December 2020 Newsletter
Christmas Reminds Us to Be Prepared
Preparedness is a familiar and important concept for parents. Often it’s associated with physical safety: child-proofing a home, keeping emergency phone numbers handy, and planning ahead in case of natural disasters.
Preparation also plays a role in joyful occasions—from faith passages to developmental milestones. Throughout the years, parents make countless decisions and plans, offering guidance and support as their kids prepare to head out on their own someday.
During the weeks leading up to Christmas, a season known as Advent, followers of Jesus have the opportunity to prepare our hearts for his birth. That can be challenging, with all the hustle and bustle of the typical December. Advent also is a time to prepare for Jesus’ second coming, something we may not think about very often amid packed daily schedules.
Throughout Scripture—often in stories called parables—Jesus instructs us to stay alert and watchful. The day of his return, which is unknown to all but God, will appear like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2). So, we are to remain awake, tell others about Jesus’ good news of salvation, and be ready to share our beliefs.
To help your children be spiritually prepared, put Jesus and faith in him at the center of your home—and your Christmas celebrations. Read on for more seasonal ideas for getting ready to welcome our Savior and King!
Jesus is Coming!
The people of Jesus’ day expected him to be an earthly king who would overthrow the Romans and restore the kingdom of Israel. From our standpoint in history, we know that the baby Jesus grew up to become the Suffering Servant (see Isaiah 53), a sinless sacrifice who died in our place. One day, Jesus will return bodily to rule as King over all heaven and earth. But as Immanuel, or “God with us,” Jesus also remains always present with us, no matter what we’re facing. Remind children of that precious promise as Christmas approaches—and every day after!
- Guest Prep Brainstorm things your family does to get ready for guests. Discuss what you’d do differently if Jesus came to stay at your house. Read aloud Mark 1:3-4. Say: “John the Baptist told many people that Jesus was coming. We, too, can let others know what Christmas is about—our Savior’s birth.” Pray, asking God to bless your family’s plans for his Son’s arrival.
- Holding onto Hope At breakfast, discuss each day’s Christmas-related plans. Talk about how anticipating this special time is like or unlike what Mary and Joseph hoped for as they waited for Jesus.
- Preparing a Place Have children design place cards and decorate paper plates for a meal. Afterward, read Luke 14:12-24 and talk about how God loves each of us and invites us to a heavenly feast. Say: “While we’re preparing our hearts for Jesus, God is preparing a place for us in heaven.” Close in prayer, thanking God for each family member by name.
- Waiting for the Promise Discuss why waiting is tough—and how it feels when a long wait is finally over. Read aloud Jeremiah 33:14-16. Say: “This prophet told people that the Messiah, Jesus, was coming. More than 500 years later, God’s promise was fulfilled.” Brainstorm promises you could make that might be worthwhile in 500 years. Say: “Knowing that God always keeps his promises helps us trust him while we’re waiting.”
- “Spread” the News Set out sugar cookies, frosting, blunt knives, and sprinkles. While kids decorate cookies, discuss ways we can “spread” the good news about Jesus’ birth and add “sprinkles” of joy to people’s lives.
- Nativity Copycats Encourage kids to follow the examples of people in the Bible: loving Jesus as Mary and Joseph did, praising Jesus as the angels did, telling others about Jesus as the shepherds did, and giving Jesus gifts as the wise men did.
- Christmas Concert Let younger children ring bells, play music boxes, and dance to Christmas carols. Say: “Knowing that Jesus is coming makes us happy!”
- The Big Picture On a long piece of paper, outline a Christmas design. Each day in December, spend a few minutes coloring in the details together. As the mural comes into focus, discuss how to stay focused on Jesus. Display the completed mural in a window.
“I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people.”
1. To help your family members prepare their hearts for the upcoming Christmas celebration.
2. To make you alert to ways you can share your faith during the holiday season.
3. To keep you ready and watchful for Jesus’ second coming.
Our Guiding Star
Hide a swaddled doll in a darkened room. Then lead family members through the room with flashlights (or phone lights) to search for the baby. Play several rounds, giving each person a turn to hide the baby and lead the search.
Read aloud Matthew 2:1-12. Say: A bright star led some followers to find baby Jesus, who was born to be the light of the world. It must have been so exciting to follow the star to Bethlehem to find baby Jesus!
Ask: In our game, how did you feel when you were following the light? How would the game have been different without flashlights?
Say: I’m glad we were prepared with these lights so we could find the baby. Let’s remember to follow the light of Jesus every day as we get ready for Christmas! Close in prayer, thanking Jesus for always guiding us with his light.