The holidays can bring lazy days of a break from school and involvement in extracurricular activities – including church and Kingdom work.
Christmastime can get clouded with distractions and stress; which takes away from the true meaning of the season. It can be difficult to keep Jr. highers in particular connected to the reason behind gift-giving, the story of Mary and Joseph and the eternal life only possible through Jesus. Taylor Brown, Christ In Youth’s MIX program director, shares some ideas on how to help middles school students avoid falling into a spiritual lull this holiday season.
“I would say keep it intentional but keep it simple,” Brown said. “Look for opportunities for small conversations you can have through the holidays. Sometimes we try too hard to do too much.”
So instead of vowing to go through the whole Advent ceremony or feed all the homeless, take a relaxing breath, and enjoy some peace. Just be sure to set some goals on what you want to tell them or remind them about what they know of the Christmas story from the Bible.
“Maybe there’s just some checkpoints through your day, while you have your student at home, when you can remind them of Kingdom work tied to the holidays,” Brown said. “They deserve some rest. Let them rest. Let them lay around, let them play with toys and games. Let them have space to just be. But I would encourage parents to have a checkpoint every day. Around the dinner table, make a point to bring up why you’re fortunate and how Jesus has blessed you and your family so richly and maybe name off some things.”
Another opportunity comes at the end of the day. When Christmas is over, Brown suggests this is a great chance to connect to your son or daughter.
“Sit on their edge of their bed and say, ‘Listen … I gave you a bunch of gifts today because I love you. You know, at any moment we could lose what we have. I just want to remind you that all these gifts are from love and the biggest thing is that Jesus loves us,’” Brown said. “Get them to think bigger than themselves and about others, and Jesus’ role in their lives … I say keep it intentional and simple.”
Taylor has a Bachelor of Arts in Youth Ministry and Preaching from Johnson University. Prior to joining CIY he was the youth minister at Christian Church Loudon County in Knoxville, Tennessee. He also previously served on the teaching team at Crossings in Knoxville.