Christmas to a Child: How Do You Explain It?

“When will we buy a beautiful Christmas tree and decorations?” “When do we start shopping for gifts?” A pinch deep inside was felt by a parent upon hearing the child’s questions.

Amid all the flashy decorations and lights everywhere seen during the holiday season, any child would marvel in awe yet wonder why they can’t have those fabulous displays at home. It’s Christmas season, isn’t it natural that a house should be full of happy lights and joyous ornaments? Can one merely shrug off and avoid answering the open question? How can you tell a child that you can’t afford even the most basic bare plastic tree?

The children start reciting their wishlist. Everyone in the class will be receiving theirs and will later be telling stories of the amounts of toys and gadgets they have received from their parents, uncles and aunts at Christmas. Somehow, this dreaded feeling looms over those parents who can’t afford those toys and gadgets seen in ads everywhere as Christmas draws near. The pockets are nearly empty and the credit cards all maxed out. What is to be done now?

While everyone around is busy organizing and attending parties, going to and fro in their shopping sprees half expecting that the gifts they will receive will somewhat commensurate with what they have spent; braving the traffic, the long lines, the cacophony of the blaring carols from every store. It’s time to go back to the basics.

This is the perfect time to tell the Christmas story. Each child recalls from the stories they’ve read and heard about the scene at Bethlehem the night that Jesus was born. Everybody was busy. There was no room at the inn.

Only a manger was available–no frills—bare as ever. No heating, but the warmth of the mother’s embrace. No flashy lighting effects— but look above, God provided a glorious star. No blaring music—but the angels sang. Ordinary mortals who could afford the inn were not aware at that time, they were just too busy. The news was announced. It was an announcement that changed the course of human history forever. There was no press conference of famous people to hear the latest news. It was announced to the lowliest of the social classes—the shepherds. Joseph and Mary did not mind if they were nobody to the upper social strata. They were rejected and so they remained under the radar. They were nobodies. But they didn’t mind because they had Jesus with them. Who could ask for more?

Christmas is a joyous season. All the sparkles, the frills, the commerciality of it all, should not affect you negatively if it’s beyond your capacity to spend. Why use the whole month’s food budget to buy a tree you can’t afford, or buy extravagant gifts to please people who don’t even mind your existence for the most part of the year (except during Christmas when it’s time for them to expect gifts from you)?

Go deeper beyond the surface of the spectacular sights and sounds. Celebrate from within. The nativity scene is a humble yet priceless example of a family’s closeness despite everything that is happening around.

In today’s time, a good tradition to start for your family before the gift-giving rounds is to gather together and recount the real story of Christmas and in the process thanking God for sending His son to earth for us. Making the children aware of what Christmas is all about; making the season real to them in deeper ways is a lifetime gift they will never forget. If we have Jesus, in us, then everyday is worth celebrating. Cheer up! It’s Christmas time.

© 2010 Athena Goodlight

A Collection of Inspiring Father's Day Videos

Here is an inspiring collection of videos on fathers and dads all over the world.

A beautiful "Thank You" message to all fathers for Father's Day from White Wing Entertainment.

A great inspirational song from the 80's: My Father's Eyes by Amy Grant.

Still My Daddy: Fathers Day Video

I'm Watching You Dad - A Must-Watch Video For All Parents

Keith Urban - Song for Dad with Lyrics

...The older I get
The more I can see
How much he loved my mother and my brother and me
And he did the best that he could
And I only hope when I have my own family
That everyday I see
A little more of my father in me...

The Gentle Hands of Easter - a Poem of Resurrection Day

image credit

The little hands reach out to the new world.
The gentle mother softly touches the tiny fingers.
A soft sound issues from the baby, And the mother replies: “I love you."

The hands grow as time quickly passes.
They learn to handle the wood and tools of a carpenter.
They are kind hands, helpful hands.

The years have sped by so quickly.
The hands reach out and gently touch the mother.
"I must begin my journey. That is my purpose."
She places her hands upon His strong arms.
“I understand," she whispers, 'may God go with you."

From the Jordan River, the hands lift heavenward.
The strong voice sounds clearly, "I love you, my Father."
Over the coming years, the hands reach out to humanity.
They touch the hurt, the diseased, the unloved.
They bring healing, strength, joy, encouragement.
They cause no pain, they are gentle and kind.

The hands are bound by the be­trayal of a friend.
They perform no miracle now, they are subdued.
Taken to the enemy's judgment hall,
They are lashed to a whipping post.
They strain against the thongs as love is repaid with anger.

The feet falter and stumble.
The hands grip the rugged beam.
The walk is long and the arms ache.
The hands seem powerless now.
The enemy seems to win.

The journey is completed.
Those gentle hands are roughly thrown against the beam.
The nail is placed, the hammer raised!
There is a soft gasp as the hands of love are pierced.
They are raised toward heaven, but not in praise.

The lifeless hands are released from the beam.
The body is lowered into the arms of the sobbing mother.
Gently wrapped, it is placed in a borrowed tomb.
The day is dark, love seems gone, hope is lost.

Hallelujah! Greet the brand new morn! Love has won, not lost!
"Come to me" is the cry of His heart,
As He stands today with out­stretched arms.
And the price of love is seen in His gentle hands!

—Rev. James E. Blubaugh—Easter 1988

Telling the Story of the Passover Feast and the Lord’s Supper to Children

It was time for the Feast of Passover. On this day each year the Jews were to eat a special Passover meal. The meal reminded them of the time God led the Israelites from Egypt.

The disciples came to the Lord Jesus and asked, "Where do You want us to get ready for the Passover?"

The Lord Jesus said, "Go into the city and find a certain man. Tell him that the Master says, 'My time is near. I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.' "
The disciples obeyed the Lord Jesus; then they prepared the meal for the Passover.
When night came, the Lord Jesus and His twelve disciples sat down in the house to eat. While they were eating, the Lord Jesus said, "One of you will betray Me." He knew that one of His disciples would help His enemies.

The disciples felt sorry. They hated to think that any of them would do such a wicked thing. "Lord, am I the one?" each of them asked fearfully.

The Lord Jesus said, "The one who dips his hand into the dish with Me is the one who will betray Me."
The disciples and the Lord Jesus did not use silverware to eat. Instead, they used their fingers to dip pieces of food into a dish of stew.

The Lord Jesus already knew what would happen to Him. He knew that He would die soon.
"Woe unto the man who betrays the Son of man," the Lord said. "It would have been better for that man if he had never been born." "Son of man" is another name for the Lord Jesus.

Judas, the disciple who would betray the Lord Jesus, then asked, "Master, am I the one?"
The Lord Jesus said to Judas, "You have said it."

While the disciples were eating, Jesus picked up some bread and blessed it. He then broke it into pieces that He gave to the disciples. "Take. Eat," He said. "This is My body."

He then picked up a cup and thanked God for what was in it. He gave each disciple a drink from the cup. "Drink all of it," He said. "This is My blood, which is shed for many people so that they can have their sins forgiven."

The Lord Jesus said, "I will not drink the fruit of the vine until I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."

The Lord was reminding the disciples that He had not come to rule like an earthly king. His kingdom is in heaven (cf. John 18:36).
The disciples and the Lord Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

Life application
The Lord Jesus knew that He was going to die soon. He knew that Judas was going to turn Him over to His enemies.

The Lord wanted the disciples to remember His last meal with them. He wanted them to remember the things He had taught them. Most of all, He wanted them to remember that the purpose of His death was to forgive sins.

The bread was not really Jesus' body, and the juice was not really His blood. The Lord told the disciples that the bread would remind them of His body. The juice, which was made from grapes, would remind them of how the Lord bled and died on the cross for them.

Christians still obey Him by remembering His last supper with His disciples. Churches have special services called communion services. When Christians eat the bread and drink the juice, they remember that the Lord's body hung on the cross. They also remember that the Lord Jesus shed His blood for them.

The Lord Jesus knew that He would rise from the dead. We know that someday He will come to earth again. Until the Lord Jesus comes, we are supposed to remember how He died for us.

When the Lord Jesus hung on the cross and shed His blood, He took the punishment that we deserve. The Bible says that all people deserve to die and to be separated from God forever because of their sins.

The Lord Jesus loves you so much that He died in your place. He wants to save you so that you can live forever in heaven with Him.

Biblical Reference: Matthew 26: 36-50

Palm Sunday Hymn: All Glory Laud and Honor

All Glory, Laud and Honor sheet music and audio HERE 

On Palm Sunday morning, an interesting bit of pageantry takes place in some liturgical churches. As the opening processional moves around the sanctuary, it will pause in one corner, and a soloist or a small group of the choir will sing the ancient Latin canticle Gloria, laus et honor or its English equivalent "All Glory, Laud and Honor." When the song is completed, the processional moves on and the service continues. This tradition may be based only upon a legend, but it has been perpetuated for more than a thousand years.
It is said that in the year 821 King Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, was participating in the Palm Sunday procession through the streets of Angers in the region of Orleans. As the parade stopped near a prison tower, suddenly a melodious voice was heard singing "Gloria, laus et honor." The emperor learned that the vocalist was Theodulph of Orleans, a great pastor, bishop and poet whom he had jailed on suspicion of treachery against the crown. Whereupon, so the story goes, "the gentle and merciful monarch was moved with compassion, and from that hour he delivered and pardoned him, and sent him back to his church, quit and absolved of the crime whereof he had been accused."
There are puzzling aspects to the story of Jesus' "triumphal" entry into Jerusalem, the event we remember on this Sunday of the church year. Four hundred fifty years earlier the prophet Zechariah had written: "Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Zion; shout, 0 daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass" (Zech. 9:9). Yet it is quite probable that those who waved the palms never knew that they were fulfilling prophecy.
Jesus was offering Himself to the Jews as their promised Messiah and King. But they desired and expected a mighty deliverer who would rescue them from the legions of Rome and restore to them the glory of their ancient kingdom. Many of them were attracted by the miracles which Jesus had performed, and therefore were willing to join the shouting crowds that day. But when they were asked about His identity they said only, "This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth, of Galilee." No Messiah, no king, no promised deliverer; just Jesus, a prophet of Nazareth.

Of course, our Lord's disciples — at least some of them — had recognized Him. Several weeks earlier, Simon Peter had said to Him, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). It may be that it was the disciples (see Luke 19:37-38) who started the chant that day, "Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest" (Matt. 21:9). Many of the multitude joined in the cry, possibly without fully realizing what they were saying. Doubtless, some of the same people were part of another crowd which, only a few days later, shouted: "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
There will be many in our churches today, repeating these verses of praise, whose singing will be as meaningless as it was many years ago. If we are to praise Christ properly, He must be King in our hearts and Lord of our lives — sovereign over body, mind and spirit. Because the ancient Hebrews were not prepared to accept Him as "spiritual King," Jesus knew that it was not time to be their temporal ruler. But the day will come when He will return as a glorious Monarch. Revelation 19:11,16 pictures Him as seated on a white horse; and "he . .. was called Faithful and True... And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
Christ desires our praise and our adoration; He deserves it, and He knows that it is through worship that our lives are purified and made complete. When the Pharisees asked Jesus to restrain His disciples in their jubilant praise, He said, "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Yes, Jesus must be praised; nature will do it if man will not!
Today, let us join with the children of that first Palm Sunday, with all those who truly accepted Him as Lord, with the angels on high, and with the saints of all ages, singing "All glory, laud and honor to Thee, Redeemer, King."  -  Hymn story by Tedd Smith

The Stort Behind the Hymn HOW GREAT THOU ART

In 1885, a Swedish preacher, by the name of Carl Boberg, at age 26, wrote the words only of a poem entitled, “O Store Gud”. Boberg’s poem was published in 1886. The title, “O Store Gud”, translated into English is “O Great God”. A fairly literal translation from Swedish into English, of the first verse and refrain of “O Store Gud”, is as follows:


When I the world consider

Which Thou has made by Thine almighty Word

And how the webb of life Thy wisdom guideth

And all creation feedeth at Thy board.


Then doth my soul burst forth in song of praise

Oh, great God

Oh, great God.

The translation from Swedish to English is obviously different from the words we are familiar with today, as found in Stuart K. Hine’s words of HOW GREAT THOU ART. Carl Boberg wrote this poem with no thought of it becoming a hymn. He did not write any music to the text. After publication, the poem was apparently forgotten, but several years later, Boberg attended a meeting and was surprised to hear his poem being sung to the tune of an old Swedish melody. This original melody was different from the arranged melody made by Stuart K. Hine and copyrighted in 1949 and 1953.

In the early 1920’s, English missionaries, Mr. Stuart K. Hine and his wife, ministered in Poland. It was there they learned the Russian version of Boberg’s poem, “O Store Gud”, coupled with the original Swedish melody. Later, under inspiration, Stuart K. Hine wrote original English words, and made his own arrangement of the Swedish melody, which became popular and is now known as the hymn, HOW GREAT THOU ART.

The first three verses were inspired, line upon line, amidst unforgettable experiences in the Carpathian Mountains. In a village to which he had climbed, Mr. Hine stood in the street singing a Gospel hymn and reading aloud “John, Chapter Three”. Among the sympathetic listeners was a local village schoolmaster. A storm was gathering, and when it was evident that no further travel could be made that night, the friendly schoolmaster offered his hospitality. Awe-inspiring was the mighty thunder echoing through the mountains, and it was this impression that was to bring about the birth of the first verse.

Read Full Story HERE

The Miracle of a Brother's Song

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his s sister in Mommy's tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the the Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee. In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor. Would a C-section be required?

Finally, after a long struggle, Michael's little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst. Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for t heir new baby they found themselves having to plan for a funeral. Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him se his sister. I want to sing to her, he kept saying. Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn't see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket. The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, " Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed." The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. He is not leaving until he sings to his sister" she stated. Then Karen towed Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began tossing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray." Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady. "Keep on singing, Michael," encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes. "You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don't take my sunshine away. "As Michael sang to his sister, the baby's ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten's purr. "Keep on singing, sweetheart."

"The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms". Michael's little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her. "Keep singing, Michael." Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't take my sunshine away..."

The next, day...the very next day...the little girl was well enough to go home. Woman's Day Magazine called it The Miracle of a Brother's Song. The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God's love.

NEVER GIVE UP ON THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE. LOVE IS SO INCREDIBLY POWERFUL. Please send this to all the people that have touched your life in some way. Life is good. Have Wonderful Day!

Karin Simmons Knapp, the grandmother of the baby girl has told that the story is true.
She said that the story circulating on the Internet appears to have been taken from a book of sermons published by the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church in East Tennessee.
St. Mary's Hospital in Knoxville told that children are prohibited from visiting the hospital, not because of resistant staff, but hospital policy. Even so, the source told us that a child would not be prohibited from visiting the bedside of a dying sibling.

The baby was named Marlee and as of August, 2008, she is a 16-year old high school student who describes herself as "just like any other teenage girl." She told that she sings in her church choir as well as school choir and is a student athletic trainer for her high school's athletic department.

Marlee says that her gift is singing and that she's glad that what happened when she was born didn't keep her from that dream.