Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Play Scheme

The Christmas season has always been my favorite time of year.  With the sparkling lights, brightly decorated homes and stores, jingling music, and beautifully decorated cookies, each day is filled with excitement and anticipation.  But in the midst of all the excitement, I want my children to know who it is that we celebrate each Christmas and why we celebrate Him. Even more than the anticipation that builds up in their little bodies as they wait to open their Christmas presents, I want them to long with anticipation for the day when they see Jesus, their Savior, because they have learned about and rejoiced in God's love for them from the beginning of time, His promise to send a Savior, and His promise kept when He sent Jesus to be born a stable that glorious day.  Christmas is the day that God came to dwell with us, to keep His promise, and to give us eternal hope and joy.

I would like to take some time this Advent season to share some of our family traditions as we seek to keep Jesus at the center of this holy day even in the midst of the singing snowmen and twinkling lights that are so quick to catch my boys' attention.

When Zach was younger, one way that we would tell him the Christmas story was to re-enact it using the Fisher Price nativity set.  This year we discovered how we can do this with Wesley as well.  In school this fall, his teachers discovered that he does a good job of learning new play schemes when presented with visuals to guide his play.  We decided to implement this same strategy to help him act out the Christmas story using the nativity.

Each night, after reading the Christmas story to the boys, we pull out our visuals and walk Wesley through the play scheme.  As soon as he sees the visuals, he gets excited to act out each step.  He quickly starts searching for the angel and Mary so that he can begin to play. Right now, he needs significant assistance to act out the story, as this play scheme is much more complex than the play schemes he normally learns.  But it is my hope that not only will he be able to independently play through the entire play scheme by Christmas day, but he will also begin to understand the Christmas story as we talk about it each night.  Perhaps Jesus Himself will open Wesley's eyes to a childlike understanding of who He is and how much He loves Wesley.

Will you join me in praying to that end?