By Sarah Porch
Everyone seems to have a favorite season. Mine is definitely NOT winter. Winter means cold air, short days and long nights, and bare trees. I’ll admit, winter is easier to deal with during the Christmas season when there are bright, colorful lights and holiday cheer all around. But after Christmas is over and the lights come down, winter goes back to being dark, cold, and bare.
Maybe there are kids in your life who feel the same way about this time of year. But winter can lead to wonderful teaching opportunities for kids and great reminders for us. Let’s take a few minutes to think about how you can keep shining the light of Christ after Christmas.
Have you thought of ways to take advantage of the early setting sun? I know schedules always seem to fill up fast, but this January you might try setting aside an evening to slow down. Turn off the electronics in the house, and, if you are extra daring, light some candles and turn off the lights too. If your kids are too young to handle lit candles, use battery powered candles. Sit down around a bowl of your favorite snacks and talk about what it means that Jesus is the light of the world and that he came to a people walking in the darkness of sin.
You can start with one candle to represent Jesus. Read John 8:12 where Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Explain that the darkness in the room represents the darkness of sin in the world. Sin is so serious that it hurts our relationship with God so that we can’t be with Him. But because of His love for us, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to be the light of the world. Ask the kids to tell you what they learned about Jesus during the Christmas season. Then, ask them to think about what it means for them today that Jesus is the light of the world.
Another conversation you can have to help kids internalize the concept of Jesus as the light of the world is to tell them your own salvation story. Conversations tied to personal stories will resonate with kids and help them remember. I grew up in a Christian home and I knew my parents believed in Jesus, but I didn’t know how my parents came to know Jesus until I was an adult. I’ll never forget when I heard their story. Hearing about how God changed the lives of my mom and dad to go from walking in darkness to walking in the light, helped me see how God has loved my family over the years. It also helped me realize that my parents took me to church and raised me the way they did out of their love and devotion to God because of what He did for them. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to let your kids know about the amazing work of God in your life, to bring you from darkness to light.
While holding the candle to represent the light of Jesus, tell the kids how and why you chose to believe in Jesus. If you have older kids or other family members who want to tell their story, let them share too! As each person gives their story, give them their own candle to light from the candle that represents the light of Jesus. Watch as the light grows in the dark room! Once you, your spouse, and anyone else who wants to share has lit their candle, talk to the kids about what it means to take your light wherever you go. Ask them to look at how much brighter it is in the room. If your kids believe in Jesus, talk about how they can shine their light when they go back to school, play with their friends, or interact with neighbors. If your kids haven’t believed in Jesus, talk to them more about what that means and answer any questions they may have.
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