and use this for your own church in celebration of the season!
Christmas Candles and Lights
Legend has Marin Luther went walking in the woods on Christmas Eve, and seeing the stars in the sky through the boughs, was inspired to use the evergreen as the first Christmas tree, and small candles the boughs to represent the light from the stars. There are many offer possible "firsts," it is beieved the original 'tannenbaum' was used to decorate homes for the Christmas season, and the tradition is carried out to this day.
As with the Christmas candles and lights, tree toppers were an early German tradition. The star is perhaps the earliest 'topper,' reminding chidren of the star that led the Wise men from the East to the manger. A popular alternative topper became the Angel, which proclaimed His birth to the sheperds.
Actually, the legend Of Santa is on fact. This article by John Johnson, a Christian 'Santa' in WV, will give you the histroical facts surrounding Saint Nicolas. But does Santa exist today? We believe Santa does, in those gifted by God to express HIS love in the same manner.
Please go to http://www.mymerrychristmas.com for other points of interest.
This play takes place on Christrnas Eve, when a young woman finds herself in trouble, alone, and in need of support. A caretaker offers a perspective from several other (Biblical) women who have found themselves in similar situations.
We found that ideas which help children connect with the real meaning of Christmas are only limited by your imaginaton! Here a few that we've used in past during the Sunday School period:
The Value Of Money
As the children enter the room, give each child 2 $1 coins. Ask them to keep them until the end of period. Begin by tdling of the gifts Of the wise men. Ask the children if they understand the story, and how it relates to the exchange of gifts at Christmas. Explain to them how Jesus is God's gift to all of us, without Him asking anything back. Have a special offering, and ask children to consider what, if any, Of the money they will give to Jesus.
Gifts for Parents
We create gift bags Santa to give chidren every year, and the oontent of each bag normally a couple of cnady canes, candy coins, pencils, small toys, and a Christmas bookmark (most of are purchased from OTC).
For this event, set up a couple Of tables with items to go inb a parents' gift bag: candy canes, candy, perfume or cologne samples, combs, etc. The object of this activity is to have the chidren invest time in creating a unique gift for a parent, which otherwise child may be unable to accomplish.
Santa In July
This event ties to missions activities for children and an be filled in the form of spare change, canned goods, toys, or clothes. Santa visits in July and asks the children to help met a need he has for a group of chidren in [site of your mission activity]. There is time—-but only if the children can begin collecting in August--set a deadline for the collection pickup. The collection should be tied to a church missions project, and should involve the kids making their presentations as part Of a special missions emphasis event in December.
There are a number of other excellent sources for skits and plays which will help your missions efforts and in practical terms help chidren understand what this special season of givin is really about. Our hope is that you carry these concepts beyond Christmas--perhaps even using the holiday season as a springboad for a missions project in the Spring.