By Julie Heath
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52 ESV).
The rush of December has ended; the gifts have all been opened. The New Year has rolled around and for children who have been filled with energy for the gifts and celebrations of Christmas, January can sometimes feel like a letdown. Holiday break is over and the return to school and regular scheduling brings a bit of the blahs. For children this year, it may be an even more trying shift because there is no “regular” schedule anymore. As we minister to children, we can now remind them of the different focus we can have as we start a new year.
What You’ll Need
- Candy canes, one per child
- A Bible or Bible app
- A joyful heart
What You’ll Say:
(Holding a candy cane up for all to see) What is this? I know you are wondering why I have this. Christmas is over. We just put away the Christmas decorations. Why would I still have a candy cane? Well, I want to tell you about this candy cane and what it can remind me of this January.
When you hold a candy cane upside down like this (do this), what letter does it make? (pause for responses) It makes a letter J! When I see a candy cane in January, I let it remind me that J is for January, but most important of all, J is for Jesus! We get so busy with candy and gifts and decorations at Christmas that sometimes, in January, it’s good to be reminded that Jesus came at Christmas, but He is STILL HERE!
(Read Luke 2:52, printed above.)
This verse is such a short verse to cover so much of Jesus’ earthly life. In one sentence, the Bible covers most of the years when Jesus lived on earth and was your age. In January, we can remember the life that Jesus lived for us on earth and be reminded that he grew up from the Baby at Christmas so that he could know us and love us and give his life to be our Savior. We can have JOY (another J word!) knowing that now he is always with us (even if we cannot see him)!
But what does it mean that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature? Do you know the words wisdom and stature? Wisdom can mean lots of things but includes getting smarter in things that you know and can learn. Stature is a fancy word for how your body continues to grow. Jesus was God’s Son, but he also lived on earth, grew up with boys and girls his age, talked with friends, got taller and, eventually, became an adult. As we start this New Year, you have the chance to grow in knowledge—at school and in Bible knowledge. You will grow physically this year, too. Think about ways you may grow this year? What do you hope to learn this year? How tall do you think you’ll be by Christmas at the end of this year?
January is a great time to have hope for the year, to look forward to the things that Jesus will bring into your life. It’s also a great time to remember all the joy, promise, and hope of Christmas. It’s a wonderful time to reflect that Christmas wasn’t the end of the story! Jesus came as a baby, but he grew to be a man and our Savior! He’s here for everyone! As you enjoy this treat (distribute candy canes) and look forward to all the growth in this year, let the candy cane—and the letter J—remind you that Jesus did not come just at Christmas – he came for us at Christmas and is STILL here with us.
Editor’s note: January is a great time to have hope for the year, to look forward to the things that Jesus will bring into your life. It’s also a great time to remember all the joy, promise, and hope of Christmas. It’s a wonderful time to reflect that Christmas wasn’t the end of the story! Jesus came as a baby, but he grew to be a man and our Savior! He’s here for everyone!