After our second child was born, a colleague at the local public school where my husband worked sent us a package in the mail. Inside it was gift-wrapped copy of The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor. He knew we were Christians. What he didn’t know was that, with our mountain of student debt and my decision not to return to paid work after the baby was born, we would never have been able to afford such a beautiful Bible storybook ourselves. We still have it.
In 2020, just a few months into the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Tori Smit, a ministry colleague from the Presbyterian Church in Canada, said to me, “One of the best things that the church could do for families with children right now is to make sure that every one of them has a wonderful storybook Bible to use at home.” I agreed. And I believe that's true today.
I know that in many of your congregations, for a variety of reasons, there are families with children who have not returned to worshipping in person regularly (if at all) since things went back to "normal." As leaders who love them and who work hard to create a welcoming space for them, it's hard not to take it personally. However, what if we continued to love them like we did in COVID time and took the opportunity this Christmas to connect in a personal, loving way while providing parents and caregivers with a way they can continue to nurture the faith of their family at home? Below you’ll find some ideas to get you started.
Print and tuck inside a Christmas card one of the following fabulous resources:
- 5 Ways to Help Your Family Grow in Faith
- 5 Ways to Retell a Bible Story with Kids
- 5 Ways to Wonder with Kids (for other titles in this series, check out this Dwell at Home page.)
Provide each family with a Faith5 bookmark. At $13.00 (U.S.) per 100, these are an incredible deal. Bonus: You could send this gift to every household, not just those with children.
Encourage and equip every family to spend time in God’s story in 2023 by giving them the wildly popular Everyday Family Faith or God’s Big Story cards devotional resources. At a bulk price of $10 or less each (U.S.), the biggest challenge will be deciding which one to give! Tip: Everyday Family Faith’s pocket size makes it perfect for mailing; God’s Big Story cards are a great follow-up if your families used the God’s Big Advent Story: Jesse Tree or if your church uses the Dwell or Dwell Flex curriculum. (Shout out to River Terrace CRC in East Lansing for making this fabulous video to introduce the cards to families.)
Worth the Splurge
Does every family with children in your church have access to a quality children’s storybook Bible? If that’s something you’re able to provide, here's one that I'm loving this year:
- Growing in God’s Love, A Story Bible. It’s worth the splurge if you have room in your budget.
Another recommendation in this category is Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home by PCUSA pastor Traci Smith. I love Traci's encouraging tone and her simple ideas for turning everyday events into sacred moments at home. Order from Chalice Press to get a bulk rate on this one.
And one more outstanding value for the littlest among us
There’s a reason that the God Loves Me books have been beloved by churches for more than 20 years. They’re amazing! And, fun fact, you can purchase them individually as well as in a set. Whether you choose a Christmas-themed title (Jesus Is Born, An Amazing Star, or Good News!) or select an Old Testament or New Testament story, the price is the same, less than $5.00 per copy (in both the U.S. and Canada)!
Remember the way it felt to receive a porch drop off during the pandemic? The way that that simple gesture said, "You are remembered. You are beloved." Who might your church bless with a "You are remembered, you are beloved" this Christmas?