One of the most important things we can communicate to our children at Christmas time is the simplest meaning of Jesus’ coming into the history of the world, namely, that His coming means God is with us. Of course, His coming can be explained in many ways. Giving certainly comes to mind when we think of Christmas, and what better or more glorious gift could God give us than Himself to be with us? We rejoice that He came to save us from our sins, and to do that, He had to come and be with us. Additionally, because God is with us, the spirit of love, joy, and peace permeate our entire lives, not just the Christmas season. His coming also means that God keeps His promises, and that for Him to come to be with us is the fulfillment of all of His promises. There’s a very familiar prophecy from Isaiah I wish to encourage you to emphasize this Christmas.
Matthew 1:22-23, Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
This demonstration for your devotional is really more of a role-playing exercise. I hope it will generate some very interesting discussion with important, practical insights. You don’t need any supplies or props, just your imagination and the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
The aim of your role-playing is to demonstrate what it means to be withsomeone. When someone is with you, certain things communicate that they are actually with you and value you as a person or friend. Here are some positive and negative qualities that come to mind. Can you think of others?
• They connect with you emotionally or relationally through various means of communication (facial expressions, words, eye contact, etc.).
• They are attentive to your words and actions.
• They help when you are in need.
• They don’t easily allow distractions.
• They don’t sit idly by while watching you work.
As a matter for discussion, ask, “How did Jesus demonstrate these characteristics when He came to be with us? Can you think of illustrations from the gospels?” You might consider making a list on a white board, chalk board, or poster paper as a reminder throughout the month.
Role-play Situation Number 1: Have two people act out what it looks like when someone isn’t with another person. Here’s a scene to role-play. Two people are in a restaurant at a table eating together. One is talking about an event that happened to them that day. The other person is occupied with texting a friend on his or her phone. Discuss what the person who is talking might feel or think about the friend who is preoccupied with the phone. Also, based on the characteristics listed above, discuss how the preoccupied person is communicating that he or she is not with the other person.
Role-play Situation Number 2: The setting for this situation is the kitchen. Mom is washing dishes. What might another person do who wants to communicate to Mom that he is with her and values her? What would being “with Mom” look like if a person did some of the things on the list above?
Role-play Situation Number 3: Imagine you are Jesus in heaven with the Father and He sends you to earth to be with a blind man. How would you let the blind man know you had come to be with him? Then read John 9:1-7 and discuss what Jesus did to be God with us.
When Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure from this earth and then His eventual return, He told them that He was going to the Father to ask Him to sendanother Helper who would be with them forever (John 14:16). We learn three important truths from this verse. First, we learn that God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is primarily our Helper. When God, the Father, sent His Son to be God with us, He sent Him to help us with our greatest need—the removal of our sin that separates us from God. Second, we also learn what it means to be with someone: to help them. Third, we learn that those who belong to Christ have another Helper, the Holy Spirit, living within, who is now God with us. In this we greatly rejoice! This is our confidence, hope, joy, and the promise of the gospel.
I hope you and your family will gain spiritual wisdom and insight into the wonderful meaning of Christmas: God is with us, and more importantly, I hope you will experience the reality of God with you so that you may know how to be with others. In so doing, you become a living expression of the meaning of Christmas the entire year. What an exciting way to live!