Day 1: God's Promise: It Will Happen at Bethlehem from Prepare Him Room
* Reading: Micah 5:1-2
* Discuss: Talk about King David being from Bethlehem (possibly read the story of David & Goliath). Look for Nazareth and Bethlehem on a map (usually can be found in the back of a Bible).
* Song: O Little Town of Bethlehem
* Activity: Read Clopper the Christmas Donkey
Day 2: Angel's Announcement: A Visit to the Shepherds from Prepare Him Room
* Reading: Luke 2:8-20
* Discuss: What was the angel's message? Did the shepherds listen? What did they find when they went to Bethlehem?
* Song: O Come All Ye Faithful
* Activity: Set up Nativity scene (we use the Little People Nativity Scene)
Day 3: Fulfillment of God's Plan: The King was Crowned with Thorns from Prepare Him Room
* Reading: Luke 23:33-46
* Discuss: What was Jesus' purpose in coming to earth? When He died, did He stay dead?
* Song: Go Tell It on the Mountain
* Activity: Read A Tale of Three Trees
I am including resources for each country where Compassion works and am trying to link to Compassion blog posts, share videos and photos of Christmas celebrations, share recipes, give prayer requests and whatever else I come across that is pertinent. I tried to give some helpful resources so that you will be able to adapt the learning to your child's age.
My plan is to find each country on a map, talk about our kid(s) who live there, pray for the kid(s) and the country, and to look at photos or watch a video. We might try to make a dish too, if there is a Christmas (or celebratory) dish from the country that doesn't sound too complicated.
Bolivia: "Bolivians prepare the nativity scene and the Christmas tree. Church members present special dramas and choral events."
1) For provisions for these children and their families so each day they can enjoy a healthful meal.
2) For wisdom for parents so they can look after their children’s health.
3) That children and youths won’t be attracted to gangs.
4) That their faith, confidence in God, and the values they are learning at the center will strengthen in their hearts.
5) For stable and good jobs for their parents, so they can provide for their children and the children won’t be neglected.
Resources: Compassion's Bolivia page, Compassion's Bolivia Flickr Album, Compassion Family Blog: Bolivian Meal (this shows our experience making buñuelos)
Brazil: " Churches usually have a midnight service and dinner on Christmas Eve. Brazilians gather on Christmas Eve with their families to eat panetone (fruit bread), drink champagne and exchange gifts."
1) For children living in areas affected by drought, where it is difficult to avoid hygiene-related illness.
2) For more jobs throughout the region. Unemployment causes many parents to abandon their families for better opportunities elsewhere.
3) For children’s safety from violence and the destructive influences of the drug trade.
4) That God will open the eyes of children to the ability to dream. They rarely think about having good jobs or what they want to be when they grow up.
5) That children will improve their academic performance and have opportunities for educational development.
Resources: Compassion's Brazil page, Compassion's Brazil Flickr Album, Easy Panettone Recipe
Colombia: "In evangelical families, parents generally give gifts to their children during a special Christmas supper, which includes a special custard called natilla and donuts, called buñuelos, along with other sweet foods."
1) That God will provide and care for children who have been abandoned by their fathers.
2) That God will provide jobs for the many parents who are unemployed.
3) That God will provide a way for children and caregivers who are sick to be treated for their medical needs, in spite of lack of health facilities.
4) That center workers will have God’s wisdom to help assisted children avoid the temptation to use illegal drugs.
5) That center workers will also be effective in identifying and assisting children who are victims of domestic violence, neglect or sexual abuse.
Resources: Compassion's Colombia page, Compassion's Colombia Flickr Album, Compassion Blog: Christmas in Colombia, Compassion Blog: Christmas Tradition and Celebration in Colombia
Ecuador: "Processions wind through the streets of Ecuador in the days before Christmas. On the last Sunday of Advent, Ecuadorians deliver gifts to the sick and elderly."
1) That center workers will have God’s wisdom to help assisted children avoid the temptation to use illegal drugs.
2) That center workers will also be effective in identifying and assisting children who are victims of domestic violence, neglect or sexual abuse.
3) That Compassion can provide the educational and training opportunities children need to obtain steady employment with good pay.
4) That children can overcome malnutrition so that their physical development will be on track.
5) That children will learn tolerance and acceptance of others different from themselves.
Resources: Compassion's Ecuador page, Compassion's Ecuador Flickr Album, Holiday Traditions in Ecuador
Peru: "In Lima and in all big cities located along the coast, celebrations include a "party of love" or "children's party" on the 24th. Christmas dinner traditionally includes turkey or chicken, baked potatoes, salad and hot chocolate with paneton, an Italian-style fruitcake. In the Andes, people attend a midnight church service to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. On Jan. 6, Peruvians dressed as the three Wise Men bring gifts for the children. Peru's poor economy has limited these traditions to the middle and upper classes."
1) That teens will resist the temptation to drop out of school and migrate to the region’s cities for work.
2) For the protection of children in the urban slums from the influence of drugs and violent gangs.
3) That parents will understand the importance of education and encourage their children to excel in their studies.
4) That parents will see the value of education and encourage children to succeed academically.
5) For the safety of youths whose families migrate to the cities. There are many unscrupulous people looking to exploit them.
Resources: Compassion's Peru page, Compassion's Peru Flickr Album, A Peruvian Christmas
All information about Christmas celebrations and prayer requests are taken from Compassion's website.