For well over thirty years I taught christian education. I have been a Sunday School Teacher, Confirmation Teacher, Vacation Bible School Coordinator, Youth Leader and Preschool teacher. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Of all of my Christian education tasks, one that always brought me great joy was to create, coach and watch children’s Christmas programs. Those programs always captured the magic of the season for me. Somehow, children always seem to tell the story of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, better than anyone else.
Then, too, as a child I participated in many Christmas programs. All of the children in my school class attended a Christmas program at their church. In those days, not attending church was the exception, attending regularly the rule.
When I was young, the Christmas church program became the highlight of my social season, for it came with perks. There was the annual new velvet Christmas dress accompanied by lacy white tights and shiny new black shoes. The excitement of the evening was escalated by the expectation of the after-the-program-you-did-a-good-job-gifts of a manger scene tree ornament and tasty treats such as salty peanuts in the shell, hard colorful fruity ribbon candy, a spicy candy cane and chewy popcorn balls.
I can still remember my first memory verse from my very first Christmas program as a three-year-old. It was the first Bible verse I ever committed to memory, and remains my favorite.
Mark 10: 14-16. “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. ‘Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ And he took them in his arms and blessed them.”
This old stained glass church window of my favorite Bible verse
hangs in our living room above the piano.
I know that many people no longer associate this time of year with the birth of the Messiah. It seems almost daily in the media there is either point of contention about religious rights in the political arena or a story about the the profit margins for commercialization of this holiday. Sometimes, it feels like the real meaning of Christmas has not only been hijacked but lost completely.
Then, I remember the children in all of those many years of Christmas programs. I can still see the joy and excitement on those precious faces whose parents took the time and considered it important to teach the next generation that Christmas is a Christian religious observance. To believer’s it is a sacred occasion to acknowledge the birth of God’s Son Jesus Christ.
I believe that the pure joy of a loving God’s gift of eternal life through his son transcends the politics and commercialization of our modern world. The Christmas message from God is rather short and oh, so sweet:
“For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” John 3 16:-17.
I hope everyone will find a place to take their children to worship this Christmas. After all, it is the responsibility of parents to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas.”Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. Always remember that least expensive, but the most important Christmas gift a parent can give a child is the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus the Lord.
Christmas Program Popcorn Balls
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 of a three ounce package of jello. (I would use strawberry or lime to get green and red popcorn balls.)
5 cups of popped popcorn. (If you pop your own, you will need to pick out any unpopped kernels. You can just buy a bag of popped corn)
Bring sugar and syrup to boil. Stir in jello until dissolved. Pour over popcorn. Stir well but carefully with large spoon. When cooled enough to handle, but still quite warm, shape into balls. Cool and wrap in plastic wrap.