Heartprints

Keeping Christ in Christmas!

 

Twice a year it is a given that in most every church two Bible stories will be taught. In December we all teach the birth of Christ and then a few months later His death and resurrection. It becomes a challenge for teachers and pastors to keep the story alive and the classes interesting.  From crafts to songs, from games to puzzles we work hard to keep our children happy and interested. Our text book and material never change but the content of our messages do. We teach the stories when they are young and progress each year toward doctrines and theology to give birth and shape to core beliefs. But what are we doing to keep these two old stories from becoming just stories?

Pastors often share that it is hard to teach something so familiar that they start to dread to preach it as much as their audiences dread to hear it. Perhaps this display of apathy is behind the lack of sympathy mustered up in the U.S. toward keeping the Ten Commandments and the nativity displayed in public . . . or the word Christ in Christmas . . .  or even Merry Christmas in the Holiday greeting!

Is it possible that the dilemma we find ourselves facing, a nation that wants every visage of Christianity out of the public arena, is something that started in the church? Have we made the story that begins at Christmas and ends at Easter so familiar that even Christians are okay with doing away with emphasizing “The Old Old Story”? 

Christ’s earthly life, from His birth till it reaches its climax in the story of the resurrection, is the greatest story ever told, the greatest adventure ever lived! His-story gives meaning to all of our history. Our names are written into His-story the day we ask Jesus to come into our hearts.  We celebrate our birthdays every year with great joy and enthusiasm. How much more should we celebrate the birth of eternal life? (John 1:14 and 17:3)

Be creative this Christmas, turn your classroom into a mysterious eastern hovel where they can hear the story of how everyday ordinary Mary met with an actual real live angel.  Be creative in interactive ways to help them feel the things these characters of our story felt, hear the sounds, smell the smells. Whatever God puts on your heart to help them live the story do it.

Even if it can’t be true anywhere else, in your classroom it can be all about Jesus. You don’t have to leave out the decorations, the gifts, the food or the fun just use them to teach about Jesus. Excite them with the true story of Life. Give your children the gift of loving the Christ of Christmas. The more you grasp the depths of eternity that give birth to this amazing earthly story the more emphasis you will give to Jesus. Be creative! Let Christ rule in your heart and in your classroom this Christmas!

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Suzi Ciliberti

Suzi Ciliberti works for Christar, a Missions Agency that plants churches among least-reached Asians worldwide. She served in Japan for two years as a single missionary and another nine with her husband and two children, then the family returned to the states. She and her husband have been serving in the US Mobilization Center since 2000. As a part of the Member Care Department, Suzi is consultant to families with children. She has been working as a children’s teacher since she was 17 and began her training under Child Evangelism Fellowship. She has taught in the church, as a school teacher for two years in a Christian elementary school, and as a speaker for adults training to work with children. She has also trained children, who are a part of families that work overseas, in their identity in Christ. She brings 44 years of teaching experience to her work. She loves creative writing as well as teaching and has found great fulfillment in combining the two as she blogs for Heartprints. She finds it a great privilege and joy to serve the Lord and His people. One of her favorite verses is Deuteronomy 4:10b, "Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children."