Here’s a simple idea from KOI author Laurel Kirchner that will help you encourage your kids to keep showing kindness and love – even over the busy holiday season.
Last December, when we were planning a family trip to Maui, one of our sons complained that all we would do in Maui was fight. This statement was quite an exaggeration, but looking back on our family holiday history I feel ashamed to admit that he was partly correct.
Have you ever wondered why our joy is so often squelched by sibling skirmishes or disagreements? The answer is found in God’s Word. In John 17:23 we read that Jesus prayed for all believers, “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” Peace among believers lets others know about God’s love and who Jesus is! No wonder Satan targets family harmony! When there is discord between family members the “love” message of the gospel is lost.
Sadly, friction within families can heighten even more during busy seasons. If you are starting to get a sense of “December dread,” or if you are wondering how you can maintain a God focus during the busyness of the holidays, here is a truly simple month-long Kids of Integrity activity to help bring God’s love into your family interactions during the Christmas season.
Since love is central to godly character, this activity is an ideal way to review the Kids of Integrity character traits you’ve studied previously.
All you’ll need is a gift bag (or box) and a huge pile of paper hearts. Your kids can even help you cut out the hearts while you chat through the discussion ideas below.
- Begin by reading your memory verse for the month, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).
- Ask your children how God shows them that He loves them. Follow this by asking “How can we show God that we love Him?” Ask the same question regarding each family member: “How can we show Dad that we love him?” etc.
- Explain that when family members love each other, people can see what God’s love looks like. Read 1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”
- Next, draw your kids’ attention to the big pile of paper hearts. Let them know that whenever you see love being shown, a paper heart will be put in the bag. Tell them that your goal is to have the gift bag chock full by Christmas!
Continue at the supper table or during a before-bed cuddle time:
Review the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Next, ask the questions below and record the answers on your paper hearts and place the hearts in the gift bag.
- Was anyone patient today?
- Did anyone have a chance to be kind?
- Did you notice anyone being humble? Anyone choosing not to boast or brag?
- Were you happy when ________________ (define the good fortune of someone else) instead of being envious?
- Were you polite when it would have been easier to be rude?
- Did you let someone else go first? Did you give something to someone instead of keeping it for yourself?
- Instead of keeping track of the wrong someone else did, were you quick to forgive?
- Rather than being easily angered, were you self-controlled?
- Did you feel protected or cared for today?
- Were you able to tell the truth? Did you take joy in being honest?
- Was there a time today when you were faithful or worthy of being trusted?
- Instead of thinking the worst, were you hope filled?
- Did you persevere in love, even though you felt like giving up?
During the month of December:
Should tempers get set on edge or the ugliness of greed start to show up, remind your children “Love is God’s gift to us. Let’s not allow Satan to steal it!”
- Feel free to add hearts to the gift bag any time.
- Take a minute to post some of your children’s answers on the KOI Facebook page to encourage others!
On Christmas morning:
As you open presents, draw paper hearts from the gift bag and read them after each gift is opened. Thank God for the gift of His Son Jesus and His gift of love for your family.
More fun ways to focus on love:
Speak a blessing over your kids when you see them acting out of love! Here are some ways to encourage them:
- Love is God’s gift and I see you shared it with ________.
- Thanks for sharing your love with ________ when you ________.
- Love is the gift that EVERYONE loves to get!
- Love is the best gift because you don’t have to go to the store to buy it.
- God’s love is the easiest gift to share.
- "Love isn’t love ’til you give it away” (to quote Michael W. Smith).
- Love is a ________ gift to get and a ________ gift to give! (Add the words fun, special, sweet, wonderful or delightful.)
While driving in the car, play the If love were . . . game. Take turns sharing ideas. Here are some fun ones to get you started:
- If love were a drink, it would be soda pop fountain ’cause refills are free!
- If love were an animal, it would be a rabbit because little bunnies always hop right to it when momma bunny asks them to do something.
- If love were junk food, it would be candy because it is so sweet.
- If love were a car, it would be a Volkswagen beetle because they are called “love bugs.”
- If love were an item of clothing . . .
- If love were a restaurant . . .
- If love were a bird . . .
- If love were an insect . . .
- If love were a colour . . .
- If love were a building . . .
- If love were a board game . . .