Let the hustle and bustle begin! Thanksgiving week kicks off the holiday season. As our calendars quickly fill up, we strive to keep ourselves from over stressing and remembering the spirit of the season. This week we begin by focusing on all the things we are thankful for, all the ways God has blessed us. Kids are great this! They are thankful for everything from their toys and bed to their great-great-grandma and every cousin too! I’m sure you’ve tucked your kids in and listened to a few prayers like this.
This year, I am trying something a little different. Instead of starting with turkeys this week and then moving into presents, trees and nativity scenes next week, I’m leaping head on into Christmas with a tree. In our foyer I am hanging a large Christmas tree (made from those big rolls of paper tucked away in the workroom). The star on top reads, “Blessed” and the ornaments are pre-cut for all of the kids to use. Parents are encouraged to bring pictures of their kids to hang on the tree together and talk about what a blessing they are. The other ornaments are for the kids to write down blessings and hang on the tree each week so we can look visually at all of the ways God has blessed us. Under the tree are gifts labeled, “Teaching, Singing, Hospitality.” You get the idea. Then, at our elementary holiday party, we will gather around the tree and talk about our blessings from God, making sure to add Christ and grace as we talk more deeply about that. (Our party theme this year is “A Gingerbread Christmas” which ties in perfectly. More on this later.)
By doing this, we direct our children’s focus on goodness and spiritual thoughts. Especially for smaller churches, this is a great way to show your church members and holiday guests that children are a priority at your congregation. Everyone, well almost everyone, wants to know their church is growing, not stagnant. What better way of doing this than by putting children, the future of the church, right at the front of the building so they all see the tree of children every time they enter the building. If you want more children at your church, parents looking for a church home want to know their kids are not going to be the only ones. Make yours appealing with friends for their kids.
What are some ways you keep children thinking about spiritual things throughout the season? And what are ways you showcase your children?