Vol. 2 No. 3     Fall 1998


About the Children's Department

resources for effective children's ministry

Table of Contents

Lynda's Corner LYNDA'S CORNER
Seasonal Idea SEASONAL IDEA - Holiday Traditions
Seasonal Idea SEASONAL IDEA - Book Fair
TEAM-UP...PARENTS & YOU TEAM-UP...PARENTS & YOU - Strengthening Family Relationships
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    I hope you all have had fabulous summers of effective ministry and are looking forward to a terrific Fall.  I live in the grand Rapids, Michigan area and for those of you who do not know, there are many, many Christian book stores in this area, yet if you were to poll people from most of our churches, you would find most of them never go to any of these stores.  This is really unfortunate as there are so many excellent resources in these stores to help parents pass on their legacy of faith to their children.  I highly recommend churches hold a book fair, before Christmas with the following goals:  
  • to provide an opportunity for parents to find resources for them to utilize with their children and for their children to use on their own
  • to encourage families to donate their books to the church library after they are finished with them
  • to use the book fair as a fund raiser - most bookstores will let you have the books at 20% off -  this discount can be a fund raiser or used to pass the savings on to the people in the church 
    There are many good reasons to hold a book fair and there is an abundance of excellent books and resources to choose from.  In part of our seasonal idea area we will review many of these excellent books, for all ages.  These reviews will be somewhat brief, to just give you a glimpse of what these resources are like.  Stop by your local bookstore and ask about having a book fair in your church.  

    We will also look at some excellent resources for use if you are preparing to hold a Children's Christmas Program and ideas for recruiting, supporting and encouraging your teachers.  

     Many of us have special Family Holiday Traditions we look forward to enjoying every year.  Many of us also look forward to beginning new Family Holiday Traditions that may be enjoyed for generations to come.  In this issue of "About the Children's department" we are pleased to be able to bring you some favorite Family Holiday traditions from some of the authors whose books we have had the joy to review.  Maybe you will find a new tradition to adapt and share in and with your own family! 

     Author's Name - Janet Garman 
     Book Titles - Home Run Rudy Series 

Favorite Holiday Tradition
     "Our family begins Christmas preparations in the late afternoon after Thanksgiving dinner.  Each child sets up a personal two-foot artificial pine tree and decorates it with the previous year's ornaments.

     Excitement overflows when we bring out the antique treasure chest containing minature ornaments collected by family members for generations;  dolls, woodcarvings, glass figurines, and handmade toys from around the world.

     Amid much oohing and aahing, the children make this year's choices and place the trees on bedside tables to be enjoyed throughout the Christmas season.  By the time the youngsters grow up, they will have memories . . . and ornaments . . . reminding them of home and family.

     Other traditions include Advent cards, a birthday cake for Jesus, candlelight services on Christmas Eve and stockings for everyone . . . children, parents and grandparents  . . . filled openly by all family members instead of "Santa". 

     Author - Paul Buchanan
      Book - the Misadventures of Willie Plummet 
Favorite Holiday Tradition
     "My favorite Christmas tradition is only a few years old.  It began when my son, Ryan, was seven.

     Ryan was fascinated by pennies. He would jingle them in his pocket and he seemed to find them everywhere. When I emptied my pockets, I'd give the pennies to Ryan, and he'd add them to the big glass jar he kept under his bed. After a few months the jar was too heavy for him to move - even I had trouble lifting it.

     I wasn't sure what Ryan planned to do with all his pennies, and I had no idea how much money the jar of pennies was worth, but early in December, Ryan asked me to help him empty the jar. We tipped it over on his bedroom floor and spent some time counting the pennies and putting them in red paper rolls.  We got more than twenty dollars, which Ryan used to buy toys and wrapping paper.

     When Ryan finished wrapping his gifts we took them to the police station, where the officers were collecting toys for poor children. When Ryan brought in his gifts the police officers made a big fuss over him. They took his photograph and gave him a toy police badge. He was beaming.

     This was all my son's idea, but it showed me how easy it is to forget that Christmas is all about giving gifts, not receiving them.  It's all about the Gift God gave us, and about how He wants us to give of ourselves to others. It's a wonderful reminder, and we do it every year."


     Author - Joani Schultz 
     Book - Fun Excuses to Talk About God 

Favorite Family Holiday Tradition
     "We celebrate Christmas gift-giving with our families in a fun way. Every package is wrapped with a "clue." It's a phrase or poem or crazy something-or-other that gives a hint to what's inside. It's as much fun to try and guess the contents as it is to open! Lots of laughter! Lots of fun!

     Author - Lori Walburg 
     Book - The Legend of the Candy Cane 

Favorite Family Holiday Tradition
     "My favorite tradition is simple: just being with family! Since that have grown out of my childhood nuclear family. I love being sister/daughter/aunt/and friend all wrapped up into one package.

     Also, every Christmas we each take time to have a family devotion time. We might say what we're thankful for, share a poem or story or Scripture, or pray together. Since my whole family loves God and each other, this is a special time of spiritual intimacy."

     Author - Tracy Harrast
     Book Titles - The Picture Bible, The Christmas Story, The Lost and Found Lamb 

Favorite Family Holiday Traditions 
      Our family has an informal Christmas program in our pajamas on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning before we open our gifts.  If my guitar has all of it's strings, I play that while we sing a couple of carols.  Then we talk about the Christian meanings behind Christmas symbols as we pull them out of a stocking.  After that, we read Luke 2 while the kids put the nativity scene figures in the creche.  Then we pray, thanking God for the gift of His Son.  Later, the grand finale of Christmas day is when we decorate an angel food cake for Jesus and sing "Happy Birthday" to Him.

    I enjoyed reading each of these wonderful traditions and would like to thank each of these authors for sharing their tradition with all of us!  Thank you so much! 

    I love hearing from you, so feel free to e-mail me with your questions if you tried something reviewed in previous issues and if you have an idea that has worked for you and you would be willing to share.  I hope you will find at least one idea or resource to help in your family or ministry!  


    Feel free to contact me at: lynda@roundaboutthechurch.com 

Table of Contents


About The Children's Department - Volume 2, Edition 3

Copyright © Lynda Freeman 
Last Updated Oct. 1, 1998 
Web Page by Lynda Freeman 
Send an e-mail to Lynda at lynda@roundaboutthechurch.com  

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