What season is it? Sounds like such an easy question for kids (and adults) to answer, but for churches who follow the lectionary and celebrate church seasons throughout the year, we are now in the midst of a time of seasonal confusion for kids.
What kids see at church versus retail stores, hear in worship versus school, and do – including changes in fruit, clothing, and sports seasons – influences their answers and adds to their confusion.
Help kids understand what is happening in the church and how it is different than what culture may be telling them. Make it fun for them (and you) in the next three months with these three easy tips (while behind the scenes we know you need to have multiple seasons going on in your head – including getting ready for Advent and Christmas!)
Keep asking the question: What season is it?
Every time your kids gather for Sunday school or other ministry programs, ask them the question, “What season is it?” You may hear answers related to the calendar, nature, weather, upcoming holiday(s), sports season, and even favorite fruit. They will be demonstrating their current understanding of what the word season means to them.
Then, ask them the more specific question, “What season in the church is it?” The season after Pentecost or Ordinary Time is the longest of the church year and a non-festival period. Kids will learn quickly and be proud of what they think is the “correct” answer – until it isn’t and you surprise them with the news that the church season has changed! It’s now Christ the King Sunday, Advent, and Christmas!
Provide seasonal clues
Take your kids on a tour of your worship space highlighting your paraments, banners, and pastoral stoles. Talk about the colors and symbols kids see.
- Ask how many places do they see something green/red/white/blue?
- Explain why are there leaves/Martin Luther/crown/candles on the banner?
- Ask a pastor to tell kids about the stole(s) they wear. They often include personal and seasonal stories.
- Show kids your worship bulletin and where they can find the words that describe the lectionary day and season.
Encourage kids to check each week to see if things are the same and to share the news with you when they see something change. Practice the skills to recognize changes in the church seasons just like a calendar tells them the changes of the month of the year or their schedule tells them the sports season.
Encourage family participation
Recognizing church seasons is not just for church – let kids spread the word to their parents and find ways to celebrate church seasons at home too! Kids may have an advantage when they ask their parents or older siblings the same question you asked them, “What season is it?” Invite families to find easy ways to use color, symbols, and prayers at home. Think color of placemats on the table, a rotating centerpiece, or changing their table grace or bedtime prayer each church season.
If you encourage these seasonal practices now, families will be ready and better understand the meanings of the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Help it be less confusing for kids – and confusing for parents to explain – by grounding them in the seasons of their church life and faith.
Exclusive from Sparkhouse this year, Reason for the Season resources to help teach your Sunday school kids about the meaning of church seasons like Advent and Christmas!