Category Archive Christmas

ByAngie

Review: “Finding Hope” Children’s Christmas Production

It’s that time of year already! Can you believe it? Time to start making preparations for Christmas. Where did 2020 go? Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t discuss that. HA! But let’s do talk about Christmas.

If you have ever been a Children’s Ministry leader or directed a Christmas Program, you know that if you haven’t started making plans by the end of August, you may have a more difficult time keeping things organized.

A few weeks ago, Trisha Peach of Kidmin Ninja offered for me to review her upcoming release, “Finding Hope”. I was intrigued off the bat and couldn’t wait to dig in and read the script. Trisha Peach has been a Children’s Pastor for many years and has written books that I highly recommend for every Children’s Minister. (Her books contain tips that I have even used in other areas of ministry! Look for more information on her website, www.kidmin.ninja)

Finding Hope is about a little fish named Finn that runs away from home, combining the landscape of Finding Nemo with the parable of The Prodigal Son. The story covers sin, shame, grace, reconciliation, and more in a play script that is not complicated, Biblical, entertains, includes humor, and most of all: shares the Gospel message.

Intended to be an outreach, it has the potential to be just that if you set out with that as your prayer from the start. The author has provided many tools to help ease the workload from beginning to end, leaving little to be desired with checklists, forms, practice schedules, advertising suggestions, music lists, costume and prop suggestions, and more. There is even a follow-up letter template to use to reach out to those that attended the program. I also have to add, this former Media Team leader is especially impressed with the Sound/Tech/Lighting template that marks everything down to the minute.

Worried about possibly being in a Covid-19 lockdown this Christmas? That’s okay, she even has tips for how to still hold your Christmas Program online and how to host a distance production online. Trisha Peach has thought of everything! This production can also accommodate a small or large church with a few minor adjustments, whether in person or online.

If you are looking for a Christmas production for your Children’s Ministry that shares the Gospel, is anointed, fun, super cute, entertaining, and will help keep you organized, I highly recommend that you purchase Finding Hope as soon as it is made available.

ByAngie

5 Christmas Gifts For Boys That Will Connect Them To Jesus

When it comes to shopping for Christmas gifts for little boys, there usually isn’t a lot of guesswork involved. Most boys have no problem with being straightforward with what they want. Action figures, video games, legos… they know exactly what they want and will give you a detailed description and where to find it upon being asked what they want for Christmas. Yes, we must enjoy this time while it lasts because before we know it they are teenagers and NOT as easy to shop for…

But what about when it comes to a gift that will connect them to Jesus? A gift that will deepen their relationship with their Savior and the Father? Well, there it gets tricky… But I’m here to help! As a mom of 5, 3 of them boys, these are a few gifts that I have given my sons over the years that they actually enjoyed and didn’t get tossed aside.

(I admit that I am piggybacking on Emily’s posts, 5 Christmas Gifts For Girls That Will Connect Them To Jesus Part 1 and Part 2… Feel free to check them out by clicking on the links in the sentence above or on the photos below:)

5 Christmas Gifts For Girls That Will Connect Them To Jesus - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

 

5 Christmas Gifts For Boys That Will Connect Them To Jesus

1: Uplifting Music

Music weaves its way into everything in our home naturally. Rather than having my little guys listen to just anything, I try to make sure that 99% of what they listen to lifts up the King of Kings and draws them closer to Him. Sure, we still listen to fun silly songs and what not, but most of the time I try to turn on Christian music that the kids will enjoy and help them grow spiritually. Some favorite singers/bands amongst the boys in our home are The Newsboys, Family Force 5, TobyMac, Hillsong Young & Free, Hawk Nelson, Capital Kings… and quite a few others.

Our family actually has an Amazon Music subscription, making it quite a bit easier for us to access all the albums we love. If your family is constantly buying new albums, this may be a great option as a family gift for you!

Another gift idea that ties in here: Concert tickets! My 9-year-old still says 2 of the greatest events in his life were the 2 separate times he got to see The Newsboys in concert, with the time he got to meet them as his all-time favorite. This was actually a Birthday gift, but it was a gift, nonetheless. While it was a lot of fun for me, I did hang my head in embarrassment when his idea of complimenting Michael Tait was telling him that his arm muscles looked like “tiny bubbles”.

 

2: Bibles

To most kids, a standard Bible might seem a bit dull. Thankfully these days, there are many options when it comes to time for devotion and study. Even for kids! A few of the favorites in our home are The Adventure Bible, the Boys Bible (which includes Grossology… lol), and The Brick Bible.

 

3: Books

My kids LOVE to read! I know not all do, but maybe the right book could change that. Books by Becky Fischer and Answers In Genesis have been big hits in our house lately. This Christmas, some gifts will be Indescribable by Louis Giglio, The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New by Marty Machowski, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Hinds’ Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard, The Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan, and quite a few others.

 

4: Movies

Look for a film that either has a biblical message or tell an actual Bible story. You know your child best, so pick a theme that would strike a chord with them. When my kids were younger they adored VeggieTales and Larry Boy. Now that they are a bit older, they watch the Dreamworks movies, Joseph King of Dreams and Prince of Egypt, almost repeatedly. Not surprising given the love of Newsboys in our home, they also love to watch the God’s Not Dead series. War Room is another favorite!

 

5: Creativity and Play

Boys love to work with their hands, that’s no secret. Each child also has their own creative talent and/or interest. Find things that line up with those but can draw them closer to God. Have a child interested in playing an instrument? Teach them about King David and purchase some Christian sheet music. Does your boy love imaginative play? Try an Armor of God playset and explain the purpose of each piece to him.  Almost all boys love Legos! Proverbial Homemaker has a few different Brick Challenge sets for sale (and a few free!) that are biblically themed. You can’t go wrong there!

 

Do you have any other ideas or gifts that you have given in the past that were a hit? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

ByAngie

Do Not Be Afraid – And A Group Look Linky

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:20-21

Can you even imagine what was going through Joseph’s mind and heart when he found out that Mary was expecting? What about when he realized that the baby she was carrying in her womb was the Son of God?

He had to be terrified, and that is confirmed by the angel coming to him to say “do not be afraid”.

Often, when God calls us to do something, we can become afraid as well. While what we are doing may never compare to marrying a woman who others believe to have done something she did not do and raising The Savior of the world from an infant into a man, it can still leave us feeling overwhelmed and scared. We forget what we know to be true: that God has it all under control. We stress over things like logistics, money, what others may think, and more.

But what we need to remember is what Joseph is proof of: If it is the will of God, and we stay on His course, everything will work out.

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The second that we let our flesh try to detour His plans, by negotiating our ideas in, that is the very moment that things start to go wrong. What if Joseph had said, “I will marry her, but we will not keep the child.” I doubt that any of our lives would be where they are today.

It is because Joseph did as he was instructed without fear that Jesus was able to thrive, grow, and eventually save the world. He trusted God and stuck to the plan. When God calls you, remember Joseph and do not be afraid.

 

 

 

 

A Look at The Book

Now, time for the link up!

 

Group Look Graphic

 

Our Host, Ren & The Ladies at A Look At The Book
Fellow Co-Host, Bethany at Graceful Country Diva
Fellow Co-Host, Mandy at Worshipful Living


ByAngie

Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack

Now, how does the old song go?

 

Christmas time is coming, the goose is getting fat!

Time to download your Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack!

You don’t have to have a penny, it’s free for you!

You don’t have to have a hay penny, God bless you!

 

Okay, I may have gotten the words wrong on that one, but I’m silly and couldn’t resist.

 

Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack

 

I want to be honest with you and tell you that this printable pack is far from my best work. I drew it up in a hurry and it shows. In a perfect world, I would have started this in early October when I originally thought of it, poured my blood, sweat, and tears into it, and had it finished weeks ago so you could download it earlier. Such was not the case. But since I make myself printable lists every year for my own record, I thought I would throw something together that was pretty and share it with you all.

 

Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack

 

This Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack has many blank lists, 2 month at a glance calendars for November & December, a budget list, and even includes 2 little sheets for planning New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day and more. Consisting of 25 pages, the Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack is decorated with vintage public domain images and is rather colorful. Just right to put you in the Thanksgiving and Christmas planning spirit!

 

Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack

 

If you notice any mistakes or would like me to add a page, just let me know! Hopefully next year I’ll have something more fun to give to you all. Not that this isn’t fun, but my aim is always to improve and never settle. 😉

 

This is just our humble little gift to you, from all of us here at Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven. God bless, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all!

 

You can download the Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack by clicking here. Please, do not share this link or your download with others, but send them to this post to download a pack of their own instead. Thank you!

 

 

ByAngie

A Grateful Heart

Last week I shared about my trip earlier this month to a children’s home. This post will continue that recap…

After visiting the school building, we all went to one of the houses where some of the children live. There was a festive, warm and welcoming spread of hot chocolate, spiced tea, and cookies. It was here that the children would all visit with us and receive their “big” gifts.

We were there for a little while before the kids were released from their classes. As they all slowly walked in the front door, they noticed the huge pile of gifts under and around the tree. The excitement could not be contained and was contagious! After everyone had a chance to get a hot drink and cookies, they all sat around the large living room and waited for their name to be called by the house parent that was handing out the gifts.

Many names were read, and the kids would walk up, get their present, get a crocheted ice skate full of candy, and then go back to where they were sitting and open their gift. Some kids received a few small gifts, some were given one large gift, but each child was so pleased with whatever it was they were given. The people who bought the gifts were given idea lists of what to purchase and there were toys galore! It was so much fun!

One girl, I would guess about the age of 11 or so, stood near the tree as she clapped and cheered for each child as they came up to get their presents. She had one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen! When the last name was read and she had not yet been given a gift, you could see the shock in her eyes. She still continued to smile though. The house parent who had been reading the names turned to her and asked, “Did you not get a present?” She shook her head no. He then said, “Well, you must have been naughty then.” She was handed a crocheted ice skate, and then he walked to the back of the house and out the back door.

She never complained. She didn’t cry. Instead, she walked over and checked out what her friends were given. She shared their excitement, and then sat down to open her candy bag to see what was in it. She smiled as she made an inventory of the candy, and acted as though it was the most wonderful thing she had ever been given. No tantrum, no jealousy, no anger. It was just what it was, and she accepted that.

A minute later, that same house parent came back in the back door with a big gorgeous pink bike. He said her name, and the smile on her face when she turned around was unforgettable. Still clutching the bag of candy, she ran and hugged the man. She then walked her bike over to where she could get a better look at it. I was unable to hold back my tears, I was so ecstatic for her!

I couldn’t help but pray at that moment, “Lord, make me like this little girl. Please. And let more of your people have a heart like hers, also.”

Sometimes God has something for everyone around us, it seems. He’s using them, blessing them, and fulfilling more than what seems to be needed. All the while, we feel forgotten. We start to say “All I have is this” instead of being grateful for what we have. Never considering that instead of whining, complaining, kicking, and screaming that He is actually preparing something beyond our wildest dreams if we just wait. Sometimes, our immaturity and lack of gratitude actually causes Him to wait longer, due to our not being ready.

I’ve been there, have you? Ugh.

If only my phone hadn’t died so that I could have snapped a photo of her walking that bike with that huge smile. It would be nice to have that reminder on my fridge next time I feel like moping instead of waiting… Lord, let me not forget!

ByAngie

Sharing Christ At Christmas

On Friday afternoon, I had the honor of visiting a children’s home while they were invited to come out of their classes and sit on Santa’s lap.

Unsure of what to expect, I walked in slowly. I had heard of experiences others had during past visits; Sadness, joy, a mixture of emotions, and the urge to give up their entire life to make a difference for just one child. Me? I was excited but scared, and honestly, distracted. Minutes before our arrival, I had been told of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. I was in shock, though I didn’t know any of the details. Thank God that I was able to have this wonderful happy experience on such a sad day.

The children’s home, which is actually a few houses all side by side, offers a place of refuge to children that are orphaned, not wanted by family members, or have been removed from their caregivers by the state. They have very little in the way of material items, but their house-parents and teachers show them so much love.

They lined up and waited for their turns. Some children asked for teddy bears. A few of them requested bikes. One little girl broke my heart when she said she just wanted her Grandma. Every one of those children smiled and showed so much appreciation that Santa made time for them. I was just blown away.

I had “a moment” with one little girl in particular. I watched as she climbed up on Santa’s lap, whispered in his ear, and then accepted a large coloring sheet and a bag full of small gifts. Immediately, she ran to her teacher and exclaimed, “Look what I got! It was exactly what I wanted!”  The teacher smiled, replied “How did they know?” and then explained that the little girl had really been wanting some erasers for her pencils. Sure enough, in her bag, was a little box of erasers that brought her great joy!

About 10 seconds later, this little girl was sitting at my feet. Looking through her bag to see what kind of loot she had, she asked me, “Did you see my presents?” I kneeled down to her level. She was such a smart, talkative, and loveable little girl! For about 2 minutes we talked. We discussed my name, her erasers, and the pencil pillows that came with them. She told me about her new coloring sheet that she had received. It had Sponge Bob on it. She let me know that she doesn’t like Sponge Bob, but she’s so grateful to have something to color and some new coloring pencils. The little girl ecstatically told me that she would even color him yellow.  Then, she asked me to take her photo, followed by another request for me to retake the photo, as she didn’t like the first one.  We then debated the speculation of who was really in the Santa suit. (She knew exactly who he was and giggled that he made a great Santa. I kept my lips sealed.)

Soon, she was rounded up with the other children to return to the last few minutes of class. As she walked away, she dropped a few of her new treasures. I stopped her and tucked them back into her bag. “Oh, thank you for helping me!” and off she went.

I don’t remember the last time that my heart felt such gratitude for something as that little girl showed for those erasers. Talk about guilt and reflection! That was it right there! I silently prayed for God to show me how blessed I truly am, and to never forget to be thankful.

And yes, in case you were wondering, I did want to take that little girl home with me. I won’t lie. Being unable to bring her into my family, I pray for her every day. That God would keep his hand on her, guide her, and raise her to be a Godly woman that follows His lead. And if God allows, I will go and visit the home and find out how she is doing next year.

I have another story from this day that I plan to share with you in the next few days…

This Christmas, are you truly thankful to God for your blessings? Are you reaching out to show love to others, even if a smile is all that you can afford? On Friday night, did you have to stop and question if there was still goodness in the world? Have you ever experienced something like this? I’d love to hear about it!

ByJudye

Delight

Max Lucado writes about Delight. We all have our own definition of “delight” but I like his in-depth version.

“Delight is the Bethlehem shepherds dancing a jig outside a cave. Delight is Mary watching God sleep in a feeding trough. Delight is Joseph teaching the Creator of the world how to hold a hammer. Delight is a widow hosting a party with food made for a funeral. Delight is Jesus doing impossible things in crazy ways: healing the blind with spit, paying taxes with coins found in a fish’s mouth, & coming back from the dead disguised as a gardener. Delight is the surprise on the faces of street folks who have been invited the a king’s banquet. (I might add, that’s us – it’s waiting for us) Delight is the adultress walking out of the stone-cluttered courtyard alive, a scantily clad Peter plunging into cold waters to get close to the one he’d cursed. Delight is a father scrubbing the pig-pen smell off his son’s back.”

SACRED delight is good news coming thru the back door of your heart! What you had always dreamed but never expected – too good to be true coming true! I love HIM…
ByDiania

Yes, Mr. Santa Claus, There Is A Jesus

Merry Christmas Mr. Santa
Let me tell you why you’re here
This day’s not about you
There’s a reason for this cheer

The season’s all around us
There’s a spirit in the air
So listen while I tell you
What Christmas has to share

Many, many years ago
Before you were even make believe
A King was born on Christmas day
Knowing he would have to leave

He was born to man a Savior
He knew His destiny
He lived a life of suffering
To save you and me

Now you take all the credit
For granting little one’s their wishes
But did you ever feed a
Multitude with five little fishes?

Did you ever stop a stormy sea
Or turn water into wine?
Did you ever open up deafened ears
Or give sight to the blind?

Did you ever heal a bleeding woman
And give comfort to her soul?
Did you give her peace within herself
And tell her she was whole?

Did you quicken some one’s spirit
As tears ran down their face?
Were you able to forgive their sins
And save them by your grace?

Did you walk for miles to raise
The dead across the desert sand?
Can you say you did all of this and
Calmed the sea with your hand?

Can you live up to how he died?
Can you even compare such a gift?
Can you add pain and suffering
To your Christmas list?

Do you feel somewhat guilty
For taking all the fame?
Do you know no matter what you do
You’ll never change His name?

And if we told every child
The real meaning of this day
I have no doubt the universe
Would fall to their knees and pray

Things would be so different
If they knew the true story
Of why we celebrate
A King in all of His Glory

You see Mr. Santa Claus
We’re not just cruising through
There really was a Savior
Born to save me and you

My Christmas wish is you
Believe in what is really true
There’s really not much else
I can’t think that you could do

My hope lies in a gift
That long ago left the tree
My hope is in my Savior
Who died for you and me

ByDiania

A-Way In A Manger

A-Way in a manger
Lay fast asleep
As the Eastern Star
Watched over the sheep

The animals gazing
As no sound was made
So great a King
Asleep He laid

In swaddling clothes
The night went by
While wise men followed
The star in the sky

Knowing too well
The prophecy of old
The Christ child to be born
As the story foretold

A mother so young
To give birth to a King
For generations to come
The earth would sing

A story of truth
Written down for all man
Even through time
The story would stand

A gift was given
To show the way
Will you give Him your heart
This Christmas day

No better gift would
He love to receive
Knowing the story of His son
And you chose you believe

ByDiania

The Tree

As you decorate the Christmas tree
With ornaments of love
Memories your children made
Ceramic ginger breads hang above

Does it ever cross your mind
What your tree really means
Can you close your eyes
And imagine Jesus on the scene

A baby boy receiving
Gifts from all around
While animals and shepherds
Stand upon the ground

A king born to deliver
The world from all of it’s sin
A gift no other man
Would ever give again

Born not only to die again
But for you and me to live
You could shop forever
And not find a better gift to give

We get a little crazy
Around this time of year
The meaning of this day
Just seems to disappear

If we take time to remember
Why we decorate the tree
Then Christmas Day would be
The greatest gift for you and me