As I write this blog post it is now less than one week until Christmas. How does it sneak up so quickly? Are you organized and ready? I often wonder why we put so much pressure on ourselves to have things all done and put together just perfect. How there seems to be so many events and activities on the calendar at once with not enough time to get to everything. I know that I’m even guilty of this when planning Christmas ideas for our Children’s Ministry. I’m always looking for something fresh, some new ideas that have the ‘wow factor’. There were even a few articles I read about how to be more effective in ministry planning during the season. Some suggestions were: decorating your space, (check), having some Christmas lights in the classrooms, (check I have a tree with lights), have different snacks (check, our kids love crackers and cheese), well planned crafts (check, I love being crafty), and using perhaps a variety of games and activity stations, (check, I usually have lots planned).
While these ideas are all helpful and effective, I was reminded that the Christmas story, with its events and characters, is enough on its own. It doesn’t need anything extra or flashy. Even though it may be the same story every year- Jesus born in a stable manger, a Saviour for the world; this is the ‘wow factor’!!
Last week our younger Sunday school children learned about one of my favourite parts of the Christmas story. It’s when the shepherds are in the field and suddenly an angel appears to them. We used a nativity set and some picture scenes to re-tell the story. The image of some simple shepherds working out in a field when suddenly an angel is before them and then a host of angels- is incredible. They were so full of joy and excitement that they hurried off to find the baby. These shepherds were part of an amazing story, part of a plan. God sent us a special gift that is for everyone.
As we get ready for Christmas day, let’s pause and reflect on God’s perfect plan and the hope a tiny king would bring.
Glory to the Newborn King!
Tanya Chant, Family & Children's Ministry
Do we trust God every day? I like to think that I try to, but when there’s a bump in the road, a disappointment or something doesn’t go as planned, I’m often questioning what happened and why. I might complain, feel the circumstances are unfair, doubt, or try things my own way.
In Sunday school, our grades 2-5 have been on the journey with Moses as he leads the people through the desert to the Promised Land. I can’t even imagine the pressure and sense of responsibility Moses must have felt each day. To be chosen to lead a group of people who were sometimes doubtful, disobedient and difficult, would be tough for sure.
This Sunday we are at the part of the story where Moses is punished. As you may recall, God had asked Moses to gather the people at the rock with his staff and to speak to the rock. Moses did gather the people there, but ended up striking the rock twice. Moses perhaps was frustrated and disobeyed God’s instructions. As a result, he was told that he wouldn’t be the one to lead the people into the Promised Land.
I can totally relate to some of the people in this story. I can see myself lacking in trust for God’s provisions and showing doubt….and even complaining. I can see how Moses may have had a moment where he thought his way was best and became frustrated.
Even with all that, God still loved and cared for Moses and the people. I believe God understands when we fall short or have feelings of fear and doubt. We can definitely trust Him to meet our needs everyday.
Tanya Chant, Director of Family and Childrens Ministry
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults and with my song I give thanks to Him.
Psalm 9:10 And those who know your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord have not forsaken those who seek You.
I’m kind of embarrassed to share this photo with you. We’ve recently been doing some home improvements, and updating our kitchen was first on the list. Aside from the big stuff, our collection of dishes and accessories needed some refreshing. My girls love to bake - as do I, and they had been suggesting for some time that we purchase some new oven mitts. There was actually a hole at the top of one where your fingers could come out. Once I purchased the new pair, I realized how old and worn out these oven mitts really were. They served us well, however, and helped to bring many great meals and baked goods form the oven.
At this point you are probably wondering why we are talking about some old oven mitts. Well as any Children’s Director would know – everything can be an object lesson for Sunday school! I began to think about those mitts and their function. Here’s a few thoughts...
God is our protector and promises to help us through all our circumstances. We all face difficulties and challenges at some point in our lives. I can’t even imagine how many times God has protected me or my family from various troubles. Similar to the armour of God, I like the image of God coming between us and the valleys of life – a shield.
“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 110:114
“But you Lord are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” Psalm 3:3
I like the comparison of God covering our lives and giving us His word and truths to live by. We can take comfort it knowing that the Creator of the universe has got everything “covered”.
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4
“Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5
Those old worn oven mitts were helpful in getting the job done. Without them it would be very difficult to complete what was started. I know that we serve a great God who wants the best for us. He helps us more than we could ever imagine….or deserve.
“But those who hope in the lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Tanya Chant, Director of Child and Family Ministry
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