by Alesa Campbell
During the Christmas season many years ago, I gave my students color sheets with holiday themes on them. I gave them Santa pictures, reindeer to color, Christmas trees, candy canes, snow men, snow flakes, gifts and ornaments. One day I gave them a color sheet of a nativity scene (this was back when it was allowed at public school). A little girl looked up at me and said, Mrs. Campbell, don’t you have anything Christmasy for us to color today? Her question broke my heart as I realized she had no idea what the true meaning of Christmas was.
With that in mind, I decided to make sure I had plenty of opportunities at home for my little son to learn about our Christian holiday. His grandmother had given him a small, plastic nativity set so he could play with it. I put it out on an end table and arranged the pieces like I had always seen them before, with each character in horizontal formation. I showed him the nativity set and repeated the Christmas story again for him. Later that day, I noticed he was playing with the figures and when I walked over to observe I noticed he had rearranged the set. It amazed me because he had Baby Jesus in the center and all the other figures encircling Him. What a great idea! My three-year-old had comprehended that Jesus was the main focus for all. Children learn so much through play.
Years later, as I shared the memorable story with a friend, she commented how she did the same thing when her kids were young, allowing them to play with a nativity set. She said that the children added Lego characters, Tigger, and several other toy figures to the scene. They were inclusive and added a modern day detail to the ancient story, making it relevant to their lives. How precious!
The small plastic nativity set is stored away now, but one day in the future I look forward to getting it out at Christmas once again and letting a little one play with it while learning the reason for the season.
(Alesa Campbell, wife of Mark and mother of Ben, is a speech therapist, writer and Bible study teacher.)
What are some ways that you have taught the children in your life about the true meaning of Christmas? We would love to hear from you!
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