Monday, December 20, 2010

Children's Ministry: Christmas Program

Several months ago preparations began for our children's Christmas program at church. With one year's experience under my belt and high expectations, I offered to direct the program as I did last year. Through the internet I ordered a fun CD of children's Christmas songs and looked forward to stepping things up a notch with our little choir this season!

There was only one problem. The music CD didn't arrive, and it didn't arrive, and ... it didn't arrive. As we waited - thanks to some creative Christmas ideas provided by my missionary colleague Kim Spink - I began working with the children on the visual side of things. Each week they were asked to draw and color various scenes from the Christmas story and provided giant pieces of blank paper to do so. Most of the kids loved this exercise and looked forward to it each week. Their creations were wonderful!

It was our desire to prepare the kids' hearts for the true meaning of Christmas and Christ's sacrifice along with these fun activities, so every Sunday morning for nine weeks we also listened to a chapter from the beautiful book "The Lamb" (in Spanish, "El Cordero" by Juan R. Cruz and illustrated by Ian Mastin.)

This is a book we've used in family devotions with our children at home as well, and if you are not familiar with it I highly recommend it. From Creation to the Cross, it teaches the central message of Scripture and the story of redemption through the sacrificial Lamb. A narrated CD accompanies the book, and each chapter ends with questions to challenge the listeners' understanding of what they've heard. It was so rewarding to watch the children capture these vital truths from Scripture as we prepared to celebrate the birth of the Lamb of God!

Meanwhile I also handed out speaking parts to most of our students. Even our youngest ones were able to say a short line or two, and a few of the older kids had larger parts. Basically the program consisted of poems and acrostics interspersed with Christmas songs. We held out as long as possible waiting for the children's music CD to arrive but in the end had to repeat a few Christmas carols they had learned last year. The children did great regardless and I don't think the audience minded at all. :)

A highlight of the program involved the pictures the kids had created. We matted many of them and hung them for decorations around the church, but most importantly we chose a dozen or so for a presentation entitled "The Gospel of Christmas." One child after another stood on stage holding a hand-drawn picture of nativity scenes and line by line the Christmas story was shared. Towards the end the wise men's gifts were introduced and then in the closing scene two pictures were displayed side by side: Christ on the cross, and a medley of colorful wrapped gifts. The last two children recited, "Thank You, God, for sending Your Son Jesus ... HE is the best present for Christmas!"

In the end, the program was a success. Though along the way in moments of great frustration I was tempted to throw in the towel many times, in the end I am thankful to have had the privilege of being a part of this special ministry.

My hope is that the truths the children proclaimed would stay in their hearts - and in those of their listeners - throughout this special Christmas season!


Terri Fisher said...

Wow! This sounds like it turned out great! What an awesome way to remember the true meaning of this beautiful season!

Life with Kaishon said...

I love the sound of your program. There is something so special and wonderful about programs that allow the children to participate in small and mighty ways. Merry Christmas Steph!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how the Lord works everything out in the end for His glory? How often I would wonder if a program was going to pull together but in the end it did, thanks to the Lord who wants His name to be glorified and wants those in attendance to hear His message clearly. Merry Christmas to all of you. We will miss you here. Mom