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

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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!

Should Kids Go To Funeral Homes?

Never had I cried so much. I felt a tinge of embarrassment, a touch of confusion, a Funeral Home Blogsmall amount of fear. As a eight-year-old boy, I hated being noticed by adults. A few years earlier, I had welcomed the arrival of my little sister. Thankfully, I was no longer be the “cute one” getting his cheeks pinched. Praise the Lord! And yet, I kept sobbing quietly at the of front of the church for all the world to see. I couldn’t help it. All I could see was my grandmother’s coffin. And so I cried.

Over the last few years, many parents have questioned the wisdom of exposing kids to funerals. Death is hard. Many adults struggle to grapple with it in a helpful, biblical manner. Can we expect kids to do any better? Consequently, some parents will not let their kids attend their own father’s funeral.

However, parents on the other side of the fence view death to be a normal part of nature. They want their kids to know all about it. Some even go so far as to have little junior slap some painted hand prints on his grandpa’s coffin.

As parents and as those who work with kids at church we need to develop a biblical position on death and funerals.  Should we hide death from our kids or should we encourage our kids to interact with death?  The Bible says: we should talk about death.  Let’s take a look.

The Bible On Death

Almost from the get go, the Bible discusses death (Gen. 2). It is everywhere in the scriptures. In the Old Testament, kids could be put to death for cursing their parents (Lev. 20:9). In the New Testament, Christ talks about fearing the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell (Matt. 10:28). 

The Bible talks discuss death not because it is a morbid book. It talks about death because this is our number one problem.  As Ecclesiastes 9:5 says, “For the living know that they will die.” Everyone including our kids know that death exists. And most everyone is scared of dying. All around us, people are seeking out vitamins, surgery, and even cryonics in an attempt to escape death. Thankfully though, the Bible has a real solution and much less complicated solution. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin are death but the gift of God is eternal life for everyone who believes.”

Kids At Funerals

The Bible exposes kids to death. And, we should not be afraid to introduce our kids to death. It is a part of our DNA.  But more importantly, it is part of our spiritual DNA. We are by nature children of wrath, children of death. And so are our kids. “For as in Adam all die” (I Cor. 15:22).  We shouldn’t pretend otherwise. Rather, we should encourage our kids to mourn the death of loved ones and their own spiritual state.  

Funeral kids 2By letting me attend my grandmother’s funeral, my parents helped to process death from a biblical perspective. I learned that trials of life could not be solved through pretending, new toys, or junk food. And as I mourned the death of my grandmother, I started to get why the world needed a savior. I started to get that we all need someone to save us from our tears. Revelation 21:4 was starting to become real.  “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

By bringing our kids to funerals, we expose them the worst and the scariest aspects of being human. But, that isn’t all. Our story doesn’t end with grief, loss, and hopelessness. It goes on to tell of the savior who died and rose again, the savior who conquered death. By helping our kids wrestle with death, we get to expose them to the beauty of Christ. “In Christ all shall be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22).  Later on Paul sums up things nicely writing: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:56). By walking our kids through death, we get to show them the beauty of the gospel. As pastor and author Marty Machowski said, 

Knowing one day they would die would remind them to trust God for each and every day. 

 

A Quick Caution 

Before I end, I want to address those of you who passionately disagree with me, those who are determined to shield their kids from death for as long as possible. Let me encourage you to be careful. I can’t see into your heart, so this may not be you at all. Feel free to ignore what follows. But in my limited experience, parents who keep their kids from death often do so out of fear. The parents don’t know how to handle death. They think God unjust for taking a loved.  They aren’t sure of their salvation and tremble at the thought of being laid to rest one day. They avoid the subject of death with their kids because they don’t know handle it.  If this is you, I encourage you to sit down and talk through the scriptures with a trusted friend or pastor. The Bible offers you a lot of hope.

Though we all are prone to fearing death, no Christian needs to fear the coffin. God is the God of the living!  

He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken – Isaiah 25:8.