During this season of Advent, I see lots of churches, homes, and even some public displays of manger scenes with the Baby Jesus being honored. I hear Christmas music which honors and adores the Christ Child. All of this began with the shepherds in the Christmas story who heard the Good News and went to worship the new-born Jesus.
As I reflect upon these good intentions, I find myself asking, “How do we honor the Christ Child today?” Certainly decorations and music and worship are a start, but surely there is more that we can do. So here is the answer I have found and which I offer as a challenge to us all:
HONOR THE CHRIST CHILD BY HONORING ALL CHILDREN
I see three important ways we can do that this year:
- Teach our children and grandchildren and all children the true meaning of Christmas. Tell the story, don’t leave our kids to only experience the Santa Claus story (which is good in itself) and certainly not just the writing of wish lists and the culture focus upon shopping. Teach the story. Years ago when I served Good Shepherd Church in Fort Wayne, we developed a “Christmas Bible School” on the Tuesdays of December when parents could drop off their kids at the church (and go Christmas shopping) while we led the children in songs, crafts, and story time to learn about the true meaning of Christmas. That was one approach, and it worked well, but I encourage all of us to find ways to teach children about the real meaning of the Christ Child whom we adore.
- Give to the Bishop’s Offering for Children – along with other offerings and mission efforts to help children. It is not enough to give gifts to our own kids and grandkids, we must reach out and offer ministry and help to all children. The history of the Indiana Area is that we are generous in giving to this special offering – along with various other efforts by local congregations – and we make a huge difference in the lives of children. So we can worship the Christ Child by caring for all children.
- Advocate for children protection laws. Right now there is a move in the Indiana legislature to prohibit human trafficking, especially the terrible abuse of the trafficking of children. Our conference’s Social Advocacy, Justice, and Ethnic Ministry Team is working on this issue, and all of us can join them by writing letters and e-mails to our state legislators before January 1, encouraging them to strengthen our state laws against human trafficking. If you want to help, the contact person is Linda Todd, a member of our Nashville UMC who can be reached at email@example.com
I know that there are many ways to honor and worship the Christ Child, and I urge us to include honoring all of God’s children as a way of doing that. The three ways listed above are a good start.
May the grace and peace of the Christ Child be with you as you care about children this Christmas.