Monday, December 17, 2018

The Christmas Story

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.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Angels Tell the News

Luke 2-8:20

On the night Jesus was born, shepherds were watching their sheep.  Suddenly, an angel stood before them, and God’s light shined all around.

The angel said, “Do no be afraid, I bring joyful news to all people.  Today, in the town of Bethlehem, a Savior has been born!  He is lying in a manger.”

Then a choir of angels appeared.  They sang, “Glory to God in the highest!  Peace and goodwill to everyone on earth!”
The shepherds rushed to Bethlehem.  There they found baby Jesus.  They told Mary and Joseph what the angels said.
As they returned to their sheep, the shepherds told everyone what they had seen and heard.  All along the way, the shepherds shouted praises to God.

Discussion Questions

  • Who told the shepherds about Jesus’ birth? The angels
  • Where did the angels tell the shepherds they would find the baby? Lying in a manger
  • What was the first thing the shepherds  did?   They rushed to Bethlehem to see baby Jesus.
  • Was Mary going to have a baby?  Yes
  • What did the shepherds do after they visited baby Jesus. They returned to their sheep and told everyone what they had seen and heard.


Dear God, thank you for the story of the angels who told the good news, and for the shepherds who went to see baby Jesus.  Thank you for sending your son, baby Jesus.  Amen 

Memory Verse

“She will name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.”   Matthew 1:21

Activity:  Which Animal

Choose one family member to be a stable keeper. The stable keeper stands on one side of the room, and the rest of the family stands on the other side. Ask the stable keeper to think silently of an animal that might have been in the stable the night Jesus was born. Then the stable keeper should make the noise of that animal. The other family members now pretend to be that animal and make its sound while moving like that animal, across the room to the stable keeper. Once all the animals have made it to the stable keeper, the stable keeper goes to the opposite side of the room. Play continues as the new stable keeper thinks of an animal and makes the sound. (If your stable keeper needs help thinking of an animal, whisper a suggestion to her: cow, horse, donkey, dog, cat, chicken, sheep, bird, mouse, etc).

Talk About: 

  • What is a stable?
  • What kinds of things might you see in a stable besides animals? 
  • What might a stable smell like?
  • Why was Baby Jesus born in a stable?
  • Who visited him at the stable? 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Jesus Is Born

Luke 2:1-7

Mary loved Joseph.  Mary and Joseph were going to be married soon.  Joseph lived in Nazareth, but his family lived in Bethlehem.
A new leader named Caesar ordered all people to go back to their homeland.  He wanted to count all the people in his kingdom.  So Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem.
Mary was going to have her baby soon.  When they arrived in Bethlehem, they looked for a safe place to sleep, but all the inns were full.
Finally, a man was able to help them.  He said, “I do not have any rooms left, but you are welcome to sleep in the stable.”
Joseph made a warm place for Mary to rest.  While they were there, little baby Jesus was born.

Mary wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and gently laid him in a manger.

Discussion Questions

  • Where did Mary and Joseph live? Nazareth
  • Why did Caesar want all people to return to their homeland? He wanted to count them in his kingdom
  • Where did Mary and Joseph go?   Bethlehem
  • Was Mary going to have a baby?  Yes
  • Where did they sleep? Stable
  • Did Mary have the baby in the stable? Yes
  • What did they name the baby boy?  Jesus


Dear God, thank you for birth of Jesus.  Your love is such a gift!  Amen 

Memory Verse

“She will name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.”   Matthew 1:21

Craft:  Baby Jesus in a Manger Handprint

  1. Paint your child’s hand with brown washable paint. Push it against a white piece of paper and let dry.
  1. Take some yellow paint and make a circle with outward strokes. This is going to be the hay that the baby will lay on.
  1. Cut out an oval and a circle from white paper. Color the face skin color and the body with a blue crayon. Draw the eyes and a mouth with a black marker. Glue them on top of the yellow paint and you’re done!

Baby Jesus Song

To the tune of "Are you Sleeping Brother John”.

Baby Jesus, baby Jesus,
please don't cry, please don't cry.
Don't you know I love you, Don't you know I love you,
Very much, very much.

Baby Jesus, baby Jesus,
born to us, born to us.
Come let us adore Him, Come let us adore Him.
Joyously, joyously.

Baby Jesus, Baby Jesus   (cup and rock your arms) 
Born to us, Born to us
You came to save us, You came to save us   (raise hands to heaven)
Amen, Amen.           (prayerful hands)

Baby Jesus, Baby Jesus   (cup and rock your arms)
We love you, We love you   (hug yourself)
We're going to heaven, going to heaven  (point upwards)
Thank you, Thank you   (prayerful hands)

Monday, November 26, 2018

An Angel Visits Mary

Luke 1:26-38

God sent the angel Gabriel to visit a young woman.  Her name was Mary.  She was scared.  She had never seen an angel before.
Gabriel said, “Don’t be afraid.  You are very special to God.  You will become pregnant and give birth to a son.  You must name him Jesus. 
He will be called the Son of the Most High God.”
Mary asked, “How can it be so?  I am not married.”Gabriel answered, “With God, all things are possible.”
Mary said, “I love God.  I will do what he has chosen me to do.”

Discussion Questions

God sent an angel to visit Mary.  What was his name? Gabriel
What did Gabriel tell Mary? That she was going to have a baby boy.
What did Gabriel tell Mary to name him? Jesus
Mary wanted to know how this could be without being married?  Gabriel told her with God all things are possible.
Did Mary love God?  Yes and she told Gabriel that she will do what he has chosen me to do.

Dear God,  thank you for the story of the Angel that told the good news.  Thank you for sending your son, Jesus.  Amen

Memory Verses
“God loves us and sent his son”  1 John 4:10

Science: Flashlight Lantern 
One clean plastic milk jug Scissors
A flashlight with batteries A Variety of sticker

Guide Your Child To: 
Help you cut off the top portion of the jug above the handle. 
Which Animal? 
Decorate the sides of the jug with stickers. 
Set the flashlight in the jug with the light on, pointing down. 
Hold the lantern by the jug handle to carry it, or hang it by the handle. 
Talk About: 
Where does light come from? Who made light? 
When do you need light most? What kinds of light to you have in your house? 
What kind of light was in our story? What happened? 

Unwrap the Gift 
Place enough treats in a box so there is one for each family member. Wrap the box with several layers of wrapping paper. Have the family sit in a circle. Instruct them to pass the gift around the circle while you play Christmas music. When the music stops, whoever is holding the gift unwraps ONE layer of wrapping paper. When all the layers are unwrapped, let the everyone enjoy the treats inside. 
Talk About: 
What was God’s very best gift to us?
Who is Baby Jesus?
How did the angels find out about him?

How did the shepherds know where to find him?
What are some ways we can thank God for Baby Jesus? 

Monday, November 12, 2018


“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”  Psalm 106:1 

As the name indicates, Thanksgiving is a time for us all to pause and give God thanks for the blessings we have received in the past year. 
Each one of us on the Children of Hope staff is blessed by the precious little ones you bring to this school. We are thankful for them, and for all of you — parents and caregivers — for giving us the opportunity to teach them the basics they’ll need for Kindergarten, but more importantly, about Jesus. 
This issue of “Hope @ Home” is simply an assortment of ideas for you to use or be inspired by to praise to the Lord for His goodness, and to help teach our children to do the same. 

Thanksgiving Thank You Note 

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show others how much they’re appreciated. With a little help, preschoolers will enjoy writing thank you notes to special family members and friends this holiday season. The Thanksgiving thank you note activity is a wonderful exercise to help preschoolers take stock of the blessings in their life and is certain to become a cherished holiday tradition for both the thank you note writer and the recipient. 

Thanksgiving Tablecloth Family Activity 

Give thanks as a family this holiday season by creating a uniquely personal tablecloth for your Thanksgiving table. For this family activity, invite family members young and old to preserve festive drawings and sentiments of thanks with crayons on a paper tablecloth, prior to sitting down to your Thanksgiving meal. This activity could also be done using paper placemats instead of a paper tablecloth. 

Activity: Make a Thankfulness Turkey 


Several sheets of construction paper in fall colors (brown, orange, red, & yellow) Black marker
Scissors Glue 

Pinking shears or decorative scissors (optional) Directions: 
Trace your child’s foot on a brown piece of paper and cut each one out. This part will be the head and body of your turkey — the heel is the head and the toes are the belly. 
Draw on the eyes with the marker. Write on the body “(child’s name) is thankful for...” 
Using the pinking shears, decorative scissors, or regular scissors, cut out 5-6 “feathers” from the additional construction paper. It seems to be easiest make them “football” shaped and each one should be about the same length as the body. 
Cut out the red “waddle” and an orange triangle for the beak from the scrap paper, and glue them on the face. 
Help your child write one thing on each feather that he is thankful for. Glue one end of each feather to the back side of the body so you can see the writing from the front. 
This makes a great decoration for Thanksgiving, as well as allows us to think about all the things with which God has blessed us. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Burning Bush

Exodus 3

When Moses was a man, he left the palace.  Pharaoh was still being mean to the Israelites.  Moses tried to protect them, so Pharaoh tried to kill Moses. 
Moses escaped from Egypt.  He went to a place called Midian and became a shepherd.
One day, while Moses was watching his sheep, he saw something strange.  A bush was on fire, but it wasn’t burning up.  From the inside of the bush, God spoke, “Moses, bring my people out of Egypt.  Take them to a new land that I will show you.  This new land is called Canaan.”
Moses was worried that Pharaoh would not listen.  God told Moses to throw his staff on the ground.  When he did, the staff became a snake!  God told Moses to reach down and grab the snake.  It became a staff again!  God said, “I will use signs like this to show Pharaoh I have sent you.”
“But I cannot speak very well,” complained Moses.  God said, “Do not worry.  Your brother Aaron is a good speaker.  I will send him with you.”

So Moses returned with Aaron to Egypt.  When they arrived, Moses told the Israelites what God had said.

Discussion Questions

  • Pharaoh tried to kill Moses.  What did Moses doHe escaped Egypt and went to Midian to become a shepherd.
  • What happened while Moses was caring for his sheep? There was a burning bush that talked!
  • Who was speaking from inside the bush?   God
  • What did God ask Moses to do?  Take his people from Egypt  
  • Moses was worried that Pharaoh would not listen.  God told him he would use special signs to get Pharaoh to listen.  What is one example? The staff turned into a snake
  • Who helped Moses speak to Pharaoh? Moses’ brother Aaron


Dear God, thank you that you are all-powerful and the beginning of everything! Thank you that you care about us and that you love us!  Amen 

Memory Verse

“Be strong and brave.  The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”   Joshua 1:9

Song: My God is so Big

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do

The mountains are His, the rivers are His
The stars are His handiwork too
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do, hey, hey

My God is so great, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do

The mountains are His, the rivers are His
The stars are His handiwork too
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty

There's nothing my God cannot do

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do

The mountains are His, the rivers are His
The stars are His handiwork too
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do

There's nothing my God cannot do
There's nothing, nothing, nothing He can't do

Monday, October 29, 2018

A baby in a basket

Exodus 1 - 2:10

Many years passed.  A new pharaoh ruled over Egypt  He did not know about the good things Joseph had done.
By now there were many people in Jacob’s family.  They were called Israelites.  
Pharaoh did not like the Israelites.  He made them work hard.  One day, Pharaoh decided to get rid of all the Israelite baby boys.
A woman named Jochebed had a baby boy.  She wanted to save him.  So she gently laid her baby inside a basket and placed him in the river.  The baby started to cry.
Pharoah’s daughter saw the basket and opened it.  She gently picked up the baby and hugged him.  “I want to keep you,” the princess whispered.  She named him Moses because she pulled him out of the water.
Miriam, the baby’s big sister, had been watching nearby.  She said to the princess, “I know a woman who can help you take care of the baby,”  So Miriam ran to get her mother.  Jochebed was so happy!

Discussion Questions

  • What were the people called in Joseph’s family? Israelites
  • Did Pharaoh want to get rid of all the baby boys? Yes
  • Jochebed had a baby boy.  She wanted to save him.  What did she do?   She laid him in a basket and placed him in the river
  • Who found him?  Pharaoh’s daughter 
  • What did she name him? Moses
  • Miriam (the baby’s big sister) told the princess she knew a woman who could care for him.  Who was it.  Jochebed
  • Did Jochebed return him to the palace when he was a young boy?  Yes


Dear God, thank you for this story of protection.  You love us and keep us safe from harm.  We thank you for that blessing.  Amen 

Memory Verse

“Be strong and brave.  The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”   Joshua 1:9

Activity:  Baby Guessing Game

Place as many baby items on a tray as desired, such as a pacifier, bottle, baby food jar, spoon, blanket, clothing, etc. Cover the tray until your family is ready with paper and crayons or colored pencils. Then show the tray of items to the children for a few minutes and tell them to try and memorize as many of the items on the tray, and then take the tray away. The children can either write the names of the items (older children), or draw small pictures of all the items that they can remember on the tray. Then give a red crayon or pencil to place an X over the top of all the ones that they see on the tray as you show them the tray again! See who remembered the most items. All the rest of the players will make a BABY CRY sound as the game is over!

Song:  Jesus Loves the Little Children

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children
Of the world.

Jesus died for all the children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus died for all the children
Of the world.

Jesus rose for all the children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus rose for all the children
Of the world.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Joseph saves his people

Genesis 42-46

For the first seven years, Joseph was in charge of gathering extra food for the people of Egypt.  That way, when hardly any crops grew, there would be plenty to eat.
The seven bad years began, and people in other countries had no food at all.  Even Joseph’s family did not have enough to eat.  So Joseph’s father sent his sons to Egypt to buy some food.
When the brothers arrived in Egypt, they went to Joseph and bowed down to him.  They did not know he was their brother.  But Joseph knew.  Joseph sold them some food.  Then the brothers left to go home.
Sometime later, they returned to buy more food.  Just as Joseph had dreamed, they bowed down to him—again.
“I am your brother!”  His brothers were afraid!
But Joseph told them not to be afraid.  “God meant it for good.  He had a special plan for me,” he said.  They all hugged.
Joseph’s brothers rushed home.  They told their father what had happened.  Jacob was so happy to hear that Joseph was alive.  The whole family moved to Egypt.

Discussion Questions

  • What was Joseph in charge of in Egypt? Gathering extra food for the first seven years
  • What happen the when the bad years began? People from other countries did not have enough to eat, even Joseph’s own family
  • Did Joseph’s brothers know who sold them the food?   No
  • Did Joseph know who they were?  Yes
  • Joseph’s brother returned another time to buy food.  How did he know for sure they were his brothers? Joseph had a dream they would bow down to him again.
  • Were the brothers afraid?  Yes, but Joseph told them don’t be afraid God meant no harm!


Dear God, thank you for this story.  We pray that we are always faithful to follow God and forgive others.  Amen 

Memory Verse

“Lead me in your truth, teach me, for you are God my Savior.”   Psalm 25:5

Activity:  A Family Reunion

In our story Joseph was reunited with his family.  In today’s time, we often have a gathering called a family reunion to reconnect with family we don’t see very often.

Take time to plan a small family reunion!  Nothing fancy….gather at the park or picnic in your living room.  Invite your grandparents or other family members over to share a snack or meal.
During this time discuss the bible story!  

Forgiveness Activities:

MINDING MONEY: Scatter money over a large designated area inside your home. Divide your family into two teams and have children take turns running after ONE money bill and bringing back to offering plate for their team. Continue until all the money has been collected. Then count the money and see which team has the most money.

FORGIVING MUSICAL CHAIRS: Play musical chairs in the usual way but when someone is OUT (left without a chair), that one will share an idea about who or what we may need to forgive or ask forgiveness for and then will stand or sit in the middle of the musical chairs as the game continues.