Tag Archives: Christmas

History Of The Christmas Tree


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Some believe the Christmas tree started during the Winter Solstice when Druids worshipped trees. But from the beginning, Christmas trees have been used as Christian symbols to teach about Christ.

The Upside Down Fir Tree

During the 7th century, a monk from Devonshire spent time there preaching the word of God. He used the triangular shape of the Fir tree to teach about the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. By the 12th century, the Fir tree was hung upside down from ceilings in Central Europe as a symbol of Christianity at Christmas time.

Boniface and Thor’s Oak

St. Boniface became a missionary to the Germans in the 700’s A.D where he encountered Druids who worshiped trees. To stop their sacrifices at their sacred Donar Oak near Geismar, St. Boniface chopped the tree down in 725 A.D. With one mighty blow, Saint Boniface felled the massive oak, and as the tree split, a beautiful young fir tree sprang from its center. Saint Boniface told the people that this lovely evergreen, with its branches pointing to heaven, was indeed a holy tree, the tree of the Christ Child, a symbol of His promise of eternal life. He instructed them to carry the evergreen from the wilderness into their homes and to surround it with gifts, symbols of love and kindness.

The Paradise Tree

From the eleventh Century, religious plays called “Mystery Plays” including the popular Paradise Play depicting the story of the creation of Adam and Eve, their sin, and thier banishment from Eden. An evergreen tree was used for this winter festival and decorated with apples symbolizing the forbidden fruit. The play ended with the promise of the coming Savior. Wafers were also hung from the tree symbolizing the forgiveness of sins in communion making it now not just the tree of knowledge but also the tree of life. This resulted in a very old European custom of decorating a fir tree in the home with apples and small white wafers representing the Holy Eucharist at Christmas time. These wafers were later replaced by little pieces of pastry cut in the shapes of stars, angels, hearts, flowers, and bells. In some areas the custom, was still to hang the tree upside down.

In addition to the paradise tree, many German Christians set up a Christmas Pyramid called a Lichstock – a open wooden frame with shelves for figurines of the Nativity covered with evergreen branches and decorated with candy, pastry, candles, and a star. The star represented the star of Bethlehem, the candles represented the light of Christ coming into the world, the evergreens were the symbol of eternal life, and the candy, fruits, and pastries, the goodness of our life in Christ, the fruits of the spirit, etc. By the seventeenth century the Lichstock and the “Paradise Tree” became merged into the modern Christmas tree.

Luther’s Christmas Tree

There is a popular tradition that Martin Luther was walking on a bright snow-covered, star-lit night pondering the birth of Christ. Enthralled by the evergreen trees, the stars and the landscape, he took a tree inside and put candles on it to represent the majesty he felt about Christ’s birth as Jesus came down from the stars to bring us eternal life.

Advent For Children’s Ministry Christmas Eve


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If you don’t have a Christmas Eve Service for children, you might want to include this in week 4 lesson.

Christmas: Light of the World

Light the white candle in middle of the Advent Wreath.

Advent ‘Coming’ in Latin. This is the coming of Jesus into the world. Christians use the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare and remember the real meaning of Christmas. There are three advents in Scripture. The first happened 2000 years ago when Jesus came into the world as a baby to live as a man and die for us. The second can happen now. Jesus wants to come into our lives now. The third will happen in the future when Jesus comes back to the world as King and Judge, not a baby.

Talk to the children about the meaning of advent. Make this a special time by talking about the real meaning of Christmas. Sing Christmas carols and eat Christmas cookies. You might want to exchange gifts. It would also be a nice touch to have the children act out the Nativity with costumes. 

Bible Story:  Read Matthew 4:16, Luke 2:25-38 Simeon and Anna were two prophets who lived a very long time. The world was in darkness because of sin. But they knew that when the Messiah, Jesus, came, he would bring light into the world. With that light came hope, peace, joy, and love. When these prophets saw the baby Jesus after He was born, they knew He was the one they were waiting for. They told His mother, Mary, what God had shown them. Jesus is the light of the world.

Verses: All verses in the Advent Series are from the International Children’s Bible.

Matthew 4:16:  These people who live in darkness will see a great light. They live in a place that is very dark. But a light will shine on them.

Luke 2:30-32:  I have seen your Salvation with my own eyes. You prepared him before all people. He is a light for the non-Jewish people to see. He will bring honor to your people, the Israelites.

John 1:1-5:  Before the world began, there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were made through him. Nothing was made without him. In him there was life. That life was light for the people of the world. The Light shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not overpowered the Light.

John 3:19-21:  People are judged by this fact: I am the Light from God that has come into the world. But men did not want light. They wanted darkness because they were doing evil things. Everyone who does evil hates the light. He will not come to the light because it will show all the evil things he has done. But he who follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that the things he has done were done through God.

John 8:12:  Later, Jesus talked to the people again. He said, “I am the light of the world. The person who follows me will never live in darkness. He will have the light that gives life.”

John 9:5:  While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 12:46:  I have come as light into the world. I came so that whoever believes in me would not stay in darkness.

Ephesians 5:8:  In the past you were full of darkness, but now you are full of light in the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light.

1 John 1:5:  Here is the message we have heard from God and now tell to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.

Advent For Children’s Ministry Week 4

 
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Week 4: Love

Light the final purple candle in the Advent Wreath.

At Christmas we remember Christ’s birth, but rarely do we talk about the reason he was born. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to Earth as a baby so He could live a sinless life as a man and be the sacrifice for our sin. That’s a love greater than any love we’ve ever known. That’s the real meaning of Christmas. 

Talk to the children about how Christmas is a time we show love for others. Ask them what are some of the ways they can show love for others. Don’t just talk about giving presents. We can show love by being kind to each other, helping each other, and helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Christmas is a great time to show love because God showed His love for us when His Son, Jesus, was born. The story doesn’t end in the manger. Jesus gave His life for us. That’s true love.

Bible Story:  For week four of advent, read John 3:1-21. Tell the how God sent His Son to Earth because He loves us. Jesus lived a sinless life and taught us about God while He was on Earth because He is God. Then he died on the cross as a punishment for our sins. He took our place and shed his blood for us.

Talk to the children about how we’ve all sinned. We’ve all failed God. We all deserve to be punished. But God loves us so much that He doesn’t want to punish us for our sins. He wants us to be close to Him. But God is just. He’s always right. So He punished Jesus for our sins. That way we can be close to God and not worry about the punishment we deserve. God loves us that much. Invite the children who don’t know Christ to accept Him as their savior so their sins will be forgiven.

Verses: All verses in the Advent Series are from the International Children’s Bible.

John 3:16:  For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.   

John 13:34:  I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you.

John 15:13:  The greatest love a person can show is to die for his friends.

Galatians 2:20:  20I do not live anymore—it is Christ living in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God. He loved me and gave himself to save me.

Ephesians 5:2:  Live a life of love. Love other people just as Christ loved us. Christ gave himself for us—he was a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God.

1 John 4:9-11:  This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his only Son into the world to give us life through him. True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. God sent his Son to be the way to take away our sins. That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. 

1 John 4:19:  We love because God first loved us.

Advent Week Two For Children’s Ministry

 
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Week 2: Peace

Light the second purple candle in the Advent Wreath.

If hope has a different meaning in the Bible then it does in the world, then peace also has a different meaning. Jesus talked a lot about the peace He came to give. His peace isn’t the absence of conflict, war, or trials, but it is a calm assurance that Christ is in control even when the world around us is in chaos.

Talk to the children about how Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. He’s not called that because everything becomes peaceful when we get saved. He brings us peace in the midst of our troubles. Tell a story about a tragedy in your life and how God gave you peace in it when you trusted in Him.

Bible Story:  For week two of advent, read Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-6; Matthew 1:18-24. Tell the story about Mary and Joseph. It must have been a scary time for them. Mary was in danger of being put to death because she allowed God to use her to bring His son into the world. Joseph trusted the angel in the dream and took Mary to be his wife. Then they had to travel to Bethlehem when Mary was about to give birth. Talk about the hardships they must have faced on the trail. Then they had to stay in a stable when the baby was born because there wasn’t any room at the inn. They didn’t have a doctor or a midwife or even Mary’s mother there. Neither Mary of Joseph knew what was going to happen, but they had peace in the midst of it because they trusted God.

Verses: All verses in the Advent Series are from the International Children’s Bible.

Isaiah 9:6-7:  A child will be born to us. God will give a son to us. He will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace. Power and peace will be in his kingdom. It will continue to grow. He will rule as king on David’s throne and over David’s kingdom. He will make it strong, by ruling with goodness and fair judgment.  He will rule it forever and ever. The Lord of heaven’s armies will do this because of his strong love for his people.

Luke 2:13-14:  Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel. All the angels were praising God, saying, Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace to the people who please God.

Mark 4:39:  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

John 14:27:  I leave you peace. My peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don’t let your hearts be troubled. Don’t be afraid.

John 16:33:  I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble. But be brave! I have defeated the world!

Advent Week One For Children’s Ministry

Advent Wreath and Candles:

The advent wreath with four purple candles or three purple candles and one pink candle and one white candle in the middle is a great way to teach about the birth of Christ. The candles are lit every Sunday throughout Advent, and each week symbolizes something different.

How to Make an Advent Wreath

How to Make an Advent Calendar

Week 1: Hope

Hope in the Bible has a different meaning then what children normally think. They may hope they’ll get their favorite toy for Christmas or that they’ll do well in school. But that’s not Scriptural hope. Hope in the Bible is the calm assurance that God will do what He says. Christ came to give us hope for salvation.

Talk to the children about what they hope to get for Christmas. Tell them about a gift you hoped to recieve when you were a child, but you didn’t get that gift. You got something else instead. Explain that the hope Jesus gives is different. He gives us the hope of salvation. All we have to do is trust in Him. He will never let us down when we hope in Him.

Bible Story:  For week one of advent, read Isaiah 42:1-4. Talk about how all the Old Testament heroes looked forward with hope to the day Jesus Christ would be born so they could have salvation through Him.

Verses: All verses in the Advent Series are from the International Children’s Bible.

Psalm 33:20:  So our hope is in the Lord. He is our help, our shield to protect us.

Psalm 119:49:  Remember your promise to me, your servant. It gives me hope.

Matthew 12:21:   In him will the nations find hope.

Colosians 1:27:  God decided to let his people know this rich and glorious truth which he has for all people. This truth is Christ himself, who is in you. He is our only hope for glory.