Children reflect the wonder of the season


In putting up Christmas and holiday bulletin boards, reading Christ-mas stories, singing Christmas songs, lights, decorations everywhere, the magic and love of this season is shining everywhere.
As a child growing up in Opelika, the beautiful lights and decorations of our railroad town always seemed to take my breath away as I remember squinting, running and being so excited about this special season. When I returned home five years ago as a Baby Boomer, our railroad town beautifully decorated with beautiful music playing downtown gave me hope and love as I reflected back on the many fun activities and memories of the season in our town where the citizens of our area spend time and love in making children remember this special season. We are so fortunate to have parades, Victorian Front Porch Christmas tours, holiday movie showings, Christmas band concerts, parks decorated in the Christmas spirit, neighborhoods coming together to spread Christmas cheer, churches, schools, libraries having special events, etc.
Doing simple acts of kindness for others are a great way to help children make Christmas memories. Children love to make and create gifts from their own little hands for others. Our preschools and schools are so good in including crafts and gift making in their seasonal lesson plans and schedules. Families can come together and decide what thoughtful gifts they would like to make and give to neighbors, friends and families.
As families begin to mail Christmas cards, include children. Let them look at pictures on the cards, draw pictures on cards, draw marks or sign their names on the cards and let them help you to put them in envelopes as well as help you to put on the stamps. Our local post offices are so friendly to children and families, so take your children with you when you go mail letters or packages.
As you begin decorating your home for the holiday season, include your child’s decorations to put throughout the house. These build memories for your child. Also remember to be safety conscious when including your children in doing decorations.
We are surrounded by so many lights during the Christmas season. The Bible records in Psalm 76:4, “You are resplendent with light more majestic than mountains rich with game.” Also, John 8:12 reads, “Then Jesus spoke again to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’”
Children love to sing and clap at an early age. With toddlers this past week, we love to sing Jingle bells over and over. Too, “Silver Bells” is a favorite as it announces Christmas time in the city. Bells are rung during Christmas to proclaim the arrival of the season and to announce the birth of Jesus. At Christmas why do we have the colors red and green? The color red is used at Christmas to represent the blood of Jesus when He died on the cross. The color green signifies everlasting light and life.
Our traditional Christmas cane started out as a pacifier for children. It was a stick of white candy that babies and toddlers could lick and suck on when they started to cry or got fussy. A nameless German choirmaster came up with teaching lessons of bending the candy into the shape of a staff that a shepherd would carry in guiding his sheep. This reflects that Jesus is the good shepherd. The red stripes on the candy cane represent the blood Jesus shed in love for us as He died for us on the cross. The white part of the candy cane represents his purity.
Beautiful round shape Christmas wreaths that we see everywhere demonstrate that the eternal love of God never ends.
Gifts tied with bows remind us of the gifts that the wise men brought to Jesus. The ribbon that is tied around gifts symbolizes that all people should be tied in bonds of love and unity during the holiday season.
Christmas trees are usually the very center of a home and community’s celebrations. Children love to hear about the origin of the lights on the Christmas tree, which is attributed to Martin Luther, the leader of the Reformation in the 1500s. It is said that on Christmas Eve, Luther was walking through the wooded forest near his home. He was awestruck by the snow-covered branches of the tree shining brightly in the moonlight. He wanted to recreate this beautiful scene for his family who were waiting for him at home. He cut down the tree, set it up in his home and decorated it with candles. We can all imagine just how beautiful this was.
Poinsettias are seen everywhere during Christmas. The poinsettia is a native plant of Mexico and is called “Star Flower.” The star-shaped leaves remind us of the star of Bethlehem and Christ who is called the “bright morning star.” Lighted stars and candles reflect the Bethlehem star which guided the wise men to the baby Jesus.
I hope these few beginning suggestions for families and children begin to make your Christmas merry and bright!

Beth Pinyerd has taught in the Early Childhood Classroom for many years. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education.