While we all want to emphasize that the greatest gift at Christmas is not found under the tree but in the Christ-child Saviour living in our hearts, the reality is, between the gifts, the glitter, and that great old Saint Nick, it’s tough for Christian parents to help kids focus on the true reason we celebrate Christmas: heaven’s come down to earth! Each year I am eager to expand my repertoire of ideas to help me "tell the old, old story" in new and fresh ways. Recently, I came across these Advent readings/activities by Carol Reinsma, Editor for Kid Connection Guess What! Magazine. Great to use for family devotions the week after Christmas.
Collect a small potted evergreen or artificial tree. To make the ornaments you need: white school glue, waxed paper, Christmas string and a needle. The ornaments are made by squeezing glue into shapes on waxed paper. After making the glue shape, sprinkle some glitter on it. Allow 5-6 days for the glue to dry. Before the glue sets poke in a hole for hanging. When the glue dry removed the waxed paper, thread with a piece of string and hang on the tree.
Reading 1: Placed in God’s Garden - Ornament—a person - Read Genesis 2:4-23
Take turns describing what Adam could see and do. Have each person chose a favourite scene and tell what’s best about it.
Reading 2: The First Sin - Ornament—a snake - Read Genesis 3
What words give you clues about the ugliness of sin? Why do you think Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of the life-giving tree after they knew evil?
Reading 3: Saved! - Ornament—an olive leaf - Read Genesis 6:11-14; 8:1-12
Why was Noah different than the people around him? Pretend you are Noah. Describe your thoughts on seeing the dove returning with the olive leaf. Has a green leaf ever given you hope? When and why?
Reading 4: Stars and Stars - Ornament—a star -Read Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6
Seeing all the stars helped Abraham get a picture in his mind of what God would do. What helps you believe God will do what he says?
Reading 5: Anointed -Ornament—a crown -Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 89:20-29
What does God promise David? Are any of those promises for you, too?
Reading 6: A Shoot - Ornament—a tree stump -Read Isaiah 11:1-3
Jesse was King David’s father. The tree shoot represents another king to come from Jesse’s family. Who will that king will be? What words describe the Lord’s Spirit on this king?
Reading 7: A Saviour -Ornament—an angel - Read Luke 2: 4-20; Matthew 1:21
Why did Jesus have to come to be our Saviour?
Reading 8: Life-Giving Fruit -Ornament—a piece of fruit - John 10:10; Revelation 2: 7 and 22:1-5
Once again the tree of life is offered. Where is this tree? Take turns imagining out loud or drawing a scene with the tree. Who will eat from it?