Preschool

The True Meaning of Christmas

child and Nativity

What parts of Christmas do we bring into our Mission Friends classrooms at church? There are so many aspects to celebrating Christmas: shopping, gifts, cookies, candies, parties, ornaments, decorations, trees, lights, Santa, elves, snowmen, and greeting cards. There is such cuteness revolving around these aspects of Christmas, it can be easy to leave out the very meaning of Christmas. How do we focus on celebrating that God sent His Son, Jesus? How do we include some of the fun aspects of Christmas while teaching preschoolers about Jesus’ birth? The points below give suggestions for being intentional about teaching preschoolers the true meaning of Christmas.

  • Tell parts of the Christmas story from Luke 2:1–20 during each session. Look for preschool books that tell the true story. I even found a board book at a discount store that told the Christmas story in simple words.

Project HELP: PTSD Helping Families with Financial Stress

Financial difficulties

Though the song says it’s the most wonderful time of the year, for many families the Christmas season is the most stressful time of the year. This can be a particularly difficult time for parents who are under financial stress, as they struggle to provide for their family. The pressures of providing Christmas gifts for their children is great.

Financial stress for families can be caused by the loss of a job, an ongoing illness or hospitalization, divorce, or the death of a family member. Some families are in financial stress because of spending practices, credit card debt, or lack of budgeting. Be prepared to minister to families who are under financial stress.

  • Be sensitive to the needs of families who may be in situations of financial stress. Keep information confidential.

  • Be aware that financial stress is not just about money. Emotional and social issues may also be involved, such as pride, self-confidence, or loss of purpose.

  • Listen to the parent so you can determine opportunities in which you can be of help.

Step Out and Shine

Step out and Shine

“Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples; but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you” (Isa. 60:1–2 NIV1)

What a beautiful prophecy of the coming of our Lord. As we continue pondering how to step out into our world, we must immediately turn our thoughts to Jesus, our Light, who stepped from the ethereal beauty and safety of His heavenly kingdom to bring hope and life into a world overcome by darkness and fear. He stepped out boldly and with great love for his people.

During this Christmas season, spend time meditating on His willingness to step out for us. But, don’t stop there. Meditate, too, on His command that we are to “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matt. 5:16 NIV).

Allow Christ’s words to spur you to acts of compassion and service.

Introducing Preschoolers to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

December is drawing near, and our focus on the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® is growing. The Dove family, whom we will study in December, says that it is the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering that meets their daily needs and allows them to focus full-time on the work that God has called them to in Norway. Use some of the following suggestions to teach Mission Friends more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and to encourage their families to involve them in missions giving.

Thankful

Thankful Turkey

The Preschool Resource Team made this turkey to show what we are thankful for. We used the turkey outline and each person took 3 feathers to write 3 things for which we are thankful. We’re sharing our list with you here.

 

Joan Hicks, administrative assistant:

  • Salvation: Jesus and the Lord
  • Family
  • Church

 

Clay Allison, graphic designer:

  • My salvation
  • Medical miracles for the time in which I live
  • My family, job, and co-workers

 

Teri Easterling, copy editor:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • WMU work

 

Robin McCall, editor:

  • Jesus
  • Love
  • Children

 

Joye Smith, consultant:

Myself

Myself Cover

My Mission Friends had the most fun making self-portraits on paper plates as suggested in Mission Friends Leader  for last week. We also drew around each preschooler’s hands on a piece of paper and asked them to decorate their hands. As our preschoolers drew and colored, we talked about things we do with our hands and how God made each of us different. After Ashlyn finished drawing, she said, “Now I’ll put them together.” She put her paper plate face on the table and placed the paper hands below the plate. Then she smiled a big smile and held her own hands right below her face as if she were saying, “Ta Da! Here I am!”

Praying with Preschoolers

Always Remember to Pray

“I don’t know what to pray,” said one of my preschoolers after I read the title page in Always Remember to Pray. Several new preschoolers had just promoted into our Mission Friends class a couple weeks before at the beginning of this church year. I decided to read Always Remember to Pray before our prayertime to help us talk about prayer. I responded to this preschooler, “Let’s find out what we can pray!” I read several pages of the book until the preschoolers started fidgeting, and then I flipped the pages over to read the last page. Before we prayed, we talked about ways we could pray for the missionary family.

Preschoolers are learning that we can pray anywhere and at any time. In order to learn how to pray, they need to hear the prayers of their parents and teachers at church. In Mission Friends, we can model how to pray for others as we teach preschoolers of ways to pray for the missionaries featured and the people with whom they serve.

Tips about Praying with Preschoolers

By All Means

By All Means

Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, He took people as they were and showed them through His words and deeds the new life they could have as believers. As we seek to follow Jesus’ example, take a look at the way He met people where they are. He did not say to Zacchaeus, “You need to straighten out your life and give back all the money you cheated from people, and then I will come into your home.” No, Jesus looked up in the tree along the streets of Jericho and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5 NIV1). By the end of their visit, Zacchaeus’s heart and life were changed.

Spend a few minutes this month looking at the examples Jesus gave us. Look up these other verses in the Gospel of Luke. Note how Jesus met each person, and how their lives were changed.

Lunches to Go

Making Lunch

Our guest blogger, Melita Thomas, shares about a Helping Others activity in which her kindergartners take part. We love how she involves her kindergartners in a ministry of her church to those in their community. Melita is an editor at LifeWay Christian Resources and serves as a writer for Mission Friends materials.

Each year my church partners with a local homeless shelter and a rotating network of churches to provide overnight housing to homeless men. Every Sunday night during the winter months, my church provides homeless men a place to sleep, shower, and launder clothes as well as receive dinner, breakfast, and a sack lunch. Adult Sunday School classes typically serve as hosts for meals, Bible study, and fellowship with our guests.

Learning through the Senses

Ellie the chicken

Last week in Mission Friends I was reminded how preschoolers learn through their senses. The mission story for that night told how Mr. and Mrs. McIntosh teach people how to raise chickens for the eggs and plant seeds for food. Robin McCall, preschool resources editor, raises chickens and planned to take one to church for her Mission Friends to see. Earlier in the day, we worked out a time that I could call on FaceTime so my Mission Friends group could see the chicken, also.

Even though they watched on my small phone screen, my Mission Friends enjoyed seeing the chicken, named Ellie. I had some still pictures of chickens, but being able to see the real chicken moving around was even better. They also used their sense of hearing when the chicken began to cluck. When my preschoolers heard the chicken clucking, they all began to cluck too! Later in the session, one of the boys came up to me clucking like a chicken.

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