What’s Happening in Pingo Land for December?
Precious Puffins (Ages 12 months – 5 years old) – Here’s what we’re learning this month:
Merry Christmas! Is there a more fun month than December with a preschooler? Their little faces light up with awe as they take in all the music and lights and new experiences. They sparkle just as much as the Christmas decorations around them.
We’re going to sparkle too this Christmas! As we share the story of Christmas throughout the month, we’ll make a “Story Sparkler” to go with that piece of the story. By the time they’ve made it through December, each child will have a pail full of story sparklers so they can retell the story of Jesus’ birth at home.
We’ll start the month with the story of how the angel came and told Mary she was going to have a special baby named Jesus. Then, during week two, Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem to find no room in the inn, and Baby Jesus is born in a stable. The shepherds enter the story in week three and run to meet this special baby. Finally, the wise men arrive in week four completing the Christmas story.
Caribou kids (Grades K-5) – Here’s what we’re learning this month:
Let’s talk about Christmas movies. There’s just something about some of those movies that no matter how you’re feeling after you watch them you can’t help but get into the Christmas spirit. Maybe one of these lines from some Christmas movies resonates with you:
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” (Elf)
“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” (The Polar Express)
Or even the classic, “I Triple-Dog-Dare you!” (A Christmas Story)
Christmas movies have a way of changing the way you look not only about Christmas but also about life as we see characters on the screen transform from unbelief to belief, from stingy to generous, or from cold-hearted to compassionate.
For the month of December, we’re taking a quote from one of those famous movie lines and “Triple-Dog-Daring” kids to show compassion to the people around them and even across the world.
We define compassion like this: caring enough to do something about someone else’s need. But when it comes to compassion, no movie even comes close to the greatest story of all time, yep, THE Christmas story.
Think about it. The Creator of the universe, the one who made galaxies, solar systems, stars and planets, was attentive to His creation. He saw how sin had broken His people and His world. He saw and understood—more than we ever will—what the ultimate consequences of sin were for us. He saw our greatest need.
But God didn’t stop there. He did something about it. Jesus became one of us. Humbling Himself to be born as a tiny baby in a remote town in the dwelling place of animals. His birth announcement was sent first to a lowly group of shepherds and later to kings from a distant land. He lived as one of us, so that eventually He could die as atonement for our sin and be raised again on the third day so that we could also one day live forever with God in Heaven.
The Christmas story can really be summed up in one verse of Scripture. And this is the verse that we want every parent, every leader, and every child to memorize and carry with them the rest of their lives. Because there’s no other verse that can compare with what this verse says. It’s the essence not only of the Christmas story, but the essence of the story of Jesus. It’s found in John 3:16: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life” (NIrV).
If you look at the Christmas story, it’s easy to see that one aspect of God’s character is compassion. God saw our greatest need, and He met it in the most remarkable way. To get kids thinking more about this we’re taking the entire Christmas season to talk about compassion and ask a different question each week to get kids and families thinking about how they can show compassion this Christmas.
WEEK 1: This week kids will discover that compassion starts with God. John wrote about God’s love in his first letter to the church. In 1 John 4:9-12, we read that God initiated compassion when He sent His only Son into the world to give His life for us. John goes on to challenge his audience to love others as God loves us.
Bottom Line: God loved you first. How will you love others? Every week this month, we’ll be asking our kids an important question to help them think more about showing compassion. We kick off the month thinking about how we can respond to God’s love for us and how we can love the people around us.
WEEK 2: For week two, we’ll head back to the book of Luke. If you start reading the Christmas story from the beginning, you hear about an angel who came to Mary. The Bible says this angel shows up after hundreds of years of God’s silence. But in the middle of that silence God was up to something huge. He had seen our greatest need and was doing something about it.
Bottom Line: God saw our greatest need. Whose needs do you see? We want to help children understand that compassion starts with recognizing a need. We’ll help them see the needs that impact their world and discover ways they can do something about them.
WEEK 3: In the most incredible part of this Christmas story, Jesus is born in Bethlehem. We don’t always think about it, but when you take time to understand that what’s really going on here, you discover it’s pretty amazing. This is the moment that God stepped onto the planet in the form of a human baby. God cared enough about our need not only to recognize it, but to send His Son to become like us so that He could do something about that need.
Bottom Line: God gave us the greatest gift. What will you give? Jesus is the greatest gift God could have ever given to us. In response to that gift, we challenge kids to answer this question, “What will you give?” In the season that more and more is all about what we can get, we want kids to think about how they can show compassion and give to others in need.
WEEK 4: We’ll close out the month remembering how angels startled a group of shepherds and their flocks. This choir of angels announced what was about to happen. God kept His promise and now everyone could have hope and joy knowing that God would rescue them. The shepherds who heard the message that night were never the same. They couldn’t wait to share that good news of great joy to everyone in town.
Bottom Line: God gave us great news. Who will you tell? This good news of God’s compassion is as powerful today as it was 2,000 years ago. We want kids to answer the question, “Who will you tell?” We will challenge them to think about the people in their lives who need to hear and experience God’s love through the message of Jesus.