This year, I saw my first “Christmas preview” sale back in September. Frankly, I’m just waiting for the “Christmas in July” events to bleed right on through the rest of the summer, meet up with those previews, and give us a full six months of frantic commercialism.
When it comes down to your children’s ministry, it can seem like the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are already a wash. It’s an uphill battle against a dozen outside influences—all of which seem to have a head start:

  • Advertisers clamoring to make their wares the vital priority for the season
  • Packed school and family schedules that tie up many of your kids and volunteers
  • Expectations from your congregation and leadership to pull off “the” event of the year
  • The hope of connecting with those families who only walk through your doors once or twice a year
  • Kids with too much sugar and volunteers without enough sleep

Can we skip to January 2, 2012, already?
Actually, I want to skip to April 2012 for a sneak preview of that month’s virtue: HOPE—believing that something good can come from something bad.
We’re busy writing a lot about Hope for Easter, but Hope has its roots in Christmas. It’s what all of your families are looking for right now—the ones in your church and the ones in your community who’ve never done more than drive past your building. They feel the same pressures, the same stress that you do. At this time of year, they want something different for themselves and their kids, even if they have no idea how to find it.
Right now, families are longing to connect—to find something deeper and richer and more lasting than a Dance Star Mickey, or even an iPad.
So, even though the next five weeks may look exhausting, take Hope. The parents in your church, the ones you see in the grocery store and at the post office and along your street—they want the same thing you do: the Hope that only Christ’s birth can bring.