Note: This is a longer than most posts (& no pics),
but I hope you will read to the end.
It’s been on my heart & would like your feedback.
How does your church celebrate Christmas Eve?
As I was sitting in our Christmas Eve service, I thought to myself, “I sure like having all the kids in church”. I know they make noise, but it’s great to have families worshiping together. It’s a rarity in our church. Most families send their kids to Sunday School, while the parents are in the worship service. It was nice to hear kids in the audience.
We started singing Christmas carols and I was brought to tears a few times. Maybe it was having all our kids together to worship Jesus. Or, maybe it was meditating about Luke 1-2 the past couple weeks. Or, maybe I was paying close attention to the words in the Christmas carols.
Next was our children’s message – More on that in a few paragraphs. Separating the Christmas message specifically for kids.
Our service was closed by an excellent presentation of the Gospel message. Our pastor talked about the “noise” of the Christmas season that distracts us from paying attention to the reason for Christmas. The noise of shopping, decorating, baking, cooking, getting ready for family. It’s easy for even the most sincere Christian to forget the message of God sending His son to earth as our Savior.
Our pastor brought the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth to the real purpose of Jesus coming to earth. If unbelievers were in the audience, they heard their need for Jesus because he came to earth to save us from our sin.
Children’s Message for Christmas Eve
In the middle was the children’s message. I’m not quite sure how I feel about having a children’s message or if there’s much point to it. In the past, we’ve heard kids shout there is no Santa or kids talking & not listening to the kids’ message. Usually, it’s just comical.
As the children wandered to the stage, our children’s pastor reminded us that Jesus told the disciples to let the children come to Him. So I thought, “OK…let’s have a message just for the kids”.
As I watched them set up, I thought to myself this looks like something out of Veggie Tales. Well, I wasn’t far off.
As a poem about Christ’s birth was read, puppets were shown & props were thrown into the air. Everyone was laughing out loud. But, I was wondering why we were disrespecting the story of Christ’s birth. Had they told any other story outside the Bible, I would be laughing too. But acting out God’s Word in a silly, insincere way is not appropriate. In a subtle way, they’re teaching the kids (& families) to not take the Bible seriously & the Bible is for entertainment.
Is the Christmas Eve service the place to make fun of the Bible story?
I know they were trying to keep the kids’ attention because it’s extremely hard to keep the attention of 100-200 kids sitting on the stage by themselves. But really! Putting a ball under the children pastor’s shirt as he talks about Mary being pregnant. Throwing clothes in the air as they read about a baby wrapped in cloths. Playing donkey sounds each time the donkey is mentioned.
What do you think the kids learned from this presentation?
It’s ok to tease & make light of Bible stories. Christmas Eve service is more about having fun & laughing than worshipping Jesus, our Savior, as families.
You may think I’m being too harsh. That I’m old and not in tune with society today. That we need to relate to the kids like society relates to kids – fast moving video-type stories.
I beg to differ.
If my kids were young, we would have gone home to discuss how we need to treat God’s Word.
Irony at Christmas Eve
In actuality, our Christmas Eve service was filled with irony. Our pastor’s message encouraged us to overcome society’s “noise” at Christmas so we can focus on Jesus coming to earth as a humble servant. Our children’s message simply increased the noise – making fun of Jesus coming to earth, laughing and being entertained as we read the story of Jesus’ birth.
I am conflicted because the adult message was so on-target.
Possible Solution to Christmas Eve Service Ideas with Kids
I miss the days we spent in Idaho, when we participated in a Lessons & Carols Service each Christmas Eve. It was so simple, but all were able to participate. Kids & parents worshipped “together”. We didn’t water down or make fun of the Christmas story. We didn’t separate the children’s message from the adults’.
In short, an elder read a Scripture passage and then we sang a Christmas carol together. We repeated this with 8 more carols & passages. In the middle, one of our pastors gave a 5 minute Christmas homily. It was simple & meaningful and ALL could participate. Kids & adults together.
Why not let God’s Word speak for itself, even to the kids?
And I close as I began. I love participating in family worship services, where children & adults sing & learn together – a “Family” Christmas Eve service. I believe it’s possible to include kids in worship services, without watering down their message.
I would enjoy hearing your thoughts about children’s messages, kids in worship services or Christmas Eve service ideas. Please leave a comment below, instead of emailing me. That way everyone can benefit from each others’ thoughts.
.Question: What are your thoughts about kids in worship services.? You can leave a comment by clicking here.