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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

The Christmas Present

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents…” ~ that’s the opening line from the classic book “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott; and the latest adaption of the movie will be screened throughout the cinema on Christmas Day this year.

During this festive season, our Ladies group is doing a meaningful glistening winter wonderland project as a deco for each household. Proceeds from the craft expenses will be presented as a Christmas gift to the local cancer research organization.

The white stuff that we pour into the jar is to remind us that God who is holy longs to have a relationship with us and that He cleanses us from our sins. ( Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.)

The nativity scene helps us to focus on Jesus Christ during the CHRISTmas season.

Then we decorate the neon light to remind us that Jesus Christ, the Light of the Word, gives us Hope, Peace and Joy.

And I am looking forward to open my Christmas present…

which is to go and watch the movie “Little Women” on Christmas Day!

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Joy to the World

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Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let us receive her king…

During the past Christmas, each of the children received a special bundle of gift which point them towards Jesus, who is the Joy of the World.

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The toddlers and preschoolers received a lion stuffed animal: just as the lion is known for king of the jungle; children are reminded that Jesus is the King of kings and that we need to worship Him. (Revelation 17:14; 19:16).

Children are generally happy when they are treated to candies, so one of the treats the younger kids was the candy cane that resembles shepherd’s staff; and the shape of the letter “J” reminds us of joyful Jesus who is the Good Shepherd that watches over us(John 10:11; 10:14).

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For the older children, they received a beautiful festive plastic beverage container. The drink-ware helps children to reflect that Jesus is the living water who can quench our thirsty soul: As the deer pants for stream of living water, my soul thirst for you, O Lord.
(Psalm 63:1)

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In the container, there was a “Ring Pop” candy that shaped like a pacifier. This object reminds us about babies. Just as we are often drawn to babies with tenderness and care; we reflect on that Baby in the Manger, whose purpose was to come to earth to be our Savior and Protector to care for our yearning soul.

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Another delightful gift the children received was the flameless candle. The candle reminds us of all the colorful and beaming lights during the Christmas festive season. It also points us to the ultimate light, Jesus, who is the Light of the world who shines over the darkness of our soul:

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth and
thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
(Isaiah 60:1-2)

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Each child also took home a children gospel tract to explore with families the deeper meaning of having a personal relationship with Jesus, the “Joy” to the world who brings peace and hope into our world.

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As I gaze at this photograph that I took by the Caribbean Sea in Cartagena; a piece of insightful writing by my spiritual mentor comes to my mind:

“Christmas is here, signalling the end of the year but also heralding the beginning of the new year. Perhaps this is the significance of the Christmas season — that because Christ has come, therefore we can now have an end to our old life and a beginning of our new life.”

What a profound Christmas reflection indeed!

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Gingerbread Gospel

Gingerbread Village at the Grouse Mountain!

It is well known that the concept of the gingerbread house originated from the sugar candy cottage in the Hansel and Gretel fable.

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However, I had never heard about the Gingerbread Gospel until I was asked to be the judge for the best gingerbread decorating contest in one of the Sunday School classes.

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When the children were decorating their fantasy dream snow cottage with lots of icing and candies, their teachers led them to reflect on the special homes of King Jesus:

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Heaven: Jesus’s first home, and what a perfect home.
Hut: Jesus’s earthly home in the stable.
Heart: Jesus longs to dwell in our hearts & to have a personal relationship with us.

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What a delightful and creative  approach to decorate the sugar candy cottage and be reminded of  the assurance of heaven and spending eternity with Jesus.

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Let’s celebrate!

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Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay;
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care;
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.

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A friend of mine was preaching the past Sunday and illustrated on the sweet family time together building the gingerbread house… reflecting on how our Heavenly Father intends to have a relationship with us in everything we do, although we claim that we are the ones that are doing the work, in fact it’s Father God who does it.

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Later, his friend used the picture and sketched the following cute picture of daddy & his two dolls decorating the sugar candy cottage!!

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The winding road leading up  to the mountain village was very narrow and steep but our fabulous translator , also a seminary student, has no problem cruising us by with his sole transportation up and down the narrow lane.

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The bus driver could only drive us two thirds up the mountain;

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then we had to hike up the rest of the way until we reached the mountain village

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to lead a 3-day children’s Bible camp.

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“Go tell it on the mountain, over the hill and everywhere that…

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Jesus is our Soul-mate (best friend);
Jesus is our Strength;
Jesus is our Savior.

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The interactive biblical lessons were told through songs, puppet shows, science experiments, skits, bible verses and creative arts & craft; we are thankful to a wonderful team leaders who did the Spanish translation.

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The vibrant children were very intrigued and responded to the bible lessons with enthusiasm.

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Many were able to retell the stories verbatim to their peers.

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The children here have experienced genuine care and love by their leaders at their weekly Kids Club; and many of them have already put their faith in Jesus and enjoy worshiping the Living God wholeheartedly.

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Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

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Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere… that Jesus Christ is Lord!

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Merry and Bright

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Medellin is famous for its Festival of Lights display during the Christmas holidays.

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We had a merry night out enjoying the bright lights that illuminated the city streets and parks.

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The colourful lights that adorned the whole city of Medellin reminded me of that One Holy Night —

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the glorious beams from the heavenly hosts that shone on the shepherds in the field (Luke 2)
and the special bright star of Bethlehem that the wise men followed (Matthew 2)

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— they all point towards the Great Light — Jesus — who is the Light of the world.

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Jesus replies: “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

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Communal Worship Dance

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One of the best ways to rejoice and celebrate with children is through Communal Worship Dance (CWD). CWD is any form of group dancing, such as line dance or circle dance, for the purpose of worshipping God.

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The other day I was leading CWD with the children. I noticed that the boys enjoyed the circle dance very much; perhaps because the foot-work was of a lively bouncy and marching-style, rather than the girly-ballerina-type.

One of the dance steps we used a lot is the basic communal “grapevine” dance steps. The children told me that they have learned these steps in school during their Physical Education classes and in their extracurricular dance lessons; In fact the “grapevine” steps are similar to the drill steps they learned in soccer called “karaoke”.

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We had a great time rejoicing and celebrating before the Lord. It was very heartwarming to see everyone hold hands and hang on to each other resulting in such a fun atmosphere. The image of togetherness as bounded by the Spirit of God reminds me of what the psalmist describes, of “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1).

To top it all off, we had colorful toppings of our choice to sprinkle over big scoops of ice-cream.

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Here’s one of the rejoicing and celebrative CWD we did to one of my favorite Christmas songs Come On Ring Those Bells.

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Festival of Lights

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Reflecting the historical event of Chanukah by the Maccabees which the children learned in school as well as in the Sunday School.

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Lighting the Advent Candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

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Celebrating the birthday of Jesus

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Visiting Canyon Lights

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Recycled Christmas Card

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One of the fun crafts I enjoy creating out of old Christmas card is a beautiful small gift box.

The steps are really simple.

Materials needed are: a pencil, a ruler, a pair of scissors, and a beautiful rectangular Christmas card (a card with a nice, centered image is best).

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Separate the “front cover” and the “back side” of the card by cutting it in half on the fold.

Draw 2 diagonal lines or an X from corner to corner on the “writing side” of each card.

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Fold the 4 sides of the card right to the dot of the X for the “back side” card.
Do the same for the “front cover” but 0.5 cm away from the dot (extra space needed to serve as lid).

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Open the folded cards and hold it hotdog style — make 4 cuts vertically on the bottom and top, where the folds first intersect.

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Stand the two sides up, fold the two “flaps” in to create the ends of the box.

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Fold the final end flap in and fold over the top of the other two flaps to keep them in place like a box.

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Put some treats and trinkets in the box and cover it with the splashy lid ready to be given away.

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I discovered the wonderful small gift idea years ago while visiting the Canadian Bible Society.

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A staff member taught me how to create this beauteous box.

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She told me that some of their missionaries collected recycled Christmas cards, transformed them into colorful gift boxes and filled them with goodies for the children in their mission fields.

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During one of our Christmas lessons on gift-gifting, we had fun making the gift boxes.

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After the children finished making the box, they filled it with their smile, joy, love, sadness, anger, funny faces… and place it on the manger as a gift for Jesus.

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After that, each child was treated to a ring pop!

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The Story of the Magi

12th Day of CHRISTmas

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Today is Epiphany Sunday.

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Epiphany, in layman’s term, is the day that commemorates the Magi who came to visit the Child Jesus.   The divine encounter is recorded in Matthew 2:1-12.

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I am always fascinated by the story of the Magi.

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So today I am exploring this captivating Christmas story with the children.

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I wonder why God put this special story in the Bible for us to read.

I wonder what caused the Magi to bow down and worship the Child Jesus.

I wonder why the Magi gave such precious treasures to the Child Jesus.

I wonder what precious and eternal treasure has God given us.

I wonder what precious gift can we offer back to God.

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A few grade 3 boys wanted to outdo what the Magi gave, so they unanimously agree to give Jesus diamonds!

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From Matthew 2, we journeyed down to Matthew 22 and offer to God our “thumbs of love”!

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“Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

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For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

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And that “concludes” my 12-day of Christmas Reflection!

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