Lessons For Christmas Worship – Ag in the Bible
Teaching the story of Christmas is an important part of the holiday season. Many of us learn with what we experience – when we find it applies to our life it “makes sense.” His word in the Bible may sometimes seem inconsistent because of our understanding (or the lack of!).
The lesson of giving. A variety of people came to greet Jesus in the manger. They were important people, influential perhaps in their day. There was also those who believed who didn’t have much to give. Some couldn’t afford to bring gifts such as memorialized in the “Little Drummer Boy”. These early beginnings were also the beginning of many lessons of giving. This is not just giving in large amounts, although some can do that, but also recognizing those who give less but in proportion to what they could afford gave more.
Giving does not have to be major gifts or large amounts of money. Sometimes it seems we are immune to “millions of dollars” today. We hear trillions and billions passed around so much as if it’s the increase in a pizza rather than massive amounts of government money. When we hear some charity raised $30 million it’s easy to forget they may be reaching 40 million people with it – that money doesn’t go a long ways.
However there is giving that doesn’t have to be large things. Small things done with great love was put forth by Mother Theresa and is followed today by many. One church that takes giving things away to a new level is the Cincinnati Vineyard and it is a model we could well bring to our communities on a personal level as well as a church level. The gift doesn’t have to be major. Wash someone’s windshield or car – for nothing. Don’t do it as a fundraiser – just do it! If you take money for it then it isn’t a GIFT.
The principles are highlighted in several books from Steve Sjogren but a good place to start is the book “Conspiracy of Kindness.” During the Christmas season giving is a focus but the need goes all year.
The lesson of compassion. This is often used when referencing a dog or cat as a means to solicit donation. Those who are “compassionate” donate to such things. Compassion goes much further than this. It doesn’t mean giving a handout to every person, deserving or not. It is, by definition, “Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.” (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition, via yahoo).
This makes many people compassionate. Most of us are aware of the suffering of another when we pass them – we see the homeless or at least the stereotypical ones. It is often those who go one further and do something to relieve the distress that are seen as “more compassionate”.
This can be a wide variety of things – a 2 for 1 meal that you offer the second to someone who hasn’t had a hot meal in days, or a referral to a shelter for a warm place to sleep tonight or donating to organizations that help wounded veterans or abused children.
Some thoughts on compassion can be found in Jonah 4.
The lesson of farming. There are many lessons within the farming realm. We can, if we handle sheep, get an entirely new perspective of His referencing us, the public, as sheep! We learn truly the seasons and the trials and dependence on Him. We see that as farmers it is not just feeding the public but also feeding the songbirds and mice and hawks and a host of other wild things as host of the land that supports them.
This makes it possible to learn lessons hands on and with His canvas. A basic lesson designed for vacation Bible school is “On the Farm.” Another is a Vacation Bible Farm which although these are for children could easily be scaled up to adults.
The Bible is relevant today. His teachings are current and apply today as well as the past. Christmas lesson plans can be adapted on these three points for all ages.