Christmas is a perfect time to invest in your child's spiritual growth. Amid the toys and tinsel, it offers the opportunity to give gifts that may impact your child's entire life. Whether you have babies, elementary kids, or teens, consider what gifts will steer them closer to Christ. Here are the ones that have had the greatest impact in my family's life.
1. The Jesus Storybook Bible. A good children's Bible is paramount in helping your child learn about God. And truly, there is no better children's Bible than The Jesus Storybook Bible. Not only is it filled with illustrations children love, and told in a simple way anyone can understand, but it uncovers deep spiritual truths you find in any other children's Bible. Do your family a favor and buy not only the beautiful hardback version, but the version that comes with a CD. That way, you have multiple ways to immerse your child in God's Word.
Recommended Age: Baby to adult. (In fact, there is a version of this Bible printed just for teens and adults, called The Story of God's Love for You.)
2. The Bible in audio format. For teens, aside from their own print or ebook copy of the Bible, an audio version is essential. Fill their heads with the Word! One excellent audio Bible is The Word of Promise, featuring such top notch actors as Jim
Lou Diamond Phillips. It's available in several formats: CD, MP3, and Audible.
Recommended Age: Teens and adults.
3. Adventures in Odyssey. My children often go to sleep listening to an audio drama, and no audio dramas have had a more positive impact on their spiritual life than the Adventure in Odyssey radio dramas by Focus on the Family. There are about a gazillion of them, and each discusses Christianity in an entertaining way kids - and families - love. I can't recommend them enough.
Recommended Age: Preschool through adults. (A few Adventures in Odyssey audio dramas are labeled as a little more mature, and not suitable for very young children to listen to by themselves.)
4. Torchlighters. This excellent DVD series teaches kids about Christian martyrs. Does that sound too mature? Or scary? Trust me, it's not. My children absolutely love this series, and it's taught them to think about their own walk with Christ and how they can best serve him. Read more about Torchlighters here.
Recommended Age: About age 5 through adult.
5. What's in the Bible. This DVD series is unlike anything I've ever seen before. It teaches not just what's in the Bible, but basic theology, and how the Bible applies to our everyday, modern lives.
Recommended Age: Preschool through elementary - although teens and adults who like playfulness will enjoy them, too.
6. Hymns for a Kids Heart. If you don't sing traditional hymns at church, this series is a huge help in bringing hymns to your children. Why bother to teach them hymns? Because traditional hymns teach deep spiritual truths, and make getting through difficult times a bit easier. (What did the apostles do in prison? They sang hymns.) Each of these books is beautifully illustrated, tells the story behind the hymn (why and how it was written), gives complete lyrics and sheet music for each hymn, and comes with a CD containing every song in the book (sung mostly by a children's choir).
Recommended Age: Baby through elementary, though teens and adults will probably enjoy the stories (and certainly the hymns), too.