Looking for a fun movie to take your kids to this Holiday Season? One that promotes loyalty to friends, forgiveness, courage and being open to the dreams God has for your life. Then this movie is for you.
In “Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.” http://www.thestarmovie.com/site
While the animation is not quite up to Pixar standards, it is still well done and compliments the voices and action quite nicely. The story is above average, however it takes some liberties in the actual Biblical story in order to convey the narrative from an animal’s perspective. I don’t worry too much about this because as your kids grow, under your influence, they will become aware of the accurate Biblical details, (remember, contrary to most contemporary versions, even those acted out in children’s plays at church, the wise men did not actually appear on the night of Jesus birth, etc.).
If you take advantage of it, this movie will give you the chance to talk to your child about several important topics:
Loyalty between friends, as Bo and his sidekick Dave come to a point where their loyalty to each other is tested.
Forgiveness, as seen in the closing moments with Thaddeus and Rufus.
Courage to press on under difficult circumstances and apparent setbacks in life, as Bo struggles to follow his dream throughout the movie.
Wisdom in following God’s lead, as Bo ultimately chooses to help Mary.
Trust in God’s plan, as Mary and Joseph discover their new life that begins with the conception of Jesus.
Passion to move forward with your dreams, with the awareness that God may move you in a different direction that will, in the short or long run, be better than any dream you could possibly imagine.
I and my family enjoyed this movie and I think you will too. So, scoop up your kids for an afternoon or evening movie this coming weekend. When you do, you will give them a fun outing that will produce discussion opportunities long into the future!
You may be thinking, Roanoke Jones isn’t a Christmas series. I have to use Elevate’s Professor Playtime’s Christmas Shop Of Wonders every Christmas because it is the only dedicated Christmas series from Elevate. Well, we are here to tell you that thanks to the uniqueness of Elevate’s curriculum series, you can use many different themes or lessons during Christmas time in your children’s ministry. One series FC Kid’s used last year is Roanoke Jones: Ace Detective!
Unpack God’s Word with the Animated Bible Lessons
The Bible Lessons in Roanoke Jones easily fit with Christmas and help the kids see the bigger picture of the Christmas Story. Leading up to lesson 8, Roanoke Jones Kids talks about the mystery of who Jesus is. This is a good lesson to build up to and use for the Christmas experiences at your church. Since it is the last week of the series, and it is important to go in order during this series, you will definitely want to make sure you do week 7 the week before you plan to show week 8 for Christmas. And Roanoke Jones Jr. is about God creating the world – one of the perfect tie-ins to the most creative time of year! (Did we mention there’s a weekly craft for Jr.?)
Transform The Kid’s Area Into A Victorian Steampunk Christmas
You can transform any environment to feel like Christmas with just a few Christmas trees and some snow. Here at Fellowship Church, we used Roanoke Jones during Christmastime last year in FC Kids. In order to turn this series into an old-fashioned Steampunk Christmas series, we added regular Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and wreaths to our Roanoke Jones sets. We also bought some fake snow and quilting batting and hung it around the room and on the set. Whether you go with red and green or browns and creams, we think the key to this transformation is to keep the decor simple with what you already have, but add specific elements that will make the most impact. Here a some ideas:
Instead of cutting out paper and foamcore snowflakes, you can cut out cog shapes to make your “snowflakes” and hang them from the ceiling or your trees with fishing wire.
Make one main “tree” in the entry to your kids area to tie in the theme and get their attention. We found tons of inspiring pictures of steampunk ‘trees’ online.
Ask your stage leaders and check-in team to change their hounds-tooth jackets into red or green fitted jackets or their black bowler hats into festive top hast, or ask them to add some small Christmas pins or solid colored scarfs to their regular costumes.
Wrap different sized boxes in brown butcher paper and red or white twine to place under the Christmas trees.
Use wrapped ‘presents’ under the tree on your set as a way for kids to “draw” how many points their team receives for each element or game played during the service. Or make/purchase simple brown tags to hang on the tree with red ribbon that have different point numbers on them.
We have many Pinterest Boards where you can glean additional ideas! We used Victorian and Steampunk decorations for our sets but you can use any Christmas theme. To learn about more decorating ideas for Roanoke Jones and for Roanoke Jones Christmas, you can pin from the following boards:
Celebrate the Season with New Christmas Music Videos
With Roanoke Jones Digital, we have included the two original Christmas music videos we wrote in FC Kids! The children in our ministry loved these upbeat songs that celebrate the birth of Jesus and the true meaning of the season. These Christmas-themed videos are simple enough to use with any Christmas theme you pick and are sure to be perennial favorites. You can also find additional children’s Christmas Music Videos on ElevateKidsNow.com.
All of this is included so that you can easily transform the Roanoke Jones series into your Christmas series. We would love to see how you are decorating your children’s environment for Roanoke Jones and/or for Roanoke Jones Christmas! We would also love to hear any life change stories from your weekend or Christmas experiences. You can share your pictures and stories with us on our Facebook page. We are praying that God does big things in and through your ministry this Christmas!
What’s your favorite Elevate series to use for Christmas?
As a child I remember the “Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar” my family used, where little chocolates and scripture readings sat waiting for me behind little windows that were opened each day. It’s funny how this simple cardboard stand made the joyful anticipation of Christmas even greater while helping me to learn even more about the Christmas story.
Because this is such a fond memory of mine we wanted to recreate that joyful feeling with your children this holiday season too!
Over the next 24 days here is what your children will learn:
Week One: The Light Is Promised The promise of the Christ and the promises of God.
Week Two: The Light Is Revealed God revealing His plan to bring Jesus into the world.
Week Three: The Light Shines Jesus’ birth is announced to the world.
Week Four: The Light Must Be Shared The light of Jesus is to be shared around the world.
As a parent, I encourage you to have a special treat that follows the completion of each Scripture reading and video. Nothing big, just something as simple as a piece of chocolate. It will add to the excitement, and it will make a memory and tradition your child will cherish forever.
Not experiencing the amazing benefits of LeadershipForKids.tv yet? No problem! Sign up today for free and utilize it to make this special lifetime memory with your children. Simply go to Leadershipforkids.tv and begin this special Christmas journey today! You can also download the LeadershipForKids.tv App off iTunes or Google Play for easy access on your phone or tablet.
Each week of Professor Playtime's Christmas Shop of Wonders we will unwrap a different Bible verse natural slimming pills. Actually, it will unwrap itself! Check out the stop motion animation used to showcase the Bible verses in this series!
Just for fun, each week Professor Playtime's Christmas Shop of Wonders will include stars racing to the top of a tree! The animation, created using After Effects, will take us up through the branches, over ornaments and around lights. Who will win, Red or Yellow?
We tried to pull just a little bit of this Professor Playtime skit to show you, but every part is just too much fun to cut! So… we decided to share an entire skit. This skit is part of a lesson on patience. It has a toy shop, princesses, talking candy, a warrior riding a giraffe, and an astronaut with issues. So really, you need to see the whole thing! Enjoy!
I love Christmas music! It gets me in the holiday spirit and brings back so many wonderful memories from my childhood. In fact music is one of the first things many people think of when they think about Christmas. Because music is such an essential part of Christmas, we decided that Professor Playtime needed more music than the typical Elevate series.
We wanted to stick to the classic Christmas carols that so many of us grew up with, but there was a challenge that we faced. The melodies of most Christmas songs are difficult to sing, especially for kids. So we began a tightrope walking process of staying true to the original song while making the melody easier for kids to sing along to. We love how they turned out! This series includes Joy to the World, Deck the Halls, Angels We Have Heard on High, Jingle Bells, and Silent Night. Check out our version of Angels We Have Heard on High!
Check out these special effects the Elevate team created for Professor Playtime’s Christmas Shop Of Wonders! From talking toys to a very special snowglobe that helps us tell each Bible story, this series really is FULL OF WONDERS!