When our kids were younger we had a collection of animated stories on DVDs about a group of kids who were a part of the underground church in Rome. It took place several years after Jesus' return to the Father. At that time, despite being under Nero's maniacal persecution, the new church was bursting with growth. Living witnesses of Jesus' life bravely gathered people in secret to retell every story and detail they could remember about this Savior who had lived and moved and eaten with them.
The series was called "The Story Keepers." It was intense -- actually too intense for our young kids, but such were the lives of the early Christians in that place and time. Christianity was under the heaviest of assaults. These story keepers were hunted down and some were killed in an effort to stop the movement of God.
In spite of the assault, the new Christian faith grew because it met people's deepest needs.
Here we are 2,000 years later and this man's life-giving story is still under assault, though the enemy's current strategies are wrapped in tinsel and candy coated. Helping my family find "God With Us" in what we currently call Christmas has felt like swimming against the tide or searching for a needle in a haystack. It can be hard.
If you've ever made it to the end of the "Most wonderful time of the year" without having been awestruck again by the plan and humility of Jesus, you know how empty Christmas can be. To prevent this thievery and shine the spotlight on Jesus will take some thought and intentionality. We could sure use some good stories this Christmas. So I wanted to pass along some resources to help you share better stories than Ralphie or Buddy the Elf.
May the light of Truth burn brightly in your home this Christmas. Let's continue to tell the stories of Christ with a joyful heart and trust God for the rest.
May God bless you with the gift of Himself at Christmas.
Family Christmas Resources
Here is a list of 24 Scriptures to answer the perfect question to ask at Christmas time, "Why did Jesus have to come?" It could spark some great discussions by simply reading one and then exploring the answers.
What were some of the reasons for Christ's first coming? OPEN HERE
The Star of Bethlehem - DVD
This DVD is a Heck family favorite. The Bible begins... "Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs... (Genesis 1:14)'" Watch together how God inspired a dad setting up Christmas decorations in his yard to begin researching the star of Bethlehem's credibility. Your family's understanding of God's majesty will be challenged as he takes you on a tour of the signs in the sky at Jesus' birth. It's incredible! This DVD is best suited for kids 10+
For Kids to Read and be Read To
The Action Bible - Sergio Cariello and Doug Mouss
I have to include this because it is simply soo -- soo good. I recently asked my Son Baer how he knew so many Bible stories compared to other kids and he told me it was because he'd read this book so many times. It is captivating, cover to cover, even for adults. Your kids will want to read God's whole story, comic book style, with these awe-inspiring illustrations. At $15.29 on Amazon this has been the best gift we've given kids over the last several years. A perfect Christmas gift and a great way to read the stories of Jesus as you tuck them in.
An Angel's Story by Max Lucado
In this classic Christmas novella, Max Lucado imagines the spiritual conflict that surrounded the coming of Christ. Surely there was much. If Satan could pre-empt Christ in the cradle, there'd be no Christ on the cross.
Journey back in time to the very throne of God ... and witness firsthand the glory, the wonder, and the battle that took place on the very first Christmas.
Excerpt: As she spoke, a Light appeared in her womb.
The King walked over and reached for the book. He turned it toward Lucifer and commanded, “Come, Deceiver, read the name of the One who will call your bluff. Read the name of the One who will storm your gates.” Satan rose slowly off his haunches. Like a wary wolf, he walked a wide circle toward the desk until he stood before the volume and read the word:
“Immanuel?” he muttered to himself, then spoke in a tone of disbelief. “God with us?” For the first time the hooded head turned squarely toward the face of the Father. “No. Not even You would do that. Not even You would go so far.”
“You’ve never believed me, Satan.”
For adults to read and retell
Who is This Man? by John Ortberg
A book about the undeniable world impact of Jesus and one of my favorite books. It's a collection of historical facts presenting a case that Jesus has had more influence on human history than any other single man. You'll have a new appreciation for how, in Jesus short 3 year ministry, he effectively changed civilization at its very core forever. This book illuminates his impact on everything, including government, sexuality, art, architecture, medicine, education, women's rights, etc...
Excerpt: On the day after Jesus' death, it looked as if whatever small mark he left on the world would rapidly disappear. Instead, his impact on human history has been unparalleled. After his disappearance from earth, the days of his unusual influence began. That influence is what this book is about..."
Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge
A book about the approachable and powerful personality of Jesus. What is Jesus really like? The right answer will change you. This book a revelation in capturing the personality of the man, the friend, the king, the warrior, the Savior! Again, small passages read aloud to family from this book can help you celebrate the birth and mission of the world's most remarkable human.
Excerpt: "I mentioned earlier my anger in the museum at the classic art depicting the birth of Jesus the Superbaby. I was angry not because the art was done badly, but because it was done so beautifully, so very reverently, making it all the more difficult to remember that Jesus was human..."
Do you have any resource you'd add to this list? Please list them in the comments here.