Over the past two decades, I have been on the hunt for a special Christmas gift to give! I happen to be a “gifts” person, and I love to receive incredible gifts just as much as I love to give them to others. I have also been blessed to serve God within a congregation as a paid vocation, and I have been the recipient of God’s incredible grace given to all of us through the gift of Jesus.
The blog title gives away the object of my quest, so I will cut to the chase. I have been on the hunt for a beautiful expression of the Gospel within a Christmas Eve service that proclaims the saving Gospel message clearly to congregation members and first-time church attenders alike. I have been searching for a meaningful way to incorporate children into the service without the disruption a normal children’s message can sometimes cause. One option would be a formal Christmas program, but in the communities where I have served, there isn’t space in the family calendar for the practices and memorizing. Such a quandary!
When I was a seventh grade student, a friend from middle school brought me to church for the first time. My family had an adversarial relationship with God, and church was really far down on their list of preferred Sunday activities. I walked onto the campus of a small Lutheran church and into a family I was not expecting.
As spring begins to thaw much of our great nation, church leaders and volunteers everywhere are turning their attention to the most wonderful time of the year: VBS! Vacation Bible School is a hugely energetic, impactful, and FUN week when our churches shine brightly with the Gospel directly and on purpose to kids and their parents. Is this week the same as our weekly ministry? Yes, but on a giant scale. In order to reach intentionally into the communities in which we find ourselves, we need partners who will help with this wonderful week.
This Easter, celebrate the best event in our history—the empty tomb! Perhaps your congregation does a special event for your children and the kids in your community. As part of that event, consider tying in a special children’s message that will bring Easter into sharp focus for those in your congregation.