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Give Your Children an Ephesians 6:4 Christmas

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by Jason Smathers on December 4, 2009

2009 Christmas Buying Guide

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 (ESV)

I’ve dug around and picked out the resources that will help in bringing up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. These resources we either already own, are buying for Christmas, want to buy when finances permit, or plan to buy when Delilah is old enough for them.
Picture Bibles
This edition respects the reformed tradition on images of Christ. You will not find any in this picture bible. In a time when sinful illustrations of Jesus are everywhere, this is hard to find.
Westminster Bookstore lists this on their early elementary (age 6-7) list, but we ordered one for Delilah (age 2) for Christmas. She will surely need us to read to her, but isn’t that how all reading is done with a 2 year old?
This Bible was recommended to me by brother Nathan White as another picture Bible without images of Christ.
Brother Nathan recommends this book for ages 5 and up.

Catechism

Putting the catechism to music is an incredibly effective means for memorization. Countless times I am in a conversation and a topic addressed in the catechism comes up. I find myself singing the song to myself to recall a specific doctrine.
We gave these CDs to Delilah on Easter last year and she loves them. We enjoy them too! Really a gift for all ages.
We have just the first in the series so far. It is for age 2 through the 4th grade, so it should last us a long time since Delilah is 2 now. These books give age appropriate memory verses, catechism questions, and hymns. Delilah has Genesis 1:1 and Ephesians 6:1 memorized thanks to these books. She also is getting the hang of the Doxology and knows some of the catechism questions. Plus it is just fun to hear her say ‘Doxology.’
Book two is for grades 5-8 and the third book is for grades 9-12.
Story Books [and animatic DVDs]
The Eaglet, available as a book, animatic DVD, or combo pack with both.
The Eaglet is an allegorical tale of a baby eagle that wants to fly and does so against the warning of his father. The first part of the DVD is this story. The second explains the allegory in a way that children can understand while remaining theologically sound and being very evangelistic. Finally the third part is a recap boiled down into five truths you cannot forget. See my full review here.

Recommended by Jim Elliff and Steve Burchett in an interview on Children’s Ministry. They tell us:
One “world-class” book for your use is Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. For years a rendition of this book for children, Dangerous Journey (Zondervan), has been a favorite of ours for the excellent graphics and choice of story portions. Along with this excellent tool, a DVD using the book itself is available.


Sammy and His Shepherd is a allegorical tale where Sammy (a Christian) has a wonderful Shepherd (Jesus) and befriends a sheep with a bad shepherd (a lost friend). In each of the eleven chapters, Susan Hunt does a wonderful job of using the allegory to exegete a passage of Psalm 23.
Susan Hunt takes us through Psalm 23 in a way both parents and children will learn from. Cory Godbey did a wonderful job with the illustrations, but the words to pictures ratio was a bit off to keep my two year old’s attention. I’d recommend this book for ages 5 and up. I do not mention an upper limit here because even though this book is targeted for kids, tweens, teens, and even adults will find the book entertaining and enlightening.
The Lightlings by RC Sproul
The allegory is clear for our young children and will help them grasp Biblical concepts. The story begins with creation, continues with the fall of man, and ends with the gift of Jesus. Read my full review.
The Prince’s Poison Cup is an allegory explaining atonement and is the next logical story to help children understand the Gospel.
Doctrine
These six board books teach children infants to age 3 the doctrine of God. The titles are available both as a set or individually:
This is a set of books Delilah will get getting for Christmas this year. I am quite excited about them. These are very important doctrines, explained in a way our young kids can understand. The entire book on the trinity is available for preview. The book ends with the Constantinopolitan Creed of A.D. 381 quoted in full. I am impressed.

Publisher’s Description: The Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers series introduces children ages four to eight to the fundamental teachings about God based on the Bible. The most foundational teachings of the Christian faith are presented in this four-book set at a level preschool and elementary children can understand. Colorful illustrations compliment every page of orthodox Christian doctrine, creating an enjoyable learning experience for the child. In contrast to self-centered theology and watered-down Bible storybooks, the Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers series promotes God-centered theology with simple and precise teaching while offering stability and a strong, lasting connection with the faith.
Music
If you only get one CD, be sure you have the Baptist Catechism set to music. But if you are looking for more, consider these hymn books with CDs. Each comes with a nice hardback book including the music sheet, a story, scripture, and a prayer for each song. This is a great way to really get some meaning out of the hymns.
UPDATE: The Cecil and Friends series has been removed from this list. When putting it on this list I had only read one from the series. After reading the rest of the books I am forced to retract my recommendation due to images of Christ.

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