We’ve all watched him. The one with the blanket-clad head as he stands up and recites the verses from Luke. Every year on TV, Linus from the Peanuts Gang, quotes the Christmas chapter that so many recognize. Would you be able to quote as he does? Would your children?
Are you as convicted as I am? What Christmas scriptures should our children know? I don’t mean, know of, but know, as in the words are implanted in their hearts so they might not sin against God.
As a parent and a Bible Teacher of children ages 5 through 6th grade, I think there are foundational Christmas scriptures that they, and we parents, should know. How come? Have you listened to Christmas music recently? Have you studied the nativity scene in your living room? How do you know what is part of the True Christmas Story and what is not?
The Christmas Story of Jesus is so rich and there is more to it than a baby in a stable, angels, and shepherds.
Five Scriptures Children Should Know About Christmas
1. Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (ESV)
There are so many pieces of Christmas music, but the one that has stood the test of time is the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. In this classic, Handel uses over 60 Bible verses, but the ones that stand out the most are Isaiah 9:6, and Revelation 11:15, 19:6, and 19:16. A child was born. He was named Jesus. And He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will reign forever. I wonder if the shepherds shouted out such truth? After all, they would have known what Isaiah had prophesied years earlier.
2. Luke 2:20
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (ESV)
Sometimes the verses of Luke 2:1-20 become boring to us. Linus quotes them very well, but have you really listened to them and pondered? The hymn Silent Night would have us think that the small family was quiet in a stable. All was calm. All was bright. Was it? A young girl just screamed out while having a baby. The animals that were in the cave, or stable, were probably nervous with strangers about them. Then all of a sudden after an exhausting labor, dirty shepherds run up to the feeding trough exclaiming that angels had appeared to them. After standing there for who knows how long, the shepherds leave glorifying and praising God. I’m not sure it was a silent night.
3. Matthew 2:1-3
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (ESV)
Where do you put the wise men in your nativity scene? How do we know there were three? There are details in Matthew 1:18-2:12 that add to the Christmas story that we like to gloss over. The wise men were not at the birth of Jesus. In fact, it is possible that Jesus was 2 or 3 years old when they arrived. (See verses 9-11) And when these Magi did arrive, Herod was not pleased. This news of a baby king brought him no joy. Herod would not share his throne with anyone. We Three Kings pictures three jovial men bringing riches to a new king. These magi were intelligent men. Perhaps they knew it was a race between them and an angry ruler.
4. Galatians 4:4
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law. (ESB)
Joy to the World gets it right. “Let earth receive her king.” Jesus was born. The curse of sin would now be broken. God, who is faithful, did what he set out to do way back in Genesis. The time was right. All the characters were in place. He would be showing the wonders of his love.
5. John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.(ESB)
Why do we give presents at Christmas? Because God gave the ultimate gift, His Son. We Christians make a big deal out of the coming of Jesus, but His birth would mean NOTHING without Easter. The birth was just a means to an end. Not the end of life, but the end of death. It is this baby’s death that gives us hope and eternal life. If our kids miss that Truth, then we have failed.
When reading the Christmas story with your children this year, think of these verses and consider the five senses. What was heard? seen? smelled? touched? tasted? Make the biographical story more real to those who are learning.
As you listen to music on the radio, discuss the words with your kids. Pull out the Bible and read to see what is Truth and what is tradition. Then choose some verses such as those above and know them.