Day 1: God's Promise: Salvation Will Come Through My Servant from Prepare Him Room
* Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7
* Discuss: Talk about the kindness, love and compassion of Jesus. Share how the stocking tradition was started by a man who wanted to follow in Jesus' footsteps.
* Song: First Noel
* Activity: Read Legend of the Christmas Stocking
Day 2: Simeon's Announcement: Welcomed at the Temple from Prepare Him Room
* Reading: Luke 2:25-35
* Discuss: What does it mean that Jesus is called a light for the nations? Lights are easy to see when it is dark!
* Song: Good Christian Men Rejoice
* Activity: Look at Christmas lights
Day 3: Fulfillment of God's Plan: People from Every Nation Around the Throne from Prepare Him Room
* Reading: Revelation 7:9-12
* Discuss: Jesus is alive and now sits on the throne! Christmas is His birthday!
* Song: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
* Activity: Make a birthday cake for Jesus!
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.
Bangladesh: "Christmas is a national holiday."
1) That parents will encourage their children to stay in school and excel in their studies.
2) That caregivers will be able to adequately provide for their children.
3) That parents will encourage their children in their educational pursuits.
4) For families’ protection from the weather extremes common in this region.
4) That children’s health will withstand illnesses resulting from the consumption of unsafe water.
Resources: Compassion's Bangladesh page, Compassion's Bangladesh Flickr Album, Christmas in Bangladesh
India: "Celebrating Christmas at a Compassion child development center in India, a predominantly Hindu country, is significant for the children in the sponsorship program. The celebrations usher in a season of hope, joy, love, peace and festivities the children can participate in and enjoy."
1) For the protection of children and family members from poverty-related diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and tuberculosis.
2) For parents to overcome the numerous superstitious beliefs they practice, such as not allowing their children to be immunized.
3) That children will stay in school rather than be lured into working at low-paying and often dangerous jobs.
4) For children who have been deserted by their fathers.
5) That parents will support and encourage their children to pursue an education.
Resources: Compassion's India page, Compassion's India Flickr Album, Compassion Blog: Christmas in India, Make an Indian Christmas Star, Compassion Blog Australia: Christmas in India, Christmas in India
Indonesia: "Indonesians spend time with family and friends during Christmas. They put up Christmas trees and celebrate with music, food and dance."
1) That parents will understand the importance of education and encourage their children to achieve their highest level of schooling.
2) For the protection of children and families from the frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods that occur.
3) That God’s wisdom will lead parents to learn good parenting skills and better care for their children.
4) That the church will be able to teach Christian values to the children.
5) That Indonesia’s newly elected government leaders will be determined to fight poverty.
Resources: Compassion's Indonesia page, Compassion's Indonesia Flickr Album, Compassion Blog: Christmas in Indonesia, Christmas in Indonesia
Philippines: " Filipinos celebrate the Noche Buena (midnight watch) both Dec. 24 and 31. Favorite foods, such as roasted chicken or pork with noodles, are prepared and topped off with sweets. Fireworks are lit and gifts are opened at midnight."
1) For God’s protection over the many children in this region who are left at home by themselves while their parents work.
2) That rural youths who have had to work alongside their parents from an early age will not lose hope for a better future.
3) For children’s good health, since most rural areas are far from major medical centers.
4) That assisted children and youths will be able to stand against peer pressure to try drugs or join gangs.
5) That children will be motivated to stay in school and in the Compassion program to achieve a brighter future, free from poverty.
Resources: Compassion's Philippines page, Compassion's Philippines Flickr Album, A Filipino Christmas, Christmas in the Philippines
Sri Lanka: "Christmas day is recognized on December 25."
1) That children will be motivated to stay in school, study hard and succeed in their education.
2) That children will be protected from violence and abuse.
3) For the emotional and psychological healing of children who lived through the civil war and experienced atrocities.
4) For good-paying, permanent jobs for parents so that they can provide for their families.
5) For those children who are still afraid to come to the Compassion center. This is a new concept for many, and they are struggling.
Resources: Compassion's Sri Lanka page, Compassion's Sri Lanka Flickr Album, Compassion Blog: Christmas in Sri Lanka, Christmas in Sri Lanka
Thailand: "Christmas is not celebrated by the general population of Thailand. Small churches in some larger cities observe Christmas services but Thais do not decorate or exchange gifts."
1) That children living in extremely poor conditions will know they are not defined by their surroundings but by God’s love.
2) That God will help children to learn, thrive and grow above their life circumstances.
3) That children remain open to God’s Word as they grow so they will become a new generation of leaders who can change their communities and nation.
3) For children without parents at home, that these boys and girls will be open to the love and guidance they find at their Compassion centers.
5) For Compassion staff as they work to develop children into leaders and reformers in their communities.
Resources: Compassion's Thailand page, Compassion's Thailand Flickr Album, Christmas in Thailand
All information about Christmas celebrations and prayer requests are taken from Compassion's website.