Whether you are two years old or forty-two years old, it can be easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. All you have to do is watch television, walk through a store or listen to the radio. With little ones it can be a challenge to help them understand the true meaning of Christmas amidst all of these messages. We love anything that helps us focus on God’s love and the spirit of Christmas including the book One Christmas Bear.
The book is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. The holiday-shaped board book enables little ones to count the joys of Christmas with Christmas Bear and his arctic friends. Little ones will love to count seasonal elements, such as crunchy candy canes, colorful ornaments, and frosty snowflakes, and parents will appreciate the emphasis on family, friends, and the sweet depiction of the reason for the season—Jesus’ birth!
Author, Anne Vittur Kennedy has been delighting young children with her humorous and playful books for thirty years. Her awards include American Library Association’s Notable Books List, Teacher’s Choice, The Green Earth Book Award, and The Green Prize for Sustainable Literature
In One Christmas Bear, not only did we enjoy practicing our counting and identifying animals, we found it fun to do the action or act out whatever the animals were doing too. For example, “Two funny foxes making angels in the snow,” we made snow angels on the carpet too. This can be especially helpful when there has been too much sugar in the hot cocoa!
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:8-14
Create a countdown with your family or small group. Whether it is a special book, song, or doing an activity that will help you reflect on the meaning of Christmas, create a countdown together. First, establish the number of days that you are going to do. If it is your first time doing one or you have younger children, you might want to start with something small like ten or twelve days. If you are ambitious and really love getting into the Christmas spirit, you might do the entire month! Have each small group member or family member contribute something to the countdown. It can be a scripture they want to read, an activity they want to do or a craft they want to make.
Count your blessings. It is easy to think of all the things we don’t have as we look through Black Friday ads and make our Christmas wish lists. But just like the little Christmas bear counts his friends, it can be helpful for all of us to count the things that God has blessed us with. Take time this week to write down one thing each day that you are thankful for or share as a group over dinner as a family or small group. When the conversation shifts to what people want for Christmas, try to steer it back to having everyone share what they are thankful for.
Pray for your friends. God has given each of us friends that can help us grow in our relationship with him. Take time this week to ask how you can be praying for them. Meet up for coffee or pray over the phone with a friend or someone in your small group. If you have children, pray with them and have them share what they are thankful for about one of their friends or pray for a specific friend’s needs.
We were given a copy of One Christmas Bear. All our thoughts and opinions are our own.
With beautiful illustrations and simple, rhyming text, One Christmas Bear is perfect to help little ones learn to count, and wonderful for families to enjoy together. Count the Blessings of Christmas! Follow the merry adventures of a polar bear and the artic animals as they enjoy winter fun! From crunchy candy canes and frosty snowballs to friends to play with and a family to love, your little one will enjoy counting God’s wonderful gifts.