I have heard this story many times and found it on Christ Centered Christmas today. Check out their site for lots of other great ideas!
Late one Christmas Eve I sank into my easy chair. Admiring the tree with it’s decorations, I couldn’t help but feel that something was missing… The kids were in bed the gifts were all wrapped: the milk and cookies were in their place for Santa. It wasn’t long before the tiny twinkling tree lights lulled me into a deep sleep.
I don’t know how long I slept, but all of a sudden I opened my eyes and there stood Santa Claus himself next to my Christmas Tree.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot just as the poem described him. But he was not the “jolly old elf” of Christmas legend. The man who stood before me looked sad and disappointed with tears in his eyes.
I had to ask, “Santa, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”
“It’s the children” Santa replied sadly.
“but the children love you.” I said.
“Oh I know they love me and the gifts I bring them,” Santa said. “But the children of today seem to have somehow missed out on the true spirit of Christmas. It’s not their fault. It just that the adults, many of them not having been taught themselves, have forgotten to teach the children.”
“Teach them what?” I asked.
Santa’s kind old face became soft and gentle. His eyes began to shine with something more than tears. He spoke softly. “Teach the children the true meaning of Christmas. Teach them that the parts of Christmas we can see, hear, and touch are much more than meets the eye. Teach them the symbolism behind the customs and traditions of Christmas we now observe. Teach them what it is that they truly represent.”
Santa reached into his bag and pulled out a tiny Christmas tree and set it on the fireplace mantle. “teach them about the Christmas tree. Green is the second color of Christmas. The stately evergreen with its unchanging color represents the hope of eternal life in Jesus. Its needles point heaven ward as a reminder that man’s thoughts should turn heaven ward as well.”
--sing “I lived in Heaven”
Santa reached into his bag again and pulled out a shiny star and placed it at the top of the small tree. “The star was the heavenly sign of promise. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was the sign of the fulfillment of that promise on the night that Jesus Christ was born. Teach the children that God always fulfills His promises and that the wise will still seek Him.”
--Sing, “Stars were Gleaming”
“Red,” said Santa “is the first color of Christmas.” He pulled forth a red ornament for the tiny tree. “Red is deep, intense, vivid. It is the color of the life giving blood that flows through our veins. It is the symbol of God’s greatest gift. Teach the children that Christ gave His life and shed his blood for them that they might have eternal life. When they see the color red it should remind them of that most wonderful gift.”
--Sing “Did Jesus really live again”
Santa found a bell in his pack and placed it on the tree. “Just as lost sheep are guided to safety by the sound of the bell, it continues to ring today for all to be guided to the fold. Teach the children to follow the true Shepherd who gave h is life for the sheep.”
--Sing “Christmas Bells”
Santa placed a candle on the mantle and lit it. The soft glow from its one tiny flame brightened the room. “The glow of the candle represents how man can show his thanks for the gift of God’s Son that Christmas Eve long ago. Teach the children to follow in Christ’s footsteps. . . to go about doing good. Teach them to let their lights shine before men that all may see it and glorify God. This is what is symbolized when the twinkling lights shine on the tree like hundreds of bright, shining candles, each of them representing one of God’s precious children, their light shining for all to see.
--Sing “I am trying to be like Jesus”
Again, Santa reached into his bag and this time he brought forth a tiny red and white striped candy cane. As he hung it on the tree, He spoke softly, “The candy cane is a stick of hard red and white candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus. The shape J to represent the precious name of Jesus who came to earth as our Savior. It also represents the crook of the Good Shepherd, which he uses to reach down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs that, like sheep, have gone astray. The original candy cane had three small red stripes which are the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed and a large red stripe that represents the shedding of blood of Jesus so that we can have eternal life. Teach these things to the children”
--Sing “The Shepherds Carol”
Santa brought out a beautiful wreath made of fresh fragrant greenery and tied with a bright red bow. “The bow reminds us that the bond of perfection which is love. The wreath embodies all the good things about Christmas for those with eyes to see and hearts to understand. It contains the colors red and green and the heaven turned needles of the evergreen. The bow tells the story of good will towards all and its color reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice. Even the wreath’s very shape is symbolic, representing eternity and the eternal nature of Christ’s love. It is a circle without beginning and without end. These are the things you must teach the children.”
--Sing “Families can be together forever”
“But where does that leave you Santa?” I asked. The tears gone now from his eyes, a smile broke over Santa’s face. “Why, bless you, my dear,” he laughed. “ I, too am only a symbol. I represent the spirit of family fun and the joy of giving and receiving. If the children are taught these other things, there is no danger that I’ll ever be forgotten.”
“I think I’m beginning to understand at last, “ I replied.
“That’s why I came” said Santa, “You’re an adult. If you don’t teach the children these things, then who will?”
1. Email Nancy if you would like to be a contributor.
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Monday, December 1, 2008
I have heard this story many times and found it on Christ Centered Christmas today. Check out their site for lots of other great ideas!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
General Authority Message: Robert D. Hales, “Special Witness: Baptism,” Friend,
At baptism we make a covenant with our Heavenly Father that we are willing to come into His kingdom and keep His commandments from that time forward, even though we still live in the world.
Entering into the kingdom of God is so important that Jesus was baptized to show us “the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which [we] should enter” (2 Ne. 31:9). “Notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments” (2 Ne. 31:7).
He set the example for all of us to humble ourselves before our Heavenly Father. We are all welcome to come into the waters of baptism. He was baptized to witness to His Father that He would be obedient in keeping His commandments. He was baptized to show us that we should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (see 2 Ne. 31:4–9).
When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Taking upon us His name is one of the most significant experiences we have in life.
Each week in sacrament meeting we promise to remember the atoning sacrifice of our Savior as we renew our baptismal covenant. We promise to do as the Savior did—to be obedient to the Father and always keep His commandments. The blessing we receive in return is to always have His Spirit to be with us.
I feel great gratitude for my baptism and confirmation into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am grateful for the spiritual strength and guidance the gift of the Holy Ghost has given me throughout my life.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Scripture: D&C 71:1
Thought: Sydney S. Reynolds, “Sharing Time: Let Your Light Shine,” Friend, Oct 1999, 37
Have a large world map or a globe available. Have your children choose a place where they might someday serve a mission. Ask what they might need to learn about their mission locales? What preparations might they need to make to serve a mission anywhere? (learn another language, to cook, to work hard, to talk to people, to be kind, to sew a button and mend a rip, to wash clothes, to lead music, to conduct a meeting, to offer prayers, to tell the Joseph Smith story, to know what we believe [the Articles of Faith], to know the Book of Mormon, to bear testimony). Let each child choose a few things they think will be important and present one to the rest of the family by pantomime, reciting, singing a song, role-playing, etc. (Allow each person a couple of minutes). When the children have finished talk about things we all should be doing every day to be good examples and to share our testimonies and invite friends to Church meetings and activities. The July 2008 Friend has a great resource for this. Share your feelings about the missionary work we do by example and calling.
General Authority Message: President Hinckley
I am optimistic concerning the work of the Lord. I realize, of course, that we are beset in the world with many tragic problems. I have been in areas where war rages and hate smolders in the hearts of people. I have watched with alarm the crumbling morals of our society. And yet I am optimistic. I have a simple and solemn faith that right will triumph and that truth will prevail.
Yes, this work requires sacrifice, it requires effort, it requires courage to speak out and faith to try. As Paul wrote to Timothy: “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Tim. 1:7–8).
I wish that every member of this Church would put those words where he might see them every morning as he begins his day. They would give us the courage to speak up; they would give us the faith to try; they would strengthen our conviction of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that more miracles would happen over the earth. I know that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that this is Their holy work.
Song: “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission”, CS #169
Scripture: D&C 124:40
Thought: adapted from The Friend July 2004, 37.
To help children learn about the ordinances and blessings of the temple, cut a picture of a temple into four puzzle pieces. You can easily print off a temple picture picture from ww.LDS.org. Label each piece with the following scripture references and songs:
(1) Baptism for the dead—D&C 127:6–7, “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized”
(2) Confirmation—D&C 20:41, “I Like My Birthdays” (p. 104, third verse),
(3) Endowment—D&C 105:12, “I Love to See the Temple” (p. 95),
(4) Marriage and Sealing—D&C 132:46, “Families Can Be Together Forever” (p. 188).
Using two people, have one stand outside the room while another hides the first puzzle piece. Have the first person come back in and look for the puzzle piece as the family gives clues by singing the suggested song more loudly as the person gets closer to the puzzle piece and more softly as he or she moves farther away. Stick the puzzle piece on the wall. Read the scripture references and discuss the ordinance. For younger children you may want a picture to illustrate the ordinance. Choose more family members to repeat the process.
General Authority Message: Special Witness: Elder Russell M. Nelson Friend, April 2008, 22.
I’m not old enough to go to the temple. What can I learn about it?
A temple is literally the house of the Lord, reserved for ordinances of eternal significance. Those ordinances include baptisms, marriages, endowments, and sealings. The temple is closed on the Sabbath so that people can attend church and be with their families on that hallowed day. We must qualify for admission to the temple. We prepare physically, intellectually, and spiritually. In the temple, all are dressed in spotless white. Obedience to the sacred covenants made in temples qualifies us for eternal life—the greatest gift of God to man.
President Henry B. Eyring, Special Witness of Christ Video segment “I Love to See the Temple”
Song: “I Love to See the Temple”, CS #95
Scripture: 3 Nephi 22:13
Thought: adapted from Margaret Lifferth, “Sharing Time: My Family Can Be Forever,” Friend, Apr 2005, 13.
We can strengthen our family in the gospel in our homes. The family will move from room to room for brief activities. Help the child or children to lead or teach at a station as much as possible.
In the living room
General Authority Message: Special Witness: Pres. Ezra Taft Benson Friend, May 2001, inside front cover
The family unit is forever, and you should do everything in your power to strengthen that unit. In your own family, encourage family home evenings and be an active participant. Encourage family prayer and be on your knees with your family in that sacred circle. Do your part to develop real family unity and solidarity. …
Your most important friendships should be with your own brothers and sisters and with your father and mother. Love your family. Be loyal to them. Have a genuine concern for your brothers and sisters.
Remember, the family is one of God’s greatest fortresses against the evils of our day. Help keep your family strong and close and worthy of our Father in Heaven’s blessings. As you do, you will receive faith and strength which will bless your lives forever.
Next, … participate in a program of daily reading and pondering of the scriptures. …
Of the four great standard works of the Church … I would particularly urge you to read again and again the Book of Mormon and ponder and apply its teachings. The Book of Mormon was referred to by the Prophet Joseph Smith as “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion” (History of the Church, vol. 4, page 461).
Young [people], the Book of Mormon will change your life. It will fortify you against the evils of our day. It will bring a spirituality into your life that no other book will. It will be the most important book you will read in preparation for a mission and for life.
Song: “Seek the Lord Early”, CS #108
Posted by Annette at 10:07 PM
Thursday, April 24, 2008
My son Ethan has the Worlds BEST Sunbeams Teacher! I'm not kidding.
On her blog I found a really cool website that offers all sorts of ideas for Activity days, Relief Society, Primary, nursery....and others.
Check it out.
Posted by Kendra at 7:08 PM
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Scripture: Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith. (D&C 21:4-5)
Thought: What is a prophet? A prophet is a man called by God to be his representative on earth. When a prophet speaks for God, it is as if God were speaking. A prophet is also a special witness for Christ, testifying of His divinity and teaching His gospel. A prophet teaches truth and interprets the word of God. He calls the unrighteous to repentance. He receives revelations and directions from the Lord for our benefit. He may see into the future and foretell coming events so that the world may be warned.
Through the Ages the Lord has called prophets to lead mankind: Who am I?
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,
Throughout history, a loving Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the head of the Church, have blessed us with prophets who counsel and warn about future dangers. In Doctrine and Covenants, section 21, speaking specifically of the prophet, the Lord declares:
“Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
“For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.”
Song: “We Thank Thee O God, For a Prophet” (Hymns #19)