How To Teach Children The Christmas Story
That first Christmas many years ago was very special! Our Savior was born! Teaching children how special it is helps to build the foundation they need in order to understand who Jesus is, where He came from, what He did for us, and that we await His return.
Regardless of how old your child is, as parents you have a very special task of teaching your child about Jesus. As we grow as God's children, we pass that knowledge onto our own children.
Infants and One & Two Year Olds
To this age group, everything is exciting! Say the name of Jesus often. Tell them in simplistic terms that Jesus was born and is a baby just like them! Tell them Jesus had a mommy named Mary and a daddy named Joseph. Jesus was born in a stable because they couldn't find a place to stay for the night, but they loved their new baby boy very much! As much as mommy and daddy love you!
Give your child a children's Bible to see pictures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. You could even dress them up as a wise man to come bring presents to Jesus.
Three and Four Year Olds
Preschoolers can understand much more about Jesus' birth than the younger ones. They understand the concept that an angel told Mary she would conceive a child and name him Jesus. They can understand that Joseph was meant to marry Mary and accepted Jesus as his son too. They love to look at colorful pictures of the holy family and to tell you all their knowledge about them. The more they know, the better they feel about themselves.
Three and four year olds will love the idea of animals near Jesus. You could take them to a petting zoo where they can touch the same animals that were with Mary and Joseph, so they can experience it first-hand.
Teach them a verse or two from the Bible that will help to reinforce the story of Jesus' birth, such as "Jesus was born in Bethlehem" (Matt 2:1).
Kindergartners ask tons of questions. Your job as their parent is to answer them in a way they understand. They know they are a child, and that Jesus was a child too. They may know Jesus was born in a manger, which they can relate to a bail of hay or a makshift manger. Tell them the hay will keep Jesus warm because babies are very cold when they are first born. Mary and Joseph took excellent care of Him too, just like their mommy and daddy take excellent care of them!
Kindergartners are beginning to form foundations about God and Jesus. They can begin to understand that Jesus is God's Son and God sent Him here to show us love from the Father. They also can rationalize the idea of prophets - that these prophets from the Old Testament foretold about Jesus' coming and how happy the people were when He finally did come! They can't fully grasp the idea that Jesus came to save us, give us salvation and died for us.
Usually most Kindergarten teachers allow the students to present a Christmas play or sing Christmas songs for their parents. This celebration welcoming the baby Jesus each year helps them understand how special Jesus is to us.