This year I wanted to tell the whole story. After all, how can we expect our children to feel "a thrill of joy" about Christ's birth if they don't have an existing understanding of our desperate need for a Savior? So my plan is as follows.
Week 1: Creation and the Fall
Week 2: The Effects of Sin
Week 3: Signs of His Coming
Week 4: Birth of the Savior
I intend to make these very very simple so my five year old can understand. But I think in so doing, the rest of us are blessed as well. Below is the message I prepared and read at our candle lighting tonight and I thought I'd share. I hope it blesses you.
When God made the world, a long time ago, He made everything very GOOD. There was nothing to complain about or be afraid of. People could hang out with wild animals without danger. [What’s a wild animal you’d like to play with if it wasn’t dangerous? A lion? A crocodile?] And growing food was easy because there were NO WEEDS. The Bible says there were no thorns even! So the rose bushes would never be sharp. Also, nobody got stomach aches or sore throats because there were NO SICK GERMS.
It was wonderful. Totally amazing. Perfect. And it would have stayed that way forever if the first people had trusted God when He told them that one single tree in all the huge garden they lived in would ruin everything if they ate from it. In fact, if they ate from that tree, it would make them start to die. So God told them about that dangerous tree and not to eat it. But all the other trees were healthy and yummy and they could eat anything else they wanted.
But they didn’t believe God about the bad tree. Eve and Adam hung around that tree looking at it, wondering what it tasted like. Satan hung out there too, in the form of a serpent, and he convinced them God was lying. That the tree’s fruit would make THEM like God too. And instead of believing what God said about the tree, they believed Satan and so they ate the fruit. And from then on, everything changed.
Sickness, thorns, pain, embarrassment, and death entered the world. Wild animals became dangerous and might bite. Adam and Eve could no longer live in the perfect garden (of Eden), they had to leave that place. And in fact, they began to grow old and eventually die. Their children were born this way as well. Every baby ever born from then on—all the way down to you and me—would have the same problem. Things were not perfect any more.
God punished the serpent making him slither on his belly, and He also gave a prophecy for the future. God told Satan that one day a child would be born who would “stomp his head” and undo the damage caused by Satan’s trickery. That child would be the one to save the world from the death that came because of SIN.