I’ve been focusing a lot this season on teaching J that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and why a little baby born long ago is so important.
Our first memory verse on this topic is John 8:12, “Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
We did an activity that helped to reinforce the scripture.
Activity: After nap one day, I took a flashlight up to J’s room. His room is pretty much pitch black without lights on, especially if the sun is down. We talked about the purpose of a flashlight. He loves flashlights, so he was thrilled to teach me all that he knew! I pointed out that when the room was dark we couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t find J and he couldn’t find mommy. We could get lost easily in the darkness. But the light helps us see (he turned the flashlight on). The light helps us know where we’re going. It helps us find the things we need. It helps us know whether it’s safe to go a certain direction.
Then I called out things for him to find in the dark. Of course in the pitch black he couldn’t find them (and didn’t want to venture out to find them). When he had the light, he could find them easily. He had lots of fun pointing the flashlight to hit the exact thing I called out (unexpected practice in motor skills since they have to hold the flashlight steady and have good hand-eye coordination). We also played some hide and seek in the dark, I hid while the flashlight was off and he used it to find me. He just laughed and laughed everytime he found me and could shine that light on my face.
I emphasized how the light helped him and how he couldn’t do it on his own. Then I brought out John 8:12. We talked about how Jesus came into the world as a baby so that He could save us. He is our light. When we’re having trouble, lonely, scared or when we did something wrong, Jesus iss the light to help us. If we don’t have Jesus, it’s hard to live the way we’re supposed to. Just like trying to find the teddy bear in the dark on our own, it’s too hard. But with the light, we could do it. With the light he could find mommy and we laughed everytime the light hit mommy. With the light we could laugh and have joy. In the darkness we didn’t laugh, we were just lost and confused. Because Jesus is our light, we can laugh and have joy inside all the time.
I’m completley paraphrasing here. I don’t remember everything I said, but you get the gist. I didn’t preach a long sermon to my 2 year old because he wouldn’t have focused so long on one deep topic. I certainly didn’t say everything I typed here in one long message. We went back and forth between playing and me emphasizing the lesson. If I saw questioning eyes, I would break it down in a simpler way. If he had a question, I would stop and answer it. If he made a remark during the game that could be applied to the overall lesson, I commented on it quickly and we kept playing our game. I saw this lesson as a stepping stone for many discussions in the future. I don’t have to teach him everything at once. In fact, J has already brought up the topic on his own since this initial lesson. I see it as slowly building a foundation that he can later stand on himself.
We have since been working on the memory verse. Feel free to use the printable for John 8:12 (in pdf) that I made to help J visualize the scripture. As always we have it hanging near the dinner table.
There’s so many opportunities to remind J of this verse. When we’re driving around and see lights on houses, repeat the verse. When turning our tree lights on in the morning, repeat the verse. When the light on his Little People Nativity set turns on, when he places the stars on our Advent calendar,… We’ll do it when we light the candles on our birthday cake for Jesus.
All of this also goes hand in hand with the Bible readings we’re doing through Advent (we’re pretty much following this list, using the Jesus Storybook Bible). I love this children’s Bible, by the way. I’ll probably have to do a post on it just to share all the reasons why it is so awesome! And it leads you perfectly into teaching how Jesus is the Light of the World.
Age attempted: 31 months