Christmas can bring out the best in us. Unfortunately, it can also bring out the worst in us. (Need convincing…watch a Black Friday video where someone gets trampled so others can save $20 on a TV.)
I find I often forget that part of my job is to also help students understand Christmas. That may sound like a strange statement but in church we tend to get carried away with the tasks of Christmas and forget to really teach the significance of Jesus’ birth.
Here’s two ways we can teach students to really celebrate Christmas:
Invite them into the story. There is so much in the Christmas story that can be overlooked and some of the parts can be so powerful to students. Take Mary, a teenager, who carried the Savior of the World in her womb. Do you have any young girls in your youth ministry that need reminding that God uses teenage girls to change the world? Or what about the shepherds, why would the angels appear to them…they were poor and nobodies? Any students who think that their situation in life means that they don’t matter?
Invite students to see themselves in the story of Christmas, invite them to see that while this story is the starting point to the Cross it also tells us so much about the kind of King we serve and who is invited to participate in His Kingdom.
Invite them to give instead of receive. What if this Christmas instead of students making a wish list of material gifts they made a list of ways they could raise money for someone in need. This year in our ministry we are challenging students to think of a young girl in our community who has severe medical needs and because of these needs, her family is struggling to pay their mortgage. We are asking our students for the month of December to give. We want them to not turn into consumers but compassionate givers. What a better way to honor Christmas and Christ’s birth by looking more like Jesus instead of like everyone else.
What I really want is our student ministry to encourage students to REALLY celebrate Christ coming to earth, to really grasp what it means that God’s kingdom has come to earth. I think they want it too but they need to be invited…this year, we are inviting them into the story and into the way of giving instead of receiving.