Wednesday, December 12, 2012

                                Christmas Eve Check List:
  R Have You Planned for A Christmas Eve Worship Nursery?

On Christmas Eve most children older than about three belong in the sanctuary.  That is where they hear the story, experience the candle-lit sanctuary, and sing the carols in the special way they are sung on Christmas Eve.  But the church does a service when it provides a nursery for infants and toddlers.  It allows the parents to focus on worshiping with their older children rather than managing a tiny one who is not ready for the sanctuary experience.  And, it saves the congregation from the distraction of a hopelessly antsy baby or toddler.  Of course babies and toddlers are welcome in the sanctuary, but the parents have an option other than “make it work in the sanctuary” or “stay at home.”  Only parents can decide whether a given child on a given day needs to be in the nursery or the sanctuary.  However, the rule of thumb is that the nursery is for children three and under.

Since it is Christmas Eve and the children are excited – even when they are not sure exactly what they are excited about – it is important to be prepared to welcome them in a calm way.  Providing simple activities, maybe a Christmas craft for the older ones, and a clean, loving environment are key.  Families whose children receive this attention know that the church cares about them.  Visitors finding such care are likely to return.

To staff such nurseries, enlist the help of volunteers who can attend services at other times and/or offer the nursery staff double time pay.  One larger church offered staff double pay AND fed them a light brought-in supper between the two services.  The staff knew it was needed every year and often asked to be included in the Christmas Eve staff early in the fall.  The result was nurseries staffed by familiar folks who were happy to be there.   

                                    So even at this late date,
 check out the plans for the nursery on Christmas Eve.

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