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The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Children’s Theological Primer

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The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Children’s Theological Primer
(Based on and adapted from the Baptist Faith and Message)

Intentionally Investing in the Lives of Our Children

The beginning point for children learning and grasping the truth of God is in the home. Children’s Ministry begins first with the parents. This document grew out of a personal need to intentionally teach our children the essentials of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is essential for Christian parents to invest in the lives of their children of all ages.

– Children will not accidentally “catch” correct teaching or understanding, but they will pick up the cultural teaching on a subject. Christmas has been an excellent example.  If we desire to have a Christ-centered celebration we battle a cultural assumption that already exists in powerful ways in our world.  Our children will “catch” these assumptions and take them as their own.  It has been refreshing to see our children grasp real Christian truth when we have emphasized teaching it to them.

– Intentionality is essential in teaching truth—we must set out as parents to systematically teach our children what the Bible teaches, who God is and the essentials of the Gospel. Much of what our children are learning in Sunday School or Bible Study Programs will be reinforced during these twelve days.

Christmas is an excellent time to invest in the lives of our children and reclaim the essential meaning of Christ being born.  This resource also found its roots in a desire to reclaim the Christmas season, both before and after December 25th, from the distraction of the cultural trappings of the holiday.  Our family loves the excitement of looking forward to Christmas, but we were also looking for something to help us continue the celebration after the “advent” of the Christ child.

Through this resource, our families will be given an overview of Christian teaching from a distinctly Biblical perspective. Traditionally, the Twelve Days of Christmas, or Christmastide, begins on December 24 and extends to January 5 (the Epiphany celebration is January 6th). These Twelve days could be used at any time during the Christmas season however. Some families will also give very small gifts to each Child on each of the 12 days as an ongoing illustration of God’s gift to us in the birth and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Children will very quickly begin to associate the giving of gifts with the Gift of God in Jesus! That is amazing to see.

I borrowed extensively from The Baptist Faith and Message in the “For Mom & Dad” sections. All italicized text is directly from that document and they are cited for your convenience. This document does not utilize the Baptist Faith and Message in its entirety. A desire for brevity and for the resource to be understood simply by children would not allow its utilization in its entirety. You can read the full text here: http://www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp

Many Christian traditions have used catechisms to teach essential doctrine to children.  Do not be afraid of this word. A catechism is simply “a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians”. This guide doesn’t use the question/answer format that some traditions use, but it does offer a systematic approach to teaching basic Christian doctrine. If you would like a more in-depth “catechism” from an evangelical, Baptist perspective, you can find them online. This one looks like a great resource for teaching children systematically through essential Christian doctrine:  http://www.baptiststart.com/sunday_school/catechism.html

State Missionary Jerrod Brown serves Alabama Baptists as a Baptist Campus Minister at the University of South Alabama. He may be contacted at jbrown@alsbom.org

Editor’s note:
Beginning December 13 through December 24 we will post a daily guide that you can use with your family to help reclaim the Christmas season.

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