If any of you have ever worked with children, you know that you have to be ready on the fly for what ever might happen. I was scheduled for the children's sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Advent and had notes for my sermon all pulled together (which doesn't always happen). I had a small gift with me that I had tucked the name JESUS inside the gift bag. I was ready!
As the children came forward this Sunday morning, the church was decorated beautifully and one young man asked "Why are there all of these flowers today?" Well when children ask questions- I try to answer them, if I can, and this question seemed important. I took my notes through them over my shoulder and began to discuss the flowers.
I asked him what special day was coming up? He answered "Christmas." "Correct and what is Christmas?" To this he had a few problems answering and then another child helped him out with "Jesus' birthday"- "Correct. So what do you do for a birthday party? We decorate where the party will be? And we purchase or make a gift for the birthday child - right? To which I received heads nodding. So we have been preparing for Jesus's birthday all month! We have decorated the church and our homes with lights and garland and flowers and ornaments. We maybe have prepared special food for his birthday- my children get to pick their favorite food for their birthday meals. And we may have taken care of a gift for that person." (At this point I can almost get back onto the children's sermon that I had prepared, so I reached back found my notes and the gift bag and continued)
It has LOVE - because inside of it is (and I pulled out the name JESUS) Jesus and he is love. He loved us each enough to die for us. And it has JOY- because we can have the JOY of eternal life. So as Christmas gets closer remember that sometimes the smallest gifts are the best gifts and that we are celebrating Jesus's birthday with a big Birthday Party on December 25th!"
We then closed in prayer.
I think this helped the young man have a better understanding of what we do for Christmas but I'm very tempted to bring in balloons and streamers next year and "decorate" in a way children would understand- you know a great big banner that says "HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS" just might have to appear!