Planning for Christmas

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Confession: I am why Hobby Lobby puts Christmas stuff out in June. All things Christmas makes my heart happy. During my single days I was known to spend my last $10 on Christmas decorations rather than dinner. Thankfully, hubby has knocked some sense into my head over the years. But if he didn’t threaten to move out if I decorated before Thanksgiving, my tree would be up before Halloween. I love all things Christmas. For the love of all things green & red, these are my parents:

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But as much as I love the Santa side of Christmas, I love the True reason for Christmas. I love going deep with kids into what Christmas is really about. Focusing their hearts & minds on the humble birth of a King & Savior. And the anticipation of awaiting His arrival.

Many Children’s Ministers are already brainstorming & planning for Christmas in their ministries. Here are a few ideas for making Christmas spiritually forming this year.

Advent: Advent is a great way to unpack all the elements of Christmas and the options are limitless. Here are a couple to get your juices flowing:

  1. Empower families with Advent Devotionals. There are amazing options out there:
  2. Create Family Advent Worship Experiences. Create a time for families to come together to experience the wonder of waiting for the Messiah’s arrival. Whether you decide to have a special service for families or incorporate this opportunity into your regularly scheduled programming these family times together are a blessing for everyone. My favorite is to create Advent Prayer Stations for families to enjoy together (as always, Pinterest is your friend).
    • Think outside the box. Can you adapt your Sunday morning or mid-week routine to allow space for anticipating His coming? Can you partner with Student Ministries to bring everyone together?
    • In my personal experience, most churches are already set in their Christmas Eve plans & routines. This is probably not the time to incorporate an Advent Family Worship experience. Advent begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving giving you plenty of other time to add or adapt. But thinking outside the box gives you room to fight the system.

Family Christmas Musical: As one who is not in the least bit musically or dramatically inclined, organizing a Christmas Musical makes me curl up into the fetal position and cry for the voices in my head to make it stop. This is one of the many, many reasons why I love Worship Pastors & gifted volunteers. My poor drama & music smart kids would be lost without you!

Christmas Musicals & Pageants are great ways for others to use their gifts (including the kids!) to share the message of Christ’s birth. But what happens when your Worship Pastor is having a baby and can’t commit to the months of practices leading up to the performance?! After you fire him (kidding), you scrape together a few gifted volunteers and host your first ever Family Instant Christmas Musical. Thank you, Group Publishing! No months of rehearsals. Families work together to put on a performance. And it’s amazing! If you’re looking for something a little more simple and more time-commitment friendly, check out this year’s theme.

Christmas Eve Service: Second confession: I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas Eve Service. It probably has a lot to do with my own family dynamics and I, personally, prefer to spend this time at home with family. Not working. I know. I know how that sounds and all the benefits of our churches hosting these services. I get it. I really do. That’s why it’s a love-hate relationship.

So here’s the deal: If I have to work on Christmas Eve I will fight tooth & nail to make sure this service is as intentional for children & families as I can possibly make it. I love the way my church does this. We have a children & youth led Christmas Service. It happens late afternoon/early evening so families still have plenty of time together the rest of the night. And the entire service is led by children & teens. Our youth choir leads worship. Our children (kinder-5th grades) act out the birth story while it’s being narrated. We have 1 rehearsal. One. Our Pastor gives a very short sermon. And that’s it. Children use their gifts to share the story with a packed Sanctuary. It’s a beautiful, intentional experience. One that makes it worth working on Christmas Eve.

This Christmas, how do you plan to make Christmas more intentionally Christ-focused and spiritually forming?

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