The Christmas story, if we're not careful, can almost have a fairy-tale type quality. It can become so familiar that kids tune it out and categorize it in their minds as another "great story."
When my oldest daughter was a pre-schooler she insisted upon reading Curious George over and over. We would finish and she would want it again. We'd suggest other options, but she would continually go back to Curious George. I was so tired of the man in the big yellow hat. I could read the book without even looking at the words. A story that I had started out loving, became just another piece of rote memory that I'd acquired.
The Christmas story, if we're not careful, could begin to take on the same feeling with kids. It can almost have a fairy-tale type quality. It can become so familiar that kids tune it out and categorize it in their minds as another "great story."
What can we do to ensure that the Christmas story points kids to the hope of Jesus? Is it possible for kids to experience the story rather than hear it? Can they interact with the story in new ways each year? I believe it is possible. I believe it requires some intentionality on our parts as leaders. Here are some ways we can become intentional with our focus this Sunday.
1. Begin to teach the Bible as a whole....rather than stand alone, Sunday School stories. As we teach this Christmas season, we remember that the story of the creation has everything in the world to do with the Virgin Birth. How can we creatively connect these?
2. Create experiences rather than stories.....a story impacts our minds but an experience impacts our hearts. Heart-change is what I want to see developed in the kids in my ministry.
3. Always ask the question, "what's this got to do with me?" Kids need to wrestle with how the Christmas story could possibly impact them today. So what if Jesus was born in a barn in the straw? What's that have to do with me? Help kids see the significance for them, personally as you relive details of the Christmas story.
What do you do to ensure the Christmas story doesn't lose its wonder? How will you allow kids to experience the story rather than just retelling it?