I don’t really want Christmas to be about material things, so why do I do these daily packages?
For two main reasons:
- To have something for us to look forward to each day
- To have an object lesson that relates to the spiritual truth
Could I accomplish these things without gifts? Yes, but it adds that element of fun and makes the experience memorable.
Now, just because we open a package every day does not mean that we are getting new things everyday. You could put things in the packages that you already own, but that can be used for the object lesson.
You can add crayons, playdough, stickers, food items that you already have. You could add books or movies related to the topic. You could add a note with instructions for an activity that relates to your topic.
Also, most of the items I add to our packages are in replenishable/consumable category. We have food, markers, hair ties, stickers, playdough, etc. These are things I would be buying anyway. We just make them into gifts.
Finding the Object for your Object Lesson
Think about what you are trying to teach. Use a key word for your object. Or find an object to represent your key word or thought. Also, connect your object with an action if possible.
When teaching Biblical stories, I like to read through the passage of Scripture and let the Word of God speak to me first and then go from there. Even with young children, I want to read a verse in its context and it’s always so much richer.
Here are a few examples: in AWANA we were learning the verse in Psalm 139:14 that says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Contextually, it says that God knit us together in our mother’s wombs. So, for the object lesson, I brought in knitting and crochet needles and some examples of things that were already knitted or crocheted together.
Another example is Genesis 3 – the fall of man. I want to teach two concepts here – man disobeyed God and sinned, and the curse and prophecy associated with that sin. A main character in this story is the snake. The prophecy is found in Genesis 3:15 that the seed of the woman will crush his head. In our Jesse tree study, we want to emphasize any prophecies in the Old Testament that point to Jesus. So, to emphasize that Jesus will crush Satan, we bite off the gummy snake head. Thus, a memorable and fun lesson.
Keeping it Special
I try to make our advent time something that we all look forward to. You could certainly do this without packages (gifts and surprises), but that little bit of mystery surrounding “what’s today?” keeps the kids asking to do Jesse tree.