As we prepare or homes and our hearts for Christmas, this is a valuable time to consider how to help our children become acquainted with the sacred writings in the Bible. Of course, this is the perfect time to talk with your children about preparing for and celebrating the birth of Jesus. But how much detail do you include? How much can they understand? When are they ready for some of the more complicated conversations?
Here are some tips from LifeWay Kids publication, Levels of Biblical Learning, that might be helpful.
In the first few weeks of December we can teach about the events that led up to Jesus birth. Toddlers live in the here and now and are not yet ready for abstract concepts. With them, keep the ideas simple and concrete. They can begin to understand that God chose a family for Jesus, just like He chose a family for them. When Christmas arrives, tell them that Jesus was born. Sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and eat birthday cake!
Preschool-age kids are ready for a little higher level of thinking and their imaginations are developing by leaps and bounds, but they are still very tied to what they can experience through their senses. Teach your preschoolers that angels told Mary and Joseph that Jesus would be born. At Christmas time, tell them that God sent Jesus to earth because He loves us so much.
Your kindergarten through second graders are beginning to be able to understand the concept of time. Use the first few weeks before Christmas to introduce the Old Testament. Teach about the prophecies that told of Jesus birth. When Christmas arrives emphasize that God sent Jesus to earth because He loves us.
By third and fourth grade, kids can think on a more abstract level and they have a deeper understanding of the ways one event leads to another. Help them dig more deeply into the Old Testament and understand that the prophets revealed God’s plan to send Jesus as our Savior. They are also ready to understand that Jesus came to earth in human form.
Fifth and sixth graders are on the brink of becoming teenagers. They are capable of thinking on a mature level. They can grasp the concept that Jesus coming was part of God’s plan from the very beginning. It is also time now for the complicated discussion that Jesus was born of a virgin. Be prepared for some honest conversation about the meaning of the word “virgin” and how it could be that Mary was a virgin who conceived a child. Bear in mind as you prepare for this conversation that all things are possible through God. Ask for His guidance as you delve into this topic in a genuine way that will help your preteen grow in understanding and faith.
May you and your family have a blessed Christmas season. I look forward to talking with you and helping you if you would like to discuss any parenting challenges.