Sharing the Christmas Story

Sharing the Christmas Story

Sharing the Christmas Story

 

 

C hristmas is significantly more than just a festive holiday for those who understand the true meaning of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, our world is overflowing with people who know only of the hustle and bustle, parties, Santa Claus and shopping. In some countries, the delight of honoring the birth of the eternal Savior is overshadowed or forgotten. 

God gives Christian parents the responsibility to make clear to a child the real reason for gifts and celebrations at Christmas. Reading or telling the Christmas story to your children is invaluable because they learn much from their parents’ attitude and lifestyle throughout the holiday season. Start teaching the truths of Christ’s birth at an early age to help your child discern the valuable parts of the Christmas celebration.

 

 

Read

Discuss

Sing

Step 1: Read the Story

Click on the text below to use scripture references to share the Christmas story through the Old and New Testaments.

1. A Savior King is Promised

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, andwill call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
2. The Angel Visits Mary
Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
3. The Angel Visits Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
4. The Trip to Bethlehem and The Stable Lodging

Luke 2:1-5

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

 

5. The Christ Child is Born

Luke 2:6-7

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

6. The Angels Visit the Shepherds
Luke 2:8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
7. The Shepherds Visit the Manger
Luke 2:15-18
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
8. The Wise Men Travel to Jerusalem
Matthew 2:1-8
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9. The Wise Men Worship the Christ Child

Matthew 2:9-12

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

10. The Trip to Egypt
Matthew 2:13-15
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Step 2: Discuss the Story

After telling a story, allow your preschool child to talk about what she has heard. Ask her questions.

  • What is the name of Jesus’ mother?
  • Who is Jesus’ Father?
  • Where did God promise that the Savior King would be born?

Let her ask you questions. Talk about the characters in the story.

  • What do you think the angel looked like?
  • What kind of a person do you think Mary was?
  • How did the wise men look?

Talk about what God did and what the people did. Letting your child talk about the story helps her remember it and helps you perceive what she has understood and what needs further clarification.

For older children:

  • Ask questions concerning the response of individuals to the announcement of Jesus’ birth.
  • Compare them with the response of individuals today.
  • Include specific ways your family can be like the shepherds, the Magi, Mary and Joseph.

Step 3: Sing Christmas Carols

Singing Christmas carols together is another effective way to teach and reinforce the truths of Christ’s birth. Using your church hymnal or a book of Christmas music, select pieces that reiterate the focus of each day’s section of the Christmas story.

Sing a different carol with each reading. After introducing several, allow your child to request and sing favorite ones with you. Talk about the words. Playing a recording of clearly sung pieces throughout Advent will help your child become familiar with and cherish the music of Christmas. 

Planning a time to sing carols in the neighborhood will help reinforce the story of Christmas and give the opportunity to tell the good news to your neighbors.

Joy to the World

by Slugs & Bugs | A Slugs & Bugs Christmas

Music courtesey of:

A Slugs & Bugs Christmas

Helpful Hints

Choose a Time

Designate more than one time to teach your child about the first Christmas. You cannot expect to sit down one night, tell your child of the birth of Christ, kiss him good night and assume you have accomplished your aim. Such significant truth demands repetition and clarification over days, weeks, months and years. Select a time, such as after meals or at bedtime. Begin early in December, and establish a meaningful plan for sharing the Christmas narrative.

Plan the Content

Plan to take a number of times to cover the entire Christmas story from beginning to end. Divide the story into small parts. The younger your child, the smaller the parts should be.

Tell the Story

Using the suggested divisions and Scripture references, tell the Christmas story to your preschool child. Hold your Bible, or his, as you speak. Use words he can understand. Watch his expressions. Be factual, but make the story come alive. Use dialogue and descriptions, but be brief. Allow your school-age child to read aloud the story from the Bible to you. If you have preschool and school-age children, your older child may enjoy telling the story to the younger child.

Include Biblical Truths

As you read and tell the story, incorporate the biblical truths that you want your child to begin to understand and believe. Insert a truth in the story line, in the midst of an action sequence or after a descriptive scene rather than by lecturing before or after the story.

Read aloud from Scripture

In addition to telling the Christmas story to yourpreschool child, it is extremely significant and appropriate to read portions of it to him from the Bible. Many parents who read Luke 2:1-20 daily throughout the Advent seasonare delighted to discover their children — young and old— have memorized the Scripture just by hearing it read.

Memorize Verses

As you talk about the true meaning of Christmas, introduce your child to the promise God made in Isaiah 9:6 and the record of the fulfillment of that promise in Luke 2:11. Whether you are able to read Scripture aloud together as a family or not, make every attempt to help your child memorize these two verses of Scripture — Isaiah 9:6 and Luke 2:11.

Repeat the Story

As with any good and favorite story, your child is likely to ask you to “tell it again.” Be ready to repeat this wonderful story. Take your time in the telling and retelling of each portion. Repetition is a tool for learning. Encourage your children of all ages to tell it to you or to tell parts of it to you. Let the beauty of the gift of Christmas be seen in the attitude you hold toward even the telling of the story.

Use Bible Story Books

Sometimes parents are reluctant to tell a story to their child because they feel self-conscious or unskilled as storytellers. Do not let this keep you from teaching your child about Christmas. There are many fine story Bibles with factual presentations of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ you can use. Read through the story prior to reading it to your child. If the truths you want to teach are not included, ask God to show you how and where to insert them. Pencil in the extra thoughts you plan to read. Begin with, “This is a story from the Bible,” then eagerly andenthusiastically read the story to your child.

Ask God to reveal the best way for you to begin this year to teach the truths of Christmas to your child. Telling (or reading) the Christmas story during the Advent season can become a tradition your children will anticipate and treasure as the years pass. Perhaps your entire family will be able to recite it together on Christmas morning as a gift to the Savior! 

Introducing Word Go

Introducing Word Go

WordGo: A New Generation of Bible Study 

BY BENNETT ROLAN

BSF BLOG EDITOR

I n 2018, a cross-country move left me feeling lost and alone. I desperately missed fellowship in God’s Word and longed for the BSF group I had left behind.

As the wife of a college football coach, moving to different teams in different states is part of our family rhythm. Whether we move to a small town in the Southeast or a major city in the Midwest, I can depend on a new BSF class to provide friendships grounded in God’s Word wherever my husband’s career takes us.

But BSF is more than just Bible study and fellowship. God uses each study to magnify Himself and mature His people. 

Personally, God used the Matthew study to transform a difficult family relationship. He used Revelation to renew my longing for Christ’s return. And in Romans, He affirmed the promise that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39b).

In the middle of that Romans study, a job change took us to southern Utah, where the closest BSF class was hours away.

Even as I prayed, “Lord, why did you move us here?,” God was planting a seed that would change hearts and impact a community.

Bennett and her family

Introducing WordGo

Just weeks after we moved, I was asked to test a new BSF model called WordGo.

Tapping in to BSF study material and four-fold approach, WordGo is designed to reach primarily young adults, those of us who were raised in a culture that claims, “The Church is outdated,” “The Bible is irrelevant” and “Religion is right if it feels good to you.”

To be honest, I was skeptical. Could the app possibly be as effective as an actual BSF class?

But I prayed, said “yes” and looked for opportunities to invite women to join me in studying God’s Word. Without knowing anyone in our new area, I relied on God to provide participants.

He did. Abundantly.

WordGo brought in-depth Bible study to the Utah desert. It introduced the gospel to several women who were not willing to walk into a church. It brought safe harbor to fellow believers who thirsted deeply for Christian community in a barren land.

WordGo brought in-depth Bible study to the Utah desert. It introduced the gospel to several women who were not willing to walk into a church. It brought safe harbor to fellow believers who thirsted deeply for Christian community in a barren land.

God is on the move

Just eight months after we arrived in Utah, another coaching change moved our family to southern Illinois. Once again, we landed in a town without BSF. But God used a second WordGo test phase to draw several women to Himself.

Our group included two former BSFers, a new believer, a skeptic and an atheist. We explored God’s promises, His power and His commitment to establish His people in the book of Joshua. By the end of our study, one woman tearfully shared how the experience transformed her entire family, and another is planning to be baptized this month!

In Isaiah 55:11, God promises, “(My Word) will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

During the initial tests, WordGo sprang up in unexpected places. Groups gathered in corporate offices, including Facebook’s headquarters, in homes, in coffee shops, college dorms and local churches.

Though the setting, technology and length of studies might look different from a traditional BSF class, the impact of God’s Word is unchanging. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is not limited to a church sanctuary. I experienced that truth in Utah and Illinois, and I can’t wait to hear how God uses WordGo to reach people with His Word.

“For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joint and marrow …” – Hebrews 4:12

What is WordGo?

WordGo offers the questions, notes, lectures and training materials we love in a mobile app so people can launch a study with their friends anytime, anywhere. At the outset, WordGo offers Joshua, Ruth and Acts 1-5 in a library of studies that will steadily grow.

How is it different from a BSF class?

WordGo is designed to meet unique needs, targeting those who aren’t able or willing to attend a traditional BSF class. The app meets many of the needs BSFers have been voicing for years, especially for the rising generation of believers.

With the app, people can start study groups. As Group Guides, they can:

· Start anytime, without a waiting list.

· Invite friends easily through the app.

· Benefit from online training resources and continued support to keep the group on track, all from within the app.

· Keep members updated with any location, date or time changes by sending notifications.

Group members can:

· Customize daily study content to a specific number of minutes per day.

· Receive study reminders and notifications to stay focused and on track.

· Store notes, thoughts and study answers to be used during group discussion.

· Study on the go by listening to custom Bible teaching, audio notes and a built-in audio Bible.

 

Who can start a WordGo group?

Unlike planting a BSF class, which can take years, WordGo accelerates that process by allowing anyone interested in leading a group to access the app. WordGo Group Guides are simply focused on inviting members and hosting the group.

We believe God will faithfully call, equip and convict the men and women who are committed to facilitate these studies. The material remains true to God’s Word, regardless of cultural context. The four-fold approach ensures that those studying with WordGo do not depart from the text.

Will you partner with us?

There are three things we would like to ask you, the leaders and members of BSF classes, to prayerfully consider:

Share WordGo

Right now, as you read this, can you think of someone with whom you could share WordGo? A friend? A family member? Someone from church? Or work? Who are the people in your life that are hungry for God’s Word and would enjoy the opportunity to gather a few friends for a study?

Pray for WordGo

Would you commit to pray for the ministry and impact of WordGo? Join the WordGo prayer list for regular info and prayer requests.

Give to WordGo

Would you like to support this new ministry of BSF as we move to reach and resource believers around the world with in-depth Bible study? Your support of this new ministry will help BSF reach and equip new believers around the world with in-depth Bible study.

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