3 creative ways to disciple your kids this Christmas
If you are a single parent, a parent of many kids or have a blended family the opportunities to disciple the kids in your life is a gift, albeit challenging to make space for amongst the hectic nature of life. Similarly, Christmas should be a great family time, but can also be a time of stress and challenge for families. We can just let the holidays pass by simply by eating chocolate, watching movies and trying to avoid too many meltdowns, but there is a opportunity to use it to grow the faith of your family. Discipleship is an active choice, but within everyone’s grasp. Here are three activities you could use to help your family grow in following Jesus with their heads, hands and heart over the Christmas season. Like all discipleship can be, they are designed to be imaginative, creative and fun
ONE: Act out the Christmas story using play-dough or salt dough.
There are some great kids’ translations of the Bible. One of my favourites is the Jesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Using play-dough or salt dough make models of the different characters. You can then read the story and act out the story with the models. Once you have done this you can ask the kids some questions which will provoke their imagination in entering the story. For example;
Which is your favourite character and why? Who is most like you? Which character would you like to be?
How do you think Mary/Shepherds/Wise visitors/Herod felt? What questions do you think they had?
What would you do if you were one of the characters in this story? What does Christmas teach us about God?
TWO: Bake Magi Stars for those home alone.
The Christmas star lead people who were far off towards the Christ child. Baking star biscuits and icing them is a simple activity you can do with children while talking about the Christmas star. God is in the business of pointing people to him. Once you have baked a good number you can then put them in nice clear bags of 4/5. You may reflect with your kids how all the characters in the nativity scene were excluded or on the edge of society in some way. Who do you notice in your community who are on the edge/excluded? Who do you want to help point to Jesus? Maybe an elderly neighbour all alone, A friend from school going through a hard time, a family member struggling with illness or their position in life. Make a list together and take the bags of cookies to them, praying that God will give you a chance to also offer them time and love and the chance to point them to Jesus.
THREE: 12 Days of Christmas prayer jar.
Learning to pray for others in an inclusive way is a life-long gift to children. The 12 days of Christmas is a great place to start helping kids get into a rhythm of praying for others. Take a clear and clean jam-jar and create a Christmas prayer jar; if the kids want they could create a nice label for the jar. Take slips of paper or lolly sticks and with the kids write on each slip/stick the people that you all want to pray for. Try to think more broadly than just close friends and family; think about those in need and those who are lonely. As Epiphany approaches we might be thinking about the wise visitors, and Herod’s evil plans and the holy family fleeing as refugees. What a great chance to pray for those hiding from persecution or fleeing war. Parents in our church talk to their 2 year-old about ‘people who don’t have a house’ – again linking to the Christmas story, with older children you can speak more of the reality of war, refugee crises and persecution. Websites like Open Doors, Amnesty International, UNHCR and others can give stories and things kids can learn about and pray for. Obviously not neglecting to pray for friends and family as well! Fill the jar with little notes of people to pray for and each day after Christmas take one or two out and as a family pray together. You could make it a game where each member of the family draws one out at random and says a prayer for that person/group of people