Where's the Baby?

You may notice in the nativity picture below, there’s an important individual who is missing from the scene. While baby Jesus may not have arrived quite yet, the Kid Start kids know that He is on the way!

Each week during Advent the kids have been adding a new figure to our nativity scene as we learn their story about hearing the Good News of Christ’s coming. Starting with Mary, then Joseph, just this last week we added the shepherd and sheep to the stable. The kids know it’s almost time to add that special baby boy. This coming week as we add the baby to the manger, we’ll be celebrating His birth with a birthday party for Jesus. Not only have we been preparing to celebrate Christ’s coming in that way, the kids have been able to do a variety of craft and game activities that tie-in with the lesson. From stained-glass nativity scenes (pictured below) to herding balloons like they’re sheep, there’s many fun ways for even the young ones to participate in the Advent season!

The last part of our Christmas preparation has included the Advent wreath. Each week the kids have been coloring a candle on their wreaths as we work our way to the “Jesus” candle. We’ve learned about what each candle means and how that applies to our own lives.

It’s fun to prepare the way for Christ with the kids during the Advent season. As one child proclaimed “I can’t believe Jesus is born every year!” Although I couldn’t help to chuckle at the time, in a way He is so right. Although Christ may not be physically born each Christmas as he was so many years ago, He can sure be reborn in our hearts each Christmas!

Endeavor: Remembering the Reason for the Season

It’s hard to believe, but reports have gathered that over nine billion dollars were spent on Black Friday alone this past November! This was just one of the staggering facts I introduced to the Endeavor youth as we began our Advent series at the beginning of December. From there, we made estimates on figures such as  how much it costs to feed a child in a third world country for one year or provide access to clean water for a family. Each of these come in at less than one hundred bucks...significantly less than our Black Friday figures!

This month, the youth are jumping into a new series called The Advent Conspiracy. There are four sections (worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all) each of which encourages us to take a step back from the cultural pieces of the Christmas season. Instead of spending our time and energy on the mass consumption and buying of gifts that often takes place during these holiday months, we learned about ways in which we can be giving the first of our time and energy to Christ.

During the first session, titled “Worship Fully,” the youth broke out into different stations where they could experience worshiping Christ in a variety of manners. Often we think of worship as only encompassing singing praises to His name. However, as the youth discovered, there are many different ways to worship Christ! Below you can see youth worshiping Him through art, dance, and even science!

With several sessions yet to go, I hope this series is one that will stick with these young folks for many years to come! It’s so easy to get sucked into the stress, craziness, and cultural demands of the Christmas season. But when we stop to worship Him fully, we can re-center on the true reason for the season.