Introducing the KOI Christmas lesson!
Introducing the KOI Christmas lesson!
We’re excited to announce a new lesson just in time for Christmas! Laurel Kirchner, the original creator of Kids of Integrity, has written a special lesson to help you teach your children the true meaning of Christmas.
We know it’s a busy time of year, and so this lesson is much shorter than usual; however, we hope it will go a long way toward reinforcing the work you’ve already done with Kids of Integrity while also shining a light on our Saviour this Christmas.
A greeting and Christmas lesson from Laurel:
Just last week, I was chatting with a friend about the busyness of the pre-Christmas season and trying to keep up with using Kids of Integrity. Our conversation reminded me of how I used to manage Christmas preparations with two high-energy, over-sugared preschoolers in the house. ’Tis the season to be stressed pretty much defined December for me back then.
When our kids were young, we decided (in consultation with our KOI partner family) that December would be an ideal time to put aside regular lessons and review the KOI lesson content we had already covered. December would become a month of “love lessons” when we would focus on love as the basis for all we would do.
As we talked about how all of the different “requirements” of the holidays could be used as teaching opportunities, all of a sudden I was excited about Christmas again. The drudgery of my responsibilities became joys as I began to think of them as potential discipleship lessons.
Every family schedule is unique, but here are some ideas to help your Christmas “chores” become opportunities to talk about Jesus.
- Decorating your Christmas tree can become an exercise in being patient with other family members. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4a, “Love is patient, love is kind,” and challenge your kids to be loving toward each other as they set up the tree. You may want to put up a second “love tree” in your home and allow your children to hang special ornaments on it when they are patient, kind and loving.
- Getting family photos done for Christmas can mean everyone gets to practice self-control while they sit still and smile!
- Be “Christmas angels.” Pray together and ask God to give you inspiration for ways you can be kind to those who are often forgotten at Christmastime. Secretly shovel a neighbour’s sidewalk, take a small gift to your regular grocery store cashier or give a travel mug full of hot cocoa or coffee (or a gift card for coffee) to the person who drives the waste-collection truck. Tell your children that when we are thoughtful and caring, we are sharing God's love with others.
- Before you go shopping for groceries or gifts, read 1 Corinthians 13:5, “[Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” Have your children be detectives with you, watching for courteous communication at the store. Take a look at how people around you are acting. See if you can find people who are being polite or rude, self-seeking or kind. Most of us have been disillusioned when we run into those practicing anything but the “true Spirit of Christmas.” When this happens, explain to your children that during stressful or hurried times, people tend to be impatient or short-tempered. Pray as a family, asking God to help you be polite, even when you are busy.
- Star-gazing on a winter night can be an ideal time to talk to your kids about being attentive to God's voice. Ask them what the wise men looked for and followed. Then, explain, “Because the wise men were attentive to the signs God put in the sky, they had the privilege of meeting Jesus.” There’s a saying that “wise men [boys, girls, men and women] still seek Him.” This is very true! We seek God by praying, worshipping and spending time reading God’s Word. Ask your children to remind you to be like the wise men, seeking Jesus.
- A visit to Santa, or seeing Santa in store displays, can lead into a discussion on generosity. Asking a few simple questions can help your kids understand how self-centred the Christmas season can become. For example, you could ask: “What’s the first question Santa asks when a child sits on his knee?” and, “Does it make you happier to give something to someone, or to get something?” You can follow up by reading the story of the original Saint Nicholas and explain that he gave gifts to the poor and needy. Think of ways your family can do likewise. Some relevant Scripture verses are Proverbs 28:27: “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing . . .” and 1 John 3:17: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”
- Eating or observing a candy cane can give you a chance to talk with your children about Jesus being like a faithful shepherd. You might want to search the Internet for a popular legend about the candy cane – the one that suggests that the candy cane resembles a shepherd’s staff. There’s some disagreement about whether this story is true or not, but it’s a fun way to put a spin on this popular holiday candy. Consider retelling this legend to your children while they savour their peppermint treat!
- Have your children pretend that Christmas lights are birthday candles for Jesus. Whenever they see lights, have them say, “Happy birthday, Jesus!” You might also take a special drive around your neighbourhood looking at Christmas lights. While doing so, talk to your kids about Jesus being the Light of the World, and review the story of God’s gift of forgiveness and salvation. John 8:12 says, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ ”
- Stopping at a tree lot or hunting in the great outdoors for an ideal Christmas tree can provide an opportunity to discuss acceptance with your kids. Share with them a message like this: No tree will ever be perfect, and neither are we. God loves us despite our imperfections, and we should love others, too. God made us all unique, and it’s actually our uniqueness that makes everyone beautiful in their own way. Each tree will be taken to a home where a family will appreciate it. God wants us to love others just as He does. John 13:34 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
- You can review the importance of living in harmony with others when you place Christmas decorations around your home. Use this time to talk about the concept of “decorating your family with love.” As you are decorating, say things like, “To God, a family living in love is more attractive than the prettiest ornaments or garlands,” and, “God sure must be pleased when He sees our family living together in harmony.” While you work, have your kids come up with ideas as to how they can decorate your home with love.
- Create an unusual way to learn about contentedness by having your children “practice” opening gifts. While you are wrapping gifts, wrap up two “unequal” gifts that your kids can open before Christmas. For example, wrap up a full-sized chocolate bar and a treat-size chocolate bar. Before you hand out the gifts, discuss with the children what it means to envy and what it means to boast. Open the gifts and use the time to discuss with your children how it might be easy to be envious of a gift someone else receives, or overly boastful about a gift you really like. Pray and ask God to help you be content with whatever gifts you receive this Christmas. First Corinthians 13:4b says, “[Love] does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
- Go skating or tobogganing. While having hot chocolate afterward, take time to review the importance of gentleness. The snow and ice can be compared to being rough in speech or actions. This hurts others! A cup of hot cocoa is like gentleness – it warms and comforts those it touches.
The following is a sample prayer for parents. Feel free to use this or to build your own prayer using the verses provided below.
You are “The Lord our God,” holy and sovereign, yet You choose to be close to us [Zechariah 13:9b]. Thank you for sharing the hopes we have for our children.
Our desire is to bring You into all aspects of family life so our kids see that we love You more than anything else. Please keep us from pursuing unworthy things that are highly valued in our culture, such as owning things, feeling important, looking a certain way or having the “right” friends, as these things honour us, not You.
We want to raise kids who grow up experiencing the joy of loving and serving You instead of themselves . . . kids who live with an attitude of “What can I give?” rather than “What can I get?” In order for this to happen, they need to know You and be genuinely full of Your character. Would You help us introduce our children to the magnitude of Your strength, wonder and beauty in ways they'll understand? We want our kids to act out of a deep love for You – rather than just saying and doing the right things for appearance's sake [Luke 16:15].
As we do our best to shape our children from the outside, please send Your Spirit to teach them righteousness that comes from the inside out. The Bible says that You test the heart and are pleased with integrity [1 Chronicles 29:17a]. When You peek into the quietness of our hearts, we pray You'll find a reflection of Yourself shining there.
Zechariah 13:9b – “They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’ ”
Luke 16:15 – “He said to them, 'You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God's sight.’ ”
1 Chronicles 29:17a – “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.”