Watching TBN a few minutes ago – Restoring The Shack – brought back a vivid memory of my visit to a Catholic mass. Today’s Shack program was an eye-opener. A Protestant was visiting with her Catholic friend and went to mass in a huge palatial Catholic Church. The priest delivered a message and then came time for the Holy Eucharist Communion. The ladies got up to get in line – but the Catholic lady had the Protestant lady go back to her seat with the words -“This is only for Catholics”. The lady went back to her seat alone feeling very conspicuous. The priest went immediately to the lady who was told to sit down & gave her communion with the words, Christ died for all not just Catholics…
When I was a child around 9-10, I visited St. Francis DeSales Church in my hometown with a friend. Upon entering those massive, ornate doors I was pulled aside by a very old bossy lady in teeny, tiny spectacles looking frantic. “Hurry hurry – put on this robe and get in line!” I had no time to respond before I was fully clad in a bright red, long skirt – and white over-garment. Given the old lady’s demeanor, I dared not refuse. I was very shy and quiet as a child. In the meantime, my friend had gone in and sat down waiting for me. Then came time for the grand processional into what can only be described as a Gothic Castle – I was near the back of the line and petrified trying to look for my friend. I finally spied the back of her curly head as she turned and saw me in the processional- Wide-eyed and red-faced is only a minuscule description of her reaction. I never visited church with her again.
*This isn’t exactly about a memory verse that I taught my girls, but is more about the lesson plan I came up with to teach them about communion. I didn’t have them memorize the scriptures used in the lesson, just used them to get the message across.
Even though my children are still young, I felt I needed to start now in teaching them about communion. At our church, we try to partake in communion at least once a month, sometimes more when our Pastor feels led for us to do so. On one occasion several months ago, as we were getting ready to have communion, my oldest daughter, Naomi, wanted to do communion with us. Naomi is 4 1/2, but she thinks she’s at least 12. 🙂 Her dad and I talked it over and we decided that we wanted to go ahead and teach her about communion. We wanted her to know what it means and why we do it, so that she could understand and have part in it.
I did a little bit of research, but for the most part, I created a lesson plan that I believed fit Naomi’s level of comprehension (preschool/kindergarten). Through the lesson, we taught her the importance of communion and that it is a very serious event. Although it’s a kid-friendly lesson, it still shows the significance of what communion is all about. If you’d like to check out my lesson plan, you can find it here.
Once we completed the lesson, we prayed together and held communion as a family. Now when it’s time for communion at church, Naomi is allowed to join us because she has an understanding of what is going on. Through the lesson, she realized it’s more than just grape juice and communion bread. It’s more serious than that.
How about you, Moms and Dads? Do you realize the seriousness of communion? Or has it become just grape juice and bread to you? Maybe we could use a refresher course on the importance of communion ourselves…It’s really all about how much love our Savior has for us. And that love is a LOT.
First, let me start by saying that I am no where near as festive as my sister, Karen. I’m pretty sure Christmas got the stomach virus and threw up all over her house. However, I do enjoy the Christmas season, especially family time. I’m slowly but surely learning to focus LESS on the stress of the holiday and MORE on the purpose of the season, which is to remember the birth of our perfect Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’m enjoying finding new ways to teach my girls the joy of Christ in Christmas. I have spent some time today organizing a list of things associated with Christmas to share with them, such as the story of the candy cane and why stars are used as tree toppers. I’m excited to show them the true meaning of the Christmas celebration. I don’t want them to grow up knowing nothing but the hype of Santa Claus, Rudolph and presents. Please take note, I am not putting you down if you and your family celebrate these things! I’m not saying it is wrong. I’m simply stating that there is so much more in the meaning and I want my girls to see that.
Last year, my daughters (now 4 and 2) and I sat and listened as my husband read us the Christmas story from Matthew 2 on Christmas morning. That was the start of a tradition that we will continue as they grow older. We also started the tradition of making a birthday cake for Jesus. We did this on Christmas Eve when we all gather at my sister’s to celebrate with my side of the family. We lit a candle on the cake and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus before we ate it.
A couple of years ago, my pastor/father-in-law suggested we take communion with our family on Christmas Eve that year. I enjoyed it, especially when my niece gagged as she tried to swallow her mom’s homemade unleavened bread, and her brother looked at the cup of grape juice and said in his most disgusted voice, “Is that real blood??”—all in the middle of communion. I couldn’t help but laugh, because I know God has a sense of humor.
The same year, my father-in-law surprised us. He had looked up the meaning to all of our names and read it to us, then prayed over each of us. It was really unique and special. We all shared a giggle as he announced the meaning of my husband’s name, “Markus- the Roman god of fertility.” I thought it was perfect. I would love to have a quiver full of arrows (Psalm 127:4-5). He found it ironic, since he’s fine with just our 2.
The final tradition isn’t anything special, but we always allow an early “gift” on Christmas Eve. That “gift” is a new pair of pajamas to be worn that night. The girls always look adorable, but they love to see what silly things Mom and Dad have to wear (this varies from Cookie Monster pj pants to Mr. Potato Head).
Whatever your do, however you choose to celebrate CHRISTmas, remember the true importance of it. JESUS. Don’t stress. Instead, breathe, relax, and enjoy the season. And don’t forget to share your family’s traditions with us!