What is this mysterious gift with its hidden meaning?

I wonder what is in this wrapped package?A gift shrouded in decorative wrappings always presents an element of mystery!

Okay, so in this case, there was not that much secrecy. It was, after all, “hand-out-the-Bibles-Sunday” — so you were well aware of what object hid beneath this pretty paper.

Except, even when the paper has been removed, the gift is still mysterious!

Indeed, what is the Bible all about?

It does not provide the answer to all of our questions.

Then how are we to approach it?

Learn with the children… It started in the worship service.

Bibles are distributed in worship

This Bible must be something that is significant! After all, every third grader received a gift of one from the church. It was given out in a reverent sort of way – in front of everyone – in a memorable ceremony with each parent handing their child their gift as their name was called.

Pastor Doug showed us some of his Bibles. He has more than one! This Bible must be really important.

“Pastor

The mystery continued… we discovered that this gift was hidden beneath layers of gift wrap — five layers, to be exact.

layer one - gift wrap   layer 2 - brown

It turns out as we unwrapped, that each layer taught us something about the Bible! After the gift wrap layer there was brown paper. An old-looking wrapper reminding us this is a book of very old stories. There is mystery in wondering why some of these stores were told over and over and over again! And why were they considered so important; important enough to be written down?

The next layer is the funny pages! (Do today’s kids even know what those are?) The comics tell stories, so the mystery is: What story is God telling me, here and now? It is for us to figure out! Thank goodness for dinner table discussion and for Sunday’s Cool to help!

 
Layer 4 - gold paperThe 4th layer is shiny, gold paper. Gold is something valuable. What great value to discover that every story in the Bible points to God’s love for us!

But why!? Why does he love me? I am flawed!

 
Layer 5 - white paperAh, the last layer was a clue: it was nice, clean, new, white. No mystery here; I get a fresh chance whenever I flub up! (Thanks, God!)

 
Checking out their new Bible

Finally, we made it to the final gift: our very own copy of the Bible! We were instructed to find our current Rotation story: The Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.

How appropriate that we’ve been studying a parable! A parable is a story with a hidden meaning! I can trust that the mysteries will continue.

I wonder if I will allow the mystery to nourish me?

 
It’s time for the group photo…

The class of 2025!


Photo credits:
Last group photo taken by Tom Gardner.
Rest of photos from my archives.

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You have a hand in this

A bunch of gifts were handed out recently. Do you suppose that giving a gift will ensure that it gets used?

The 3rd graders and their families receive a new Bible during worship

Oh, if it were that easy!

Even the presentation of these Bibles was special. Will that do it? Will the memory of feeling significant and engaging in an unconventional ceremony remind those kids to pick it up and open it’s pages?

I doubt it.

Let’s review how it went (for an excuse to show the pictures) and then, we’ll talk about how to ensure your new Bible is used.


the top layer is gift wrap
the 2nd layer is brown paper

This gift was wrapped in several layers of paper – each layer having significance, which was revealed, as each layer was peeled back, during the class that happened after these Bibles were received.

The first layer was bright wrapping paper. After all, these Bibles were gifts from the congregation. And really, the Bible can be considered a gift from God! A gift giving us this picture: God is actively involved with his creation, and wants a relationship with us!

The second layer is ordinary brown wrapping paper! This old-looking wrapper reminds everyone that this is a book of very old stories; stories that have been told for thousands of years. Some of the stories are so old they were told even before people knew how to write! That is pretty old!

Ah, but we can always ask ourselves: What is God saying to me, here and now?

the third layer is the comics

The next layer is the funny pages! The comics tell stories. So does the Bible. We should always ask ourselves: why did people think this story was so important that it must be written down?

the next layer is gold paper

The next layer? It was gold paper, representing treasure. The Bible is a treasure more valuable than gold! Even gold cannot buy what we can learn from the Bible. And even more golden: In it’s pages you see that God is up to something big!

Finally! We are at the last layer – a blanket of fresh white paper. This layer represents a new start — growth. Adding to your understanding of who God is and how he wants us to “see that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God” (Micah 6:8).

And the final layer comes off… to revel the Bible!

the final layer is ripped off revealing the Bible

And the digging in starts…

A  child looks for the Gospels a child checks out the Bible notes
She knows the quick way to find the New Testament! Look at all of the special notes!

They’ve opened up the Bible! How can you be sure this happens frequently?

  • Set aside a time every day to read it. Make it a habit. You read books to your kids everyday, how about including the Bible in the line up? Or perhaps pull it out at the dinner table. Readers can take turns with a verse or two.
  • Take it with when you’re going someplace where there will be time to read.
  • How about encouragement from a non-family member? Ask one of the third graders (or any kid) when you greet each other in church: “What interesting thing did you learn from your Bible this week?”
  • Subscribe (up at the top, on the right when viewing the blog page) to receive an email every time there is a new post (which will generally include a new idea to use your Bible).

3rd graders with their new Bibles

We have hope that our children will read the Bible, not to read a book of rules, but to discover and connect with God! What are your ideas for ensuring the Bible is opened?



Photo credits:
Photos are from my archives.

Are you seeing ads? They are not from me! They are placed by WordPress, who otherwise offers a free platform from which to share lots of good-ness. If you see an inappropriate ad, please report it to support@wordpress.com. Include the URL, the date/time the ad appeared, and a screenshot of the ad.