A few weeks ago I was approached with the opportunity to teach the 1st through 2nd grade class at my home church. The assignment, if I chose to accept it, was to guide this class through the first three Sundays of December. As a former children’s minister of 9 years, I knew how much extra energy it would take to add this responsibility onto my crowded Christmas schedule.
That’s why after a few hours of contemplation (and the encouragement of my own 1st grader) I said, “Yes.”
I guess you could say we ended up going off the lesson a tad, with permission of course.
By the end of our first Sunday together, I discovered none of the kids had ever experienced a basic birthday party, let alone a birthday party for Jesus.
Oh you know I was all over that!
The following Sunday the kids made their plan of how to really celebrate Jesus in a new creative way. They would make a video, expressing how they would tell the story of Christ’s birth to their friends as well as sharing what His birth personally meant to them. Seriously, this was completely their idea. I provided the video camera and they provided the talent.
Because of privacy laws, I have included the MP3 of the video below for your enjoyment. The entire video ended up being just short of 5 minutes long. Each student began the video holding a baby Jesus doll and sharing what they would say to Jesus at His party. They each completed a picture for Jesus as well (and as you can tell by the mp3, they got pretty interesting!).
After singing “Happy Birthday” they acted out Luke 2 told in their own words. I sat in awe just holding the camera as they never even peeked again at the Bible text, but told it all, in order, from memory.
I learned a few things from my time with this class:
- Christmas is best celebrated through the heart of a child.
- It’s okay to ask questions. In fact, how can we really be awed by the Christmas presence of Jesus without asking these important questions?
- Did Jesus have big feet?
- How old was Mary really?
- Did Joseph play football?
- Was it cold or hot?
- What did it smell like that night?
- Was it even night?
- Was baby Jesus comfortable?
- Did Jesus tell his friends he was born in a feeding trough? I wouldn’t…that’s just disgusting!
- Kids are the best at talking TO Jesus, from their heart. Adults miss this.
- Jesus, you are my hero and I want to know you better.
- Jesus, thanks for turning my bad guys into good guys.
- Jesus, I want to believe you are real.
- I love you so much Jesus. Thank you for dying on the cross for me.
- Birthday cake was meant to be shared. Don’t celebrate alone. In fact, make the time to invite others to your party. After all, Jesus did.
I’ll be truthful. I struggle with saying “No.” I have really worked hard to draw boundaries in my life by having tools I can use to gage my physical, emotional, financial and spiritual ability to meet the requests of what is being asked of me. I came close to turning down this teaching opportunity. God used my time with these kids to bring me back to the mystery and the awe factor that Jesus brought to our rushed world. Jesus came to us as a child. Who better to celebrate Christmas with than kids who really get it?
May you gain the faith of a child this Christmas to go beyond the typical Christmas motions and ask the questions that bring you back to the awe factor God intended.
Merry Christmas friends!
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