As a child, the sounds of bells and Christmas carols, the smells of pine and cookies, and the love of Christ in the air are all things I loved about the holidays. My top three memories of growing up at church were the Christmas service, the Easter service, and Vacation Bible School. Why were these events more impactful to me than any other church service or lesson? It could be that they were all held are during a school vacation, during which I had extra time to spend with family and friends. It could be that these are all times when families in the church come together to celebrate our Savior. Or it could be because all of these events are filled with stories and lessons of who Jesus is and what He did for us. So what does Christmas and the nativity have to do with Vacation Bible School? EVERYTHING! The lessons and stories that are taught during VBS, Easter, Advent, and Christmas will follow children throughout their lives.
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!