Lisa shares a few Christmastime traditions and would love to hear about your family's Christmas traditions. December 22, 2020.

8 Kid-Approved Ways to Have a Jesus-Focused Christmas

December 21, 2020 by Christie Thomas

This Christmas, set out a few strategic toys to help your kids experience a Jesus-focused Christmas, through play.

His chubby hands wrapped up the stuffed bear in a special blankie, then lowered the swaddled bear into a laundry basket.

“Ni-night Jesus,” he said.

I tucked him in, and made sure that the Jesus-bear was ready for sleep as well.

Together, we acted out a story as old as time.

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:6, 7 (NIV)

Christmas is the perfect time to learn to incorporate play into your child’s Bible learning, because the subject matter is so gentle and the story is so familiar to even the most irregular church-goer.

It may look to adults that they are “just” playing, but the amount of learning that occurs in the brain when a child is freely enjoying themselves is astounding.

(Google “learn through play” to read a ton of info about this!)

For example, playing with various sized buckets at a sand and water table is giving a preschool an early understanding of volume. Scribbling helps them learn fine motor skills, and simple puzzles help them identify shapes (which is crucial for understanding letters).

I am a huge proponent of letting kids play what they want (within safe limits!) when they want, because it also helps them learn self-discipline, engages their imaginations, and helps with their social skills.

I’m all about making family faith fun and simple so that your kids love it, and you can feel confident that you’re nurturing deep faith roots in your family.

Encouraging my young son to wrap up a stuffed bear and lay him in a “manger” helped him learn to be gentle, as well as teaching him the Christmas story in a fun and simple way.

This is something you can easily introduce to your child this Christmas, using the follow list of 8 ways to teach your child the Nativity story this Christmas through play.

Some are items you would simply make available for free play time, and others include a guided play aspect. Click on each picture to learn more details about the product.

8 kid-approved ways to have a Jesus-focused Christmas

1) Place a toy nativity set at child level.

As adults, we have a tendency to pick up beautiful nativity sets that our kids aren’t allowed to touch, so it’s important to have one that your child can engage with! They might plan the nativity story, or they might do something totally different (they might even add some dinosaurs to the scene)! Both are totally okay!

If you’re looking for a set, you can choose from Fisher Price (for toddlers/preschoolers), or Playmobil or Lego sets for the bigger kids. We have the Playmobil one at home and we love the details in it, down to the light-up lantern to place in the stable.

2) Leave Nativity-appropriate costumes in a play area

Toss a bunch of costumes in a plastic bin and let your kids have fun! Assuming you don’t have scads of Bible-times costumes laying around, here are a few ideas to help you find some:

A) Find bathrobes and animal costumes at your local secondhand store.

B) Make your own (here are some cute patterns I found!)

C) Buy (or create) some masks!

3) Bake nativity cookies

Baking cookies itself might not qualify as free play, but doing it together will help them with fine motor and math skills, and give you quality time together! Use nativity cookie cutters!

4) Download a free Christmas-play guide!

If you liked the activity I mentioned at the beginning, there are 20 other simple activities in this Christmas play guide. Click here to grab it. 

I’m a huge fan of these activities because they’re simple enough for little kids, but also fun for bigger kids. AND they don’t require any prep because they’re play-based, not craft-based. Win-win!

5) Set out some nativity-themed puppets

Set these up behind a puppet stage (or a couch) and see what happens! You can probably find some animal puppets at a secondhand store, but there are some adorable finger puppets I found on Amazon!

6) Hide some wisemen around the house!

This game is more parent-directed, but is still a super fun way to PLAY at Christmas! Simply hide your wisemen around the house, moving them to a different spot each day as they search for the newborn King.

7) Make the crafts from Truth in the Tinsel

Making crafts might not feel like play to some moms (you know who you are!), but there are some kids (and moms) who ADORE crafting! Check out the suggestions for many different Nativity-Themed crafts in this bestselling e-book. Click here to view more details

8) Set out purposeful Christmas books

There are probably about 14 billion Christmas books already in print, and I’m sure you have your favourites. My favourite ones are those that approach the Christmas story in a new way. I like them to creatively share the deeper meaning of Christmas without simply retelling the story over…and over…and over. Here's a link to a few of my favorites.

Let us know your thoughts, comments or ideas by clicking here.

WRBC Christmas Drive-Thru

December 18, 2020

Our Christmas Drive-Thru was a hit! We were solidly busy from 5:30-7:10pm. We saw 239 vehicles of families come through and all were given a gift bag. Everyone was pleasantly surprised and thankful we put this event on. There are no parties this year so all we can do is spread some Christmas cheer through the glow of Christmas bringing us the warmth of God’s LOVE, all while keeping everyone safe in their own little vehicle bubbles. We are glad that so many families were able to enjoy this experience, it makes all the hard work worth while.

A huge THANK YOU to our church family for all the Christmas lights which were either borrowed or donated for this event. And we collected just enough mandarin oranges and treats to give out in our gift bags. We also collected $785.40 plus food and toys for Sources Food Bank. A huge thank you to our WRBC donors, volunteers and sponsors including Newton Superstore and West Coast Gardens who made this all possible.

May the spirit of Christmas bring you and your family PEACE and JOY, may the gladness of Christmas bring you HOPE, and may the glow of Christmas bring you the warmth of His LOVE. 

Wishing you a safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Giving Children Grace, When They Deserve Discipline

December 15, 2020 by Brie Gowen

I’m all for discipline. In a world that’s gone soft on some issues (like telling kids “no”), but far too harsh on others (like the lack of patience at a red light), I am completely in favor of making children listen to reason. After all, we are raising the future generation. It’s up to us to instill morals, model compassion, and correct erroneous behavior for a productive future for them. I mean, if kids think they can always win, get their way every time, and throw a fit when they are opposed, then they’re going to be in a world of hurt one day. Yep, you have to create an environment where they understand they’re not number one, yet still let them know they matter. There are so many lessons to be learned, but sadly we often miss the most important one.

As a mother of young children, I think nothing tries your patience like trying to get out of the house on time with your kids in tow. They move like molasses, whine like a broken down washing machine, and couldn’t find their shoes if you were paying them to. Make it a Sunday morning and it’s even worse. Like, can we just make it to church on time once?!

This past Sunday morning I was doing my usual routine. I had gotten up before everyone else. I had picked out each child’s clothing and placed them in neat piles on the couch. All they had to do was comply with simple instruction, basically. As I assisted my youngest two daughters with getting dressed and untangling their long tresses, I noticed my eight-year-old had fallen back asleep on the couch. I called her name, asking her to get dressed. I even added a please. I deserve some extra credit for that.

Then she pulled out the whine, like nails on a chalkboard. She lamented, “I don’t wanna go to church!”

My first thought was all the mornings I rose before 5am, while my daughter snoozed on. They were homeschooled! It’s not like they had to get up earlier than they wanted every day of the week. It was just one day! Instructing my child of all of this sat on the tip of my tongue. I wanted to tell her how lucky she was to not have to get up as early as I did. I needed her to understand that one day she wouldn’t be so lucky, that she needed to get used to doing things she didn’t feel like doing! I wanted to tell her that she should have gone to bed earlier, that she was reaping the effects of her own stubborn refusal to go to sleep. This was my job as a parent, right.?! To prepare her for a cruel future!

So, with all this in mind I called her over to me.

“Come over here,” I instructed.

She plodded lazily in my direction, and as she got closer I reached for her lanky arm and pulled her quickly into my lap.

“My sweet baby,” I whispered, as I squeezed her gently, placing loving kisses on her forehead.

I held her for a few moments in silence, rocking back and forth. I could feel the frustration and attitude melt away from her. She eased naturally into my embrace, and the body that had at first felt heavy suddenly became light.

She giggled, “I’m your baby!”

I held her another minute, and then I questioned, “You ready to get dressed for Mom?”

She popped out of my lap with renewed motivation, “I sure am!”

We have a huge responsibility as parents. There are so many lessons to be taught, but the one we most easily forget, especially in such a fast-paced world, is the lesson of grace. It’s given when we least deserve it, and it’s given in love. Out of the many life hacks, I want to teach my daughters, the most important is how to lead a successful, emotionally and spiritually healthy life. One of my biggest ministry callings in life is the one I live out each day as a parent. So much of what they learn about Christ will be not just from my words, but also modeled in my actions. They see the love of God through me. I am the hands and feet of Jesus to the little ones, and they learn about saving grace when I bestow it.

I think back on all the ridiculous, unsavory choices I have made in life, and through it all, God loved me. Yes, He taught me lessons when I was less than my best, but above all His great grace called me back.

He said, “You are Mine. I love you, child.”

I still have a tendency to be a brat. I can sometimes imagine my Father God shaking His head when I fear things like financial loss or hardship. He could rip the rug out from under me and show me that He is my provider, but instead He speaks to my heart with loving patience, He holds me in the comforting arms of His Holy Spirit and reminds me, I’ve got this, daughter. Do not fear, for I am with you.

When I doubt, He loves me still. When I blatantly sinned against Him, He waited for my return with open arms. When I am weary, bone tired, likely due to my own fault, He takes me in His arms. He bestows grace. And if there’s anything He gives me that I in turn can give to my children, it is that great grace, that loving patience, and that tender mercy, even when it’s not deserved.

Dear God, please grant me the wisdom to know when my children need to be showered in grace instead of guided by discipline. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let us know your comments and thoughts by clicking here.

Community Christmas Drive-Thru!

Saturday, December 12 from 5:30-7:30pm

Everyone is welcome!

Please come and see me tomorrow night at our Christmas Drive Thru!! We'll have tons of decorations, characters and lights

I would love to see you and wish you a Merry Christmas! Every family with kids will receive a small gift bag, while supplies last!

Come early so you don't miss out!

Click here for an invite you can share.

Let us know your thoughts and comments by clicking here.

Advent and Upcoming Christmas Drive-Thru Event

December 4, 2020

Pastor Lisa encourages us and shares about Advent and a fun upcoming event!

Click here to let us know your thoughts and comments.

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