There's the children's Christmas program to plan and organise, the Christmas kids' item to practise, decorations to put up in the kidmin area, gifts to prepare for all the wonderful kidmin volunteers, Christmas music to choose and play, ... and the list goes on.
It's easy to get caught up in all the planning, preparation and excitement of Children's ministry at Christmas. We know that, at the heart of this busy season, there is so much more: God's love for us. But sometimes we spend so much of our time and energy sharing this message to your church family and kidmin that we forget it's also a message for us.
I know what you're going to say: You don't have time. You'll do it after you've organised everything else.
Well..... here are just a few resources that will help you. I hope that you can use them to focus on the wonder of the Saviour's birth and the peace He brings to our own busy lives.
These free planners help you to focus on all that you want and need to accomplish in the lead-up to Christmas. The planners also provide ideas and suggestions for changing a 'Martha-style' Christmas of tasks and jobs and things to complete to a 'Mary-style' celebration with room for the important things- developing meaningful family traditions, Christmas joy and peace and even, relaxing.
Yes, we know the Christmas story well. We carefully take time to tell the story in meaningful ways to those in our children's ministry. But we also need to reread and capture again the joy of the season for ourselves. Perhaps you would benefit from seeing it from a different perspective. Take a few moments to check out the Christmas devotional, Advent in Narnia.' If you know and love the stories by C.S. Lewis you wILL enjoy this devotional. Certainly, the cold winter landscape of Narnia with the people watching and looking for a king is the perfect parallel for the Christmas story.
The author states: "My purpose in writing this book is not to help you know Narnia better but to know God better.... I hope that by spending a little time in Narnia, this Advent, you will get to know Aslan- and Jesus Christ- better, and to prepare for Jesus' birth at Christmas all the more richly for it."
I've found that there are plenty of commercially produced Advent calendars. Start a new family tradition. Explore the Christmas story a little each day as you prepare to welcome the Saviour. Share together the excitement of counting down the days to Christmas with a handcrafted Advent Calendar. Use this as an opportunity to retell the real Christmas story of the hope, peace, joy and love to be found in the Saviour in the manger.
This article describes how to make your own calendar that can be used year after year and become a family tradition. And there are other printable versions to check here....... and also, here.
You could also use a Christmas Advent app. You'll find some suggestions here.
*** Use this simple, effective way of emphasizing the importance of Jesus, in the days leading up to Christmas, with your family. I think it might just become a favourite family tradition.
Yes, searching for and buying Christmas gifts can take a huge amount of time.. and stress. Here's a gift idea that is simple, takes little time and can be done from home. It's the perfect gift idea for your parents or other family members and it's something that will be appreciated long past Christmas Day.
As a child, I loved waking up on Christmas morning hearing Christmas carols playing. I even prefer to linger in shops that are playing beautiful carols rather than other Christmas music. But, if you're like me, you spend a lot of time finding music for Christmas for your kidmin and run out of time to source and buy Christmas arrangements for yourself and your family.
Life Church has free downloadable music that you can play online or download and listen to whenever you want. You'll find the music here.... and another collection here.
I hope these resources will help you plan and prepare for your own family Christmas celebrations. Plan ahead this year to find time with your family to focus on the wonder of Christmas.