Our kids loved bedtime stories year round. At Christmas we told them Christmas stories.
Why is it, we only tell the Joseph and Mary story at Christmas? Why do we assume kids already know the small, seemingly insignificant, parts of the story?
Our son, Mark, said it surprisingly well the Christmas he was about seven, “Mom, I’ve only heard the Christmas story six times; and, I bet – the first three times – I didn’t even pay attention.”
We had been putting the wise men across the room from the manger scene in our living room; because, the men from the East hadn’t seen the baby Jesus until He was close to two years old. Mark was fascinated! “The wise men didn’t go to the manger with the shepherds? But, everyone puts them by the shepherds! ”
He wanted to see it for himself in the Bible. We opened to Matthew 2.
(Today, I use The Message when I read the Bible to kids.)
The passage was full of evil King Herod plotting how he could kill baby Jesus. (immediately this had Mark’s undivided attention) Herod’s reign, and the chronological timetable, shows it took almost two years for the wise men to find the “house” where the child lived. (Read the footnotes.)
“Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!
11 They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
12 In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.”
Our Mark was hooked.
Of course, the remainder of the Christmas season, that year, we discovered him removing wise men from every manger scene he found…wherever he went. These were more teaching moments at the holidays!
In Luke 2, there is also a story about a man named Simeon, who saw baby Jesus before the wise men. Anna the prophetess was also an important part of the Christmas story…before the wise men. We have so many amazing stories about the birth of Jesus. Did you know the Bible never says there were only three wise men? We need to dig a little deeper to make this true story the best, most important and most exciting story in our kids’ lives. Especially now!
This year, put the wise men across the room, and it is an amazing conversation starter!
May I brag for a moment? Our son, Mark, now a husband and father to three precious girls, is telling these same stories to the more than 800 kids at St. Mary’s and All Angels School where he is the pastor/teacher.
There are other great stories for kids this Christmas season.
Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving (VeggieTales) for little ones.
Some stories are worth telling all year long. Once a year isn’t enough.