The Jesus Stocking

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It’s finally the Christmas season and there are so many wonderful ways to share the Good News of our Savior’s birth with children. Recently, I combined some of my favorite illustrations on the precious gift of Jesus—he’s actually so many gifts wrapped in one—into The Jesus Stocking. Try The Jesus Stocking with your young children or let your kids help fill a few to share with others throughout the season. I hope it helps you unpack all that the gift of Jesus means for those you love. Here’s how you get started. Purchase or decorate a stocking. Write The Jesus Stocking on it or on an attached tag. Below are some items you can place inside and a message with each to help you explain what it represents. You can also write or print out the Scripture and message on a label or tag for each. Heart-shaped cookie or heart-shaped Dove chocolate. Jesus came to show you God’s love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16 ESV See this awesome heart. Did you know that Christmas is all about love? Yep! It’s about God’s love for you. He sent someone he loved, Jesus, to be separated from him for a while to help you. And Jesus agreed to come . . . to be away from his father. Can you imagine how hard that would be to be away from your parents even for a little while? I bet they would be so sad to be away from you for a while, too. Well, that’s what God and his Son Jesus did out of love for you. Mini-flashlight. Jesus came to give light to this dark world. “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” –John 8:12 ESV Have you ever been in a room when the lights went out accidentally? Or maybe you woke up in the middle of the night when it was completely dark. Pretty scary, huh? The best thing you can have in the dark is this . . . a flashlight! When I have a light like this that I can turn on in the dark, I feel so much better. I can see everything more … Read More

The Christmas miracle

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  “Christmas is pish-posh!” Thus says the grumpy leading character in “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.” Gathering round Susan Wojciechowski’s touching Christmas classic is one of my favorite family traditions. The heart-touching tale reveals a Christmas miracle! You see, Jonathan Toomey carries a heartbreak that colors everything in his life. After the death of his wife and child, he no longer sees joy or hope. The village children call him “Mr. Gloomy.” Always complaining, he never smiles or laughs but hides in his corner of the world sorrowfully working his woodcarvings. However, one Christmas season a knock on his door changes everything. A local widow and her son Thomas ask him to carve a replacement for their lost wooden nativity scene. Young Thomas becomes a regular visitor as he watches the woodcarver shape and form each figure . . . BUT he offers very definite opinions on how the carvings should look. His suggestions are most often met with a growling “Pish-posh!” Undeterred by Jonathan Toomey’s gruff demeanor and grumblings, Thomas shares his view of the holy scene—with happy sheep, a proud cow, important angel, well-dressed wise men, protective Joseph, smiling Jesus, and loving Mary. As the story unfolds, Jonathan Toomey begins to see Christmas through Thomas’ eyes. The simplistic wonder he sees through Thomas’ innocence and faith eventually helps warm and heal his own heart! On Christmas day, “the village children saw Jonathan throw back his head . . . and laugh. No one ever called him Mr. Gloomy again.” This story always reminds me that God placed magic in a child’s eyes. And it is never more evident than at Christmas. I know you agree that when you see a child squeal at Christmas lights, belt out Christmas carols (in tune or not) or stare wide-eyed at a manger scene, your heart literally feels warmer. I’ve never seen an adult look at a baby and not smile. Children touch us deeply. What a gift for adults who are burdened by life’s challenges and worries to return for a moment to wonder and hope! Perhaps that is why God’s story of grace begins with a child—a treasure born of love. That precious baby boy was God’s greatest gift to you and me in a form he knew we could understand and relate to . . . WOW. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only … Read More

Christmas Coloring Sheets: Mary Had a Secret

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If you have littles in need of an activity this Christmas season, try these coloring sheets featuring a Christmas poem I wrote and the illustrations of my dear friend and artist Dinah Jameson. Merry Christmas! COLORING BOOK Cover COLORING BOOK Mary Page 1 COLORING BOOK Joseph Page 2 COLORING BOOK Innkeeper Page 3 COLORING BOOK Shepherds Page 4 COLORING BOOK Wisemen Page 5 COLORING BOOK Manger Page 6 COLORING BOOK Christmas tree Page 7