“Everywhere I look it’s the same story about the sweet manger scene.”
This comment came from a reader who has the same question many of us do this time of year: How do we point our kids to the gospel at Christmastime? It goes beyond simply setting up a nativity scene on the mantle and singing good old fashioned hymns. Those are good things, but by themselves they paint an incomplete picture of the gospel. It’s very easy to be religious at Christmastime. It’s much harder to be gospel-centered.
There are books and videos and resources flying all around us about the “true meaning of Christmas.” Some are great, some are confusing, and some are just plain unhelpful. A gospel-centered Christmas starts with a solid theological foundation. Simple, but solid. As you sift through the resources and seek to point your kids to the gospel, there are three questions that can help tie everything together. These are questions you can refer back to over and over all season long to keep the gospel clear and central for your kids. The answers are written with children in mind, but these simple truths are for all ages.
1. Who is Jesus?
Jesus is God, but he is also God’s Son. He is part of the trinity – one God in three persons. He was born on earth, but the Bible says he existed before that. In fact, Jesus has no beginning! When we think of Jesus we can think of all the things we know about God: He is holy, all powerful, and all knowing. Jesus even created the whole world. When Jesus came to earth he was still fully God, but he took on a human body so he could be like us. (John 1:1-3, Philippians 2:6-7)
2. Why did Jesus come?
When Adam sinned his sin covered everyone in the world. This made all of us God’s enemies. Just like Adam covered us with his sin, we needed someone to cover us with perfect righteousness so we could be God’s friends again. Jesus came so he could live a perfect life in our place and also take the punishment our sins deserved. (Romans 5:8, Romans 5:12)
3. What does Christmas mean?
Christmas is a time to tell God, “Thank you for coming!” We remember that Jesus came to earth by becoming a man and having a birthday, just like you and me. He came to bring us presents: The gifts of forgiveness and eternal life for anyone who believes in him. Christmas reminds us of Jesus’ birth, but that’s only the beginning of the story. We also remember how his life ended at the cross and where he is now. He is alive in heaven, preparing a place for his people to be with him someday forever. (Romans 6:23, John 14:2-3)