Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

18 November 2009

Infusing Christmas with Christ for Kids - The Jesus Storybook Bible

It's official. It is the middle of November and I have turned my mind to Christmas. And thanks be to God, I am excited by the possibilities and not feeling like I am going to drown. Maybe that has something to do with starting six weeks out rather than with only two weeks to go!

In fact I started thinking about Christmas two weeks ago because last week I gave a short talk to a women's Bible study group about kids and Christmas. They gave me these questions as a starting point:

What are some helpful ways to explain what Christmas is really about to children?
What are some useful traditions?
What are some ways to steer children towards the real meaning of Christmas when they are surrounded by secular commercialism?


While I was preparing for this talk I made a wonderful discovery about "The Jesus Storybook Bible" - the subtitle of which is, "Every Story Whispers His Name."


So what's the big discovery?

The format of this children's Bible is such that there are twenty one stories presented from the Old Testament (which "whisper Jesus name") and then the Christmas story is presented in three stories. That makes twenty four stories that will paint an Old Testament backdrop to the birth of Jesus and then tell the story of his birth. Twenty four superb readings to do with our children - one a day - during the month of December leading up to Christmas.

These would make great readings for an advent calendar - just pop a note in each day's pocket which says, "Today's story is..." Or use them as bedtime Bible reading for the month of December or for special stories after breakfast each day during December...

All in an effort to steer our children towards the real meaning of Christmas when they are surrounded by secular commercialism.

Isn't that fantastic! 

7 comments:

Susan said...

Such an excellent idea! Makes me wish my kids were little again. But I have a grand on the way!

jason e said...

I just saw this on the facebook feed for the jesus storybook bible. Fantastic idea! If you did this in 2009, how did it go? Anything you would change or add if you did it again?

Meredith said...

Thanks Susan and Jason - and thanks for dropping by to leave a comment!

Jason, we didn't use this last year. Our kids' godparents usually give us materials for our Advent calendar and they had 2009's calendar well under control before I did the maths on the contents page of "The Jesus Storybook" and made my discovery. However I was talking to the godparents about my discovery and so they have used this idea for this year.

We did try to read from the JSB each morning (we do our Advent calendar thing in the evening) but it was just a bit too much, especially for our youngest, to do that in the morning and then further material with the calendar in the evening so we abandoned the JSB about half way through the month. So I am testing this out for myself this year as well!

My prayer is that our kids will realise that the Christmas story isn't just a random story that we wheel out every year at about this time but that they will grasp the centrality of Jesus for our lives. The JSB already does this. Hopefully reading it through around Christmas will add some extra, tangible impact.

Thanks again for your encouragement.

David and Heather said...

We were given this book as a baby gift and have been reading it to our son at bedtime. I love how the same themes are repeated throughout and each story is related back to Jesus. It instills the idea that the Old Testament points to Jesus as well as the New Testament, and is relevant as well.

Meredith said...

Hi David and Heather. Thanks for dropping by. I agree completely!There are lots of adults that don't understand how the OT fits in with Jesus and the NT. Although maybe the newest generation who have been brought up on The Jesus Story Book will have a different understanding of these things. Time will tell. :-)

Adriel (The Mommyhood Memos) said...

This is so wonderful Meredith! Thank you for a great resource/tip. We absolutely love the JSBB!!!
Merry Christmas!

Meredith said...

Hi Adriel. Thanks for coming to visit. And thanks for the link on your blog to this post. It was such a wonderful discovery and such an easy thing to do during Advent. Hope it goes well for you.
Merry Christmas to you too.
Mx