Tag Archives: Christmas

10 Ways Christmas is Different as an Adult

  1. The energy level from a new toy or video game system lasted all day as a kid.  Now after the rush of Christmas morning, by dinner time it felt like 2 am, I just ran a marathon, and a bus hit me while I were crossing the finish line.
  2. Your Christmas list was toys, games, and fun stuff…now it is programmable thermostats to save money in the winter, socks, and a waterproof vest…and the funny thing is, you are just as excited!
  3. It used to take a week to play or enjoy all the presents…now I look for a box that I can fit my presents in and I’m all set.
  4. I cannot think of one Christmas dinner I had growing up…but this Hickory Honey Ham presentation with Hawaiian rolls, loaded mashed potatoes, carrot casserole, and a chilled IBC root beer will not be soon forgotten.
  5. Matching jammies with my family as a child would be thoroughly resisted in every way…but as a grown up it’s hilarious, fun, and great for pictures.
  6. Opening presents was just the best…now opening your own presents can get in the way of watching your kids open theirs.
  7. When you were a kid it was fun to make Christmas lists…now it takes me all year to compile things I want (it’s true, I keep a notes list on my phone – the programmable thermostat held the #1 spot since summer).
  8. What happened to me? I went from “Merry Christmas ya filthy animal” to where I couldn’t wait to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and allow my eyes to well up…it’s only a matter of time till the tears start rollin in.
  9. I don’t remember when I stopped believing in Santa Claus, but I know I won’t forget when my kids have that experience!
  10. One thing will never change with my age, I still am thankful for the reason for the Season and love to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus with my kids…The Hope that Christ brought me as a kid is the hope I still hold on to today.

15697298_10157887449565246_5706098247670253993_nHoping you and your family had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

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Christmas Traditions: Telling The Christmas Story

We all have our Christmas traditions.  Whether it be setting up the Christmas tree, baking the cookies together, or watching a certain Christmas movie (My Top 5:  Home Alone 1 & 2, Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, Santa Claus and Christmas with the Kranks).

What about a new tradition?  Telling the Christmas story in a special way each year.  Here are some ideas:

Ideas for using The Story of Christmas…Nativity

1. Use your own manger scene figures with the story, or cut out the figures we have provided.

2. Stage each part of the story in a different part of the house.  For example, the angel may have appeared to Mary in the kitchen.  Today’s version of the manger could be the garage.  The shepherds would be outside in the yard.  King Herod would be in your best room.

3. Read one part of the story every night for a week before Christmas, or load up the camel (that would be dad) and give the kids a ride from place to place all in one night.

4. Give each of the children a story figure to hold and allow them to act out the story as you read it.

5. If your children can read well allow them to narrate the story.

6. Incorporate household props to make it fun.  For example,  a dish towel with a shoe lace tied around a child’s head makes a great shepherd hat.  Crowns can be cut out from this template for the kings.  A pastel sheet wrapped around a child and tied with a rope makes a great Mary dress.  Wrap you angel with a white sheet and put a little garland on her head.

7. The Magi were the gift givers from which we get the gift giving tradition of Christmas.  An effective way to limit gifts and point children back to the real meaning of gifts at Christmas is to tell your children they will get 3 gifts just as Jesus received 3 gifts.  If your children believe in Santa you can throw in a fourth gift from him or have Santa fill the stockings.

8. End your story with a birthday celebration – A Baby Jesus Birthday Party.  We recommend red velvet cake as a festive tradition your children will beg for.  This is our favorite Red Velvet Cake recipe.

(This excerpt comes from iMom blog, and want to give them credit for their work.  The full blog article can be found here.)

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3 Tips For Planning Your Student Ministry Teaching Calendar

I have a sickness.  The other day, I received a shipment from Staples and you would have thought it was Christmas.  New pens, new highlighters, and a fresh, blank calendar…pure bliss.  Like a 6 year old in a chocolate fountain.

While I enjoy the process of planning out the teaching calendar, the anticipatory joy of spiritually impactful lessons…it does take more work than just throwing a couple series titles together.  In fact, it is a process that has developed for months.  Let me explain the process in steps.

  1. Feed the Need.  Survey your parents, students, and others to find out what the greatest needs and greatest interest of your students are.  More than likely you will hear topics like purity, end times, devotional life, and the list goes on.  So what I have done is come up with a 6 year calendar, where in the teaching times available, I can show how a 7th grader entering the ministry will learn these things in their 6 years in our student ministry.  (*Could be 4 year calendar if in high school ministry)
  2. Glad That’s Over.  The 4 or 6 year calendar is the heavy lifting of your curriculum planning.  Now the fun part.  Picking your teaching material/curriculum.  See, for me, I don’t choose the same curriculum for all 4 years.  I like to pick and choose, allow myself some flexibility with what I teach from, and what I teach.  I’ve used materials from:  Regular Baptist Press (my personal favorite – fits my teaching style & doctrine well), Youth Specialties, Simply Youth Ministry, Group Publishing, Answers in Genesis, Lifeway, and Zondervan.
  3. Make it Your Own.  Listen to me.  You are not Doug Fields or Andy Stanley, so don’t pretend to be.  Take the curriculum and make it your own, modify and teach it as if it was written just for YOUR students.  Put together you OWN PowerPoint.  Use personal illustration and make up your own introductory hook.  Make your students feel like the lesson is FOR THEM, and not for a church in California or Atlanta.

What about you?  What curriculum do you use?  Got any tips for your teaching planning?

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