I'm bursting with excitement at what I'm about to post. It warmed my heart with Christmas cheer when I first heard it on Sunday during Sharing Time, and I couldn't wait to share it with all of you (I know people read this blog because I spy on all my visitors. It's alright if you're all too shy to comment. I usually don't comment on strangers' blogs either, so I understand). I hope it inspires you and gladdens your heart like it did mine. What I'm about to give you would make a wonderful FHE lesson.
First, share the story "Teach the Children." I had never heard this story before. Have you? If not, I'll quickly summarize. It's about a man who sees Santa in his living room on Christmas Eve. The man is surprised to find that Santa is sad because people seem to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. So, Santa tells the man to teach the children about the symbols of Christmas- the tree, the star, the bells, the candy canes- and how they point to the true meaning of Christmas- our Lord, Jesus Christ. It's such a sweet story!
After you read the story, play a memory game with your family. This you will have to prepare beforehand, of course. Here are the instructions:
- Print off or draw pictures of Christmas symbols on small cards.
- On other cards, write the meaning of the symbols.
- Color code the backside of the two different types of cards- make the symbol cards green and the meaning cards red
- Turn the cards over so the color side is showing
- Each person takes a turn, turning over a symbol card and trying to find its matching meaning card.
(That sounds really confusing. Sorry! I'm sure you can figure it out- it's not rocket science, even though I made it sound like it is.)
To make life easier for you, here are the definitions of the symbols:
THE STAR: a heavenly sign of prophecy fulfilled long ages ago. It's the shining hope of mankind and a reminder that wise men still seek Him.
RED: the first color of Christmas. It symbolizes God's greatest gift- the Savior's sacrifice for all.
FIR TREE: evergreen- the second color of Christmas shows everlasting life. The needles point heavenward.
THE BELL: rings out to guide lost sheep back to the fold, signifying all are precious in the eyes of the Lord. It calls for all to follow the true Shepherd.
THE CANDLE: represents our gratitude for the gift of God's son. It symbolizes the light within all of us, shining for all to see.
GIFT BOW: tied as we should all be tied together in bonds of goodwill forever.
CANDY CANE: the shepherd's crook used to bring lambs back to the fold. It's a reminder that we are all our brother's keeper. It also forms a J, representing the precious name of Jesus who came to Earth.
THE WREATH: a symbol of the never ending eternal nature of love, having no beginning and no end.
SANTA CLAUS: represents family fun and the joy of giving and receiving.
After you play the matching game, read this wonderful book, "I Believe in Santa Claus" by Diane Adamson.
It is a simple yet profound summary of everything that was just explained. At the end of the book she lists the symbols and their meanings, and she may even include some that are listed above (I'm not sure because my friend borrowed it, so I don't have it with me right now). If you've never heard of this book before, you MUST get it because, trust me, you'll LOVE it!
I hear people say they feel bad that we have so much fun with Santa Claus and candy canes and Christmas trees because they think it detracts from the true meaning of Christmas. I feel bad for them because they don't understand the beautiful meaning behind it all. They also don't understand this: "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or praiseworthy, or of good report, we seek after these things." The reason we seek after those things is because everything that is good comes from and points toward Christ, and that's what makes this season so wonderful because it's filled with so many good things that symbolize the love of our Savior. Let's teach our families those things so they understand the reason and the meaning of the season.