Today, rather than share another Christmas carol, I want to share a few thoughts about Christmas. While it is the time of the year when we tend to be more joyful, more merry . . . at least, many of us are, it can also be a very difficult time of year for some of the children and families in our ministries if they are experiencing difficult times in their families. Along with leading children in worshipping and celebrating the birth of Jesus, we need to also be on the watch for those children and families who may need our help. Watch for . . .
- Signs of abuse. This is something to be on watch for at all times of the year, but while Christmas is a joyful time, it is also a time when families may experience more stress. This stress can result in children being abused and/or neglected. Watch for acting out, bruises, children who flinch when you reach their direction or act as if they are afraid.
- Signs of depression. While children do not often feel depressed, they can and their parents might as well. Look for lack of interest, a deep sadness and lack of joy.
- Signs of need. Children who come to class in the same clothes each week; particularly if the clothes are worn, may indicate a family is in need. If children come to class hungry it may indicate their family is in need.
These are just a few things to watch for. Along with watching, be sure you have a plan in place to help children and families who are in need of help. If your church has a food pantry/clothes closet, let families know how and where to go to find help. If your church has pastors who are able to give counsel, let families know how to schedule appointments. If your church does not have these things, find out where families can turn in your community to find the help they need.
Most importantly, reassure children and families they are loved by you and by God! God sent Jesus to bring us the best gift ever; His love and forgiveness! He also sent us to be gifts to children and families; be the gift they need this year!