Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Birth of Jesus

Paraphrased from Luke

A long time ago, in the town of Nazareth, lived a young woman named Mary.  Mary loved God very much.  She was engaged to be married to Joseph, who was a carpenter.
One day, while Mary was at home, an angel suddenly appeared.  Before Mary could say anything the angel told Mary that she was favored by God, and that God was with her. Mary was surprised.  The angel quickly tried to reassure Mary, "Do not be afraid!"  the angel said.  "God has found favor with you.  You will have a baby boy, and are to give him the name Jesus."
Mary was confused, she was not yet married to Joseph, so how could she have a baby?  The angel thought that this might concern Mary so he said, "The Holy Spirit will perform a miracle, and because of this your baby will be called  the Son of God."
To Mary's surprise the angel had more exciting news;  "Even your cousin Elizabeth is going to have a son in her old age.  Many thought that she couldn't have children, but she is already pregnant.  Nothing is impossible with God."
Mary couldn't believe what she was hearing, she didn't know what to say.  She realized that she was trembling, and knelt down.  When she was finally able to speak she said, "I am the Lord's servant, and I hope everything you have said will come true."   The angel then disappeared, and Mary was left alone.
Soon after, Joseph found out that Mary was going to have a baby.  Joseph was confused and upset by this. But an angel came to him in a dream and said, "Joseph do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.  The child Mary is going to have is God's son, and you are to give him the name Jesus."
When Joseph woke up he remembered what the angel had said.  He knew that everything was okay, and he wasn't upset anymore. 
In those days the government decided that they should count everyone that lived in that area of the world.  So Joseph had to take Mary to his town, Bethlehem to register.  It took Mary and Joseph a long time to get to Bethlehem.  They didn't have cars back then, so it probably took them a lot longer to get there.  This was very tiring for Mary because she was soon going to have a baby.
When they reached the town, all the inns were full and there was nowhere that they could stay.   Someone offered a stable for them to stay.  Mary and Joseph were thankful that they at least had a place to lay down.  It was warm, and there was plenty of straw to lay on.  That night an exciting, wonderful thing happened.  Mary and Joseph had a baby!  But it wasn't just any baby, it was Baby Jesus!  The creator of the whole world, the King of Kings, the one who would save the world.  The little baby boy fell asleep in Mary's arms and she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger.

Discussion Questions

  • Where did Joseph go to be counted?  To Bethlehem
  • Who went with him? Mary, because she was engaged to him.
  • What happened while they were in Bethlehem? It was time for Mary to have the baby.
  • Did she have a bed for him? No, she laid him in a feed box.
  • What was the baby’s name?     Jesus!


Dear God,
Thank you for the story of Baby Jesus.  Thank you for teaching us that you do what you promise, and you help us to always be happy.

Bible Verse for December

“I bring you great news; Jesus is born.”
Luke 2:10-11

Home Connect

Sit down as a family and talk about family birthdays.  What do you do to celebrate the birth of each child in the family?  What made each child’s birthday good news?  What makes Jesus’ birthday good news?  It is so awesome Jesus was born to save us from our sins!  What a gift we have in Jesus!

My Recipe Center

Remember Jesus' birth by making “babies” in swaddling clothes.  Remind your child to wash his or her hands.  Open a can of breadstick dough, and have your child pull the breadstick apart.  Help your child wrap a hot dog in each portion of the dough, leaving the top of the hot dog unwrapped as the baby’s head.  Bake according to the package directions.  Say a prayer of thanks with your child, and enjoy the snacks.  

  • Tell about what you think is exciting about Jesus’ birth. 
  • Who can you tell that Jesus was born?

 Daily Challenge

This week, your child learned that Jesus was born.  Encourage your child to commit to one of the following  challenges to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Help your child weave faith into life this week and follow through on the challenges.

  • Make a present for Jesus such as a craft, picture, or card.  Tell Jesus that the present is for his birthday and that you are glad he was born to help us.
  • Sing “Silent Night” with your family.
  • Sit in a circle with your family and tell each other why you’re thankful for Jesus’ birth.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

God Dwells With Us

John 1:1-14

Before the world began, there was the Word.  The Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  All things were made through him.  Nothing was made without him.  In him there was life.  That life was light for people of the world.  The Light shines in the darkness.  And the darkness has not overpowered the Light.

There was a man named John who was sent by God.  He came to tell people about the Light.  Through him all people could hear about the Light and believe.  John was not the Light, but he came to tell people about the Light.  The true Light was coming into the world.  The true Light gives light to all.

The Word was in the world.  The world was made through him, but the world did not know him.  He came to the world that was his own.  But his  own people did not accept him.  But some people did accept him.  They believed in him.  To them he gave the right to become children of God.  They did not become his children in the human way.  They were not born  because of the desire or wish of some man.  They were born of God.

The Word became a man and lived among us.  We saw his glory — the glory that belongs to the only son of the Father.  The Word was full of grace and truth. 

Discussion Questions

  • Who did God send?  A man named John
  • Who was John teaching about?  He came to tell the people about the Light. The Light represents God
  • The Word is coming from who?  God
  • The Word is full of what?  Grace and Truth
  • Jesus is God!  True


Dear God,
Thank you for teaching us that Jesus is the Son of God.    Amen.

Bible Verse for December

“I bring great news; Jesus is born.”   Luke 2:10-11

Home Connect

With your child, think of neighbors or friends who don’t have a church home.  Then go to their houses, call them on the phone, or send cards and invite them to join your family for a Christmas service at your church.  Christmas is coming, and Jesus wants everyone to know that he is God and he loves everyone!


  • What would you say about Jesus to someone who doesn’t know him?
  • What do you like most about knowing Jesus?  Tell others about those things.

My Recipe Center

Make this simple snack with your child.  Gather a package of crescent rolls, cheese cubes, and pieces of fresh broccoli.  Help your kids stuff the crescent rolls with the other ingredients and bake as directed on the package of rolls.  Remind your child that God became a man and lived with us, but that he is still God “inside”, just as the broccoli and cheese are inside the rolls.


  • What are things you know about Jesus that make him special?
  • When you believe in Jesus, his light shines in you.  What about that makes your special?

 Daily Challenge

This week, your child learned that Jesus is God.  Encourage your child to commit to one of the following  challenges to share the news that  Jesus is God.  Help your child weave faith into life this week and follow through on the challenges.

  • Cut a cross shape from construction paper.  Write “Thank You” on it, and keep it in your room as a reminder of God’s love.
  • Look at the night sky or a picture of the stars, and tell Jesus why you’re thankful he’s a light in the darkness.
  • Have your mom or dad take you up some—place high, like a big hill or even to the top of a slide.  Tell your mom or dad how Jesus lived in heaven and then came down to earth to help us.

God Cares for Hagar and Ishmael

Genesis 21:8-21

Isaac grew and became old enough to eat food.  At that time Abraham gave a great feast.  But Sarah saw Ishmael making fun of Isaac.  (Ishmael was the son of Abraham by Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian slave.”) So Sarah said to Abraham, 
“Throw out this slave woman and her son.  When we die, our son Isaac will inherit everything we have.  I don’t want her son to inherit any of our things.”

This troubled Abraham very much because Ishmael was also his son.  But God said to Abraham, “Don’t be troubled about the boy and the slave woman.  Do whatever Sarah tells you.  The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac.  I will also make the descendants of Ishmael into a great nation.  I will do this because he is your son, too.”

Early the next morning, Abraham took some food and a leather bag full of water.  He gave them to Hagar and sent her away.  Hagar carried these things and her son.  She went and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.

Later, all the water was gone from the bag.  So Hagar put her son under a bush.  Then she went away a short distance and sat down.  Hagar thought, “My son will die.  I cannot watch this happen.”  She sat there and began to cry.

God heard the boy crying.  And God’s angel called to Hagar from heaven.  He said, “What is wrong, Hagar?  Don’t be afraid!  God has heard the boy crying there.  Help the boy up.  Take him by the hand.  I will make his descendants into a great nation.”

Then God showed Hagar a well of water.  So she went to the well and filled her bag with water.  Then she gave the boy a drink.

God was with the boy as he grew up.  Ishmael lived in the desert.  He learned to shoot with a bow very well.  He lived in the Desert of Paran.  His mother found a wife for him in Egypt. 

Discussion Questions

  • Abraham had two sons.  One was Isaac.  What was the other son’s name?  Ishmael
  • What did Ishmael do to Isaac at the feast?  He made fun of Isaac.
  • This upset Sarah and she told Abraham that they had to leave.  Where did Hagar and Ishmael go?  The desert.
  • They ran out of water in the desert as Hagar began to cry what happened?  An angel appeared telling her not to worry God would provide and showed them a water well.


Dear God,
Thank you for teaching us that you are always close to us.  You are with us on good days and bad.  We know we can count on you to hear our prayers.  Amen.

Bible Verse for November

“So I say to you. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will open to you.”    Luke 11:9

Outdoor Family Fun

Try this game when you and  your child are in the car during the week.  Have your child close his or her eyes, listen for a sound, and tell you what it is.  Then have your child open his or her eyes and point to where the sounds was coming from.  Play the game a few more times.  Mention that God has even better ears than we do, and repeat the Bible Point together.  God hears us when we pray.

Homespun idea

Play a few games of Hide-and-Seek in your home.  Explain that whoever hides will help count to 10 and then call, “I need you.  Come find me.”  (You may want to hide first to demonstrate the game.)  When you find each other, say the Key Verse together: “Ask and God will hear you.”  Have fun taking turns and repeating the Key Verse.

Daily Challenge

This week, your child learned that God hears us when we pray.  Encourage your child to commit to one of the following  challenges to talk God.  Help your child weave faith into life this week and follow through on the challenges.

  • When you’re in the car, sing your favorite song or make up a song to sing to God because he hears you no matter where you are.
  • In the morning, say a prayer for each person in your family.
  • Blow some bubbles.  As you blow each bubble, say a prayer to God.  Imagine that your prayers are floating up to God, just like the bubbles!