Five Great Resources For Helping Kids Keep Christ in Christmas

kids-christmas-resourcesThe Biggest Story: Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung covers the entire Bible in ten amazingly succinct and beautifully illustrated chapters. DeYoung created the book to be the one resource you use to tell your family about how Christ came to us as a baby to bring us back to Eden by dying on the cross. I encourage you to read this book with your young children during the days leading up to Christmas or to cuddle up by the fire and read the entire volume in one sitting with kids of all ages. All members of your family will enjoy reading The Biggest Story. And if you want to watch the story, you can buy the animated video of the book.

A Family Christmas Treasury: Adrian Rogers

Adrian Rogers desires for everyone to experience the joy of Christmas found through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He begins each devotion with reflections on a Bible verse and ends each devotion with a family activity such as writing a Christmas card to someone you love or creating a jar to collect money for church. Each devotion is designed to engage both you and your children. If you are looking for a Christmas devotion for you family, I encourage you to try A Family Christmas Treasury.

The Expected One: Scott James

Scott James wrote this great little book specifically with your kids in mind. Each devotion contains a Scripture passage, a small explanation of the verse(s) and 2-3 questions (with answers) to prompt some family discussion. The chapter also feature a small question to help you apply the passage to your life. This book begins on December 1st and ends on the December 25th so it does not follow the traditional Advent calendar and does not come with song suggestions. But if you are a touch creative and have young children with short attention spans, I think you will really like The Expected One.

 

Prepare Him Room: Marty Machowski

Marty Machowski shows your kids the beauty of the Christmas story by having you light candles, look at nativity scenes, and reflect on Scripture. He built each devotion around part of the biblical Christmas story and around the story of thieving orphan. In addition to being biblical and easy to understand, the devotions are also infused with object lessons, Christmas carols, and crafts. Marty Machowski has helpfully planned out your entire family’s Christmas devotional calendar. Moreover, you can download the music mentioned in the book here. And you can buy a teacher’s guide here if you want to bring this study into your Sunday school class room. If your family likes Christmas traditions, grab a copy of Prepare Him Room.

All Is Bright: Nancy Guthrie

Nancy Gurthrie created a devotional that your kids can do. Each day features a one page devotion and a coloring page that accents the lesson. If you have a child who loves to color and who wants to explore the Christmas season on their own, you will want to grab a copy of All is Bright.

3 Great Devotions For Christmas/Advent

Why Advent?

Do you know what November 27 is? It’s the start of advent! advent-christmasAnd now, you probably have another question: What is advent?

Historically speaking, it is when Christians set aside the four Sundays that proceed Christmas to fast and pray. It is a time where the church contemplates the full implications of what it means that God become a man to save sinners.  Although not a necessary practice, observing advent can help us and our families focus on what Christmas is really about. As we set aside time to pray, meditate on the Scriptures, and to sing, we can help our families see that, “To understand Christmas is to understand basic Christianity, the Gospel.”  In short, this Christmas season is a great time for family worship and for sharing Christ with our children. Below are three great resources that will help us do just this this December!

 

3 Great Resources For Advent

Prepare Him Room – $14.99

Marty Machowski

blog ready prepare him roomDesigned around nativity scenes, lighting candles and Scripture, the book is newer resource with a traditional feel. The devotions are built on the biblical Christmas story and also are tied to the compelling story of thieving orphan. In addition to being biblical and easy to understand, the devotions are also infused with object lessons, Christmas carols, and crafts. Marty Machowski has helpfully planned out your entire family’s Christmas devotional calendar. Moreover, you can download the music mentioned in the book here. And you can buy a teacher’s guide here if you want to bring this study into your Sunday school class room.

 

 

The Expected One $9.99

Scott James

51-9us6x6ul-_sx357_bo1204203200_This great little book is designed for your children by a Children’s Pastor. Each devotion contains a Scripture passage, a small explanation of the verse(s) and 2-3 questions (with answers) to prompt some family discussion. There is also a small question to help the parent apply the passage to their life. This book begins on December 1 and ends on the December 25 so it does not follow the traditional advent calendar and it does not come with song suggestions. But if you are a touch creative and have young children, I think you will really like this Christmas/advent guide.

 

 

 

Good News of Great Joy – $7.99

John Piper

Good news of great joy daily adventThese thoughtful two-three page devotions are gospel packed and will make you think more highly of Jesus. My wife and I have read this little book together. It has proved to be an encouragement to our souls and has helped to keep the Christmas story fresh. The devotions are not directly tied to Christmas carols or to the traditional advent wreath. But in terms of helping us mediate on Christ, I have found none better. This is a great resource for those on the go and for families with older children, or younger children who are mostly passive participants (i.e. the babies!).

And if you like this Piper resource, I encourage you to also get The Dawning of Indestructible Joy. Very similar in style and to Good New of Great Joy, this book focuses more on the secondary or theological texts of the Christmas story looking at Acts, Hebrews and the Pauline Epistles.

 

 

Bonus Books!!

Hidden Christmas $13.75

Timothy Keller

51s-avtup0l-_sx351_bo1204203200_
Have your forgotten why Christmas is so magical? Then this book will do your heart good. Timothy Keller pithily unpacks the Christmas story in a fresh manner that helps us to realize just how amazing it is that light of the world appeared as a little baby in  Bethlehem. This is a great book for moms and dads to read this Christmas season, especially once the kids are out of school and are asking for ten’s and twenty’s!

 

 

 

The Biggest Story – $11.99

Keven DeYoung with illustrations by Don Clark

Biggest Story Every ToldKevin DeYoung invites families to come cuddle up by the fire as they listen to the Christmas story. But instead of starting with gospel of Luke, or the Shepherds or even baby Jesus, DeYoung begins the story in Genesis. From Genesis on, he shows how all of the Bible’s stories point to Jesus. The Christmas story is not about a baby. It is about a king who redeems his people from their sin. A King who rescues the lost and who will one day take men and women back to a paradise that is even better than the one Adam and Eve left. Divided into ten short chapters, the book could be your advent reading this December or could be a great way to read the Christmas story on December 25! And as an added bonus, Crossway released an animated version of this book on DVD earlier this year. I encourage you to check it out here!

The Garden- The Curtain And The Cross

Laferton, Carl. The Garden The Curtain and The Cross. The Good Book for Children, Belgium 2016. pp.33. $12.98


Complex. That word well describes the Bible. It is an assortment of 66 books written over thousands of years, in a host of different languages, by a diverse assortment of authors. Tons of books have been written in attempt to explain the Scriptures. But despite all its complex nuances, grammatical structures, historical connections, the Bible is actually a rather simple story. It is the story of the gospel; the story of good news; the story of how sinful men and women can once again have a perfect relationship with God; the story of how Jesus died on the cross to redeem on who believe on him for salvation. In fact, the central story of the Bible is so straight forward, Carl Leafeton can recount it perfectly in his new children’s book, The Garden The Curtain and The Cross.

The Story

As the title suggests, Leafton moves through theme of the Bible by focusing on three important stories. First, he focuses on the Garden of Eden. He describes how God created the world perfectly. Then, he discuss how Adam and Eve brought sin into the world because, “They decided they wanted a world without God in charge.” And because of sin, people can no longer enter into God’s wonderful place. Next, Leafton jumps to the story of the Temple to explain that God is still wonderful and still very separate from sinners. You see, the temple curtain keeps people from entering into God presence. As the author writes, “It is wonderful to live with him, but because of your sin, you can’t come ithe garden and the curtain and the cross 2n.” Thankful, the story does not end with separation. The final phase of the book focuses on the cross. Jesus came to live and to die so that He could open, “God’s wonderful place again!” Because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, those who believe on Jesus can live with God again. Just like Adam and Eve before, those who trust Jesus, “will see God and speak to God and just enjoy being with God.”

What’s To Like

The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross conveys the amazing story of the Bible in language and pictures that younger children can easily digest. The pictures are bright, colorfully, and full of movement. It takes more than a glance to see what’s there. And there will not be much down time between pages. The book can be read in about 5 minutes or less. And when the last page is closed, children will have heard that God created the world, that men and women brought evil and sadness into the world by disobeying God, and that Jesus brings us back to God by triumphing over all our bad and sad things on the cross.

And though the book’s is filled with winsome illustrations and kid the garden the curtain the cross 3.jpgfriendly  pros, Laferton upholds the integrity of the scriptures. He keeps his readers from thinking that the story of the Bible is just another children’s story. He clearly states on the first pages of the book that the Bible took place, “right here in this world.” The front cover says that the book contains a “true” story. And, the last page of the book provides the reader with the scripture references from which the story was taken. In short, Laferton has put the story of the Bible into a children’s book without demeaning the life changing power of the Bible. This was quite a feat! Only Kevin DeYoung has done something similar in The Biggest Story. (Both books are worth the read!)

What’s Not To Like

The only downside to Laferton’s book is that is omits the term repentance. Readers are
encouraged to believe on Jesus, but never directly to repent. However, the book does such an excellent job describing sin and the glories of justification (the truth the Jesus pays for all our sins and make us holy) readers cannot help but realize that they must abandon sin to embrace salvation.

Closing Thoughts

Get this book! If you are a parent, grandparent, or Sunday school teacher who works with kids that enjoy picture books, you will want to have the book on your shelf. It recounts the gospel, the whole story of the Bible, in less than five minutes in a way that will engage our kids. Its perfect for family worship times, for bed times, and for story time. My wife and I will be reading this book to our kids! Will you join us?