This post is not primarily about Santa. That’s coming later at the request of a blog reader/mom from Hawaii.
No, this post is about something entirely different.
I’m familiar with a lot of children’s ministry sites. Some from parents. Some from teachers. Some from children’s pastors. Some representing a denomination. Some with great ideas.
Some very concerned about the biblical backup to anything they teach.
Some not so much.
As we approach the Christmas season this year, I am once again seeing the ideas pop up for new and different ways to present the “Christmas story.”
(First of all, it’s not a made-up story. Second, it’s not a “Christmas” story – it’s an every-day-of-our-lives true event.)
Of course, we have the Santa-tells-the-Luke-2 account advocates. As someone who has studied early childhood education (I have my early childhood teaching certificate) and has directed a preschool for 13 years, I know how easy it is for a child to mix up truth and fiction. Very easy. That’s why in preschool, we had the kids sit in one place if we were reading a story book from the library and a totally different place if we were telling a truth from God’s Word. We wanted the kids to understand the difference.
So many times I heard preschoolers talk about a TV show or movie as if it were real life. Having Santa teaching the Bible is extremely confusing to them.
But this year even more “cutesy” ideas are popping up. Ideas that reduce Christ’s birth to silliness. (The Baby Jesus words to the Baby Shark song is one example.)
God became human out of His great love for us. This was not a spontaneous, non-consequential act of kindness, this was God sending His Son to earth to make the ultimate sacrifice. Nothing cute about it. Christ’s birth was the first step toward His death, a time of agonizing pain as He took our sins upon Himself.
Even the manger scene itself was not cute with pudgy, little animals, happily grazing. (Yes, there might’ve been animals, but if there were, they were as dirty and smelly as any animals.)
We don’t know exactly what that manger looked like – outdoors? A cave? A marketplace stall? I’m sure Joseph and Mary were tired and worn out, and even though they trusted God, I’m sure they were at least somewhat fearful. (Study the different times the angels said “fear not” which would not have to be said if people weren’t afraid.)
The birth in Bethlehem was world-changing: the holy God becoming man.
Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-8)
Christ’s birth in Bethlehem is serious. Christ’s birth in Bethlehem should not be reduced to fairy-tale-like drivel. Christ’s birth in Bethlehem is something to consider with awe.
Sometimes we wonder why kids don’t take the Bible seriously. We wonder why salvation means nothing to them. We wonder why they don’t see God’s Word as relevant to their lives.
Could our attitudes and actions have something to do with it?
Sure, we can have fun at Christmas. We can decorate our houses, visit family and friends, exchange presents, laugh at the funny Christmas movies, and stuff ourselves with cookies.
But let’s exemplify respect, love, and reverence toward what Christ has done for us and not reduce it to a cutesy story.