December 1st is upon us again. Some of us have Advent traditions for Christmas and some it might be something new. We can get wrapped up in getting everything ready that Christmas morning can sneak up on us, and we end up feeling guilty that we son’t have more warm fuzzy feelings about Jesus on the day we should be celebrating His birth.

Advent means “coming,” from the Latin word advents, and marks a season of expectantly preparing to celebrate the first coming of Jesus, while eagerly awaiting His second coming to establish His kingdom, even as we celebrate His presence among us through the promised Holy Spirit.

During this month of December each week we will be looking at who God is and what He has done for us. Jesus birth is so miraculous! These are some family friendly devotions and activities to help us focus on celebrating Jesus “coming!”

  • Week 5

     

    REMEMBER & CELEBRATE

Devotional Thought for the Week:

Remembering together is an important part of developing relationships—with each other and with God. When we celebrate Christmas with family and friends, we often play games and feast together, creating lifelong memories. Let’s play some Christmas party games together and create some memories.

Our God is good. He knows us inside and out and provides exactly what we need. He intentionally designed us to be the way we are. God knows that if we don’t regulary remember His goodness we’ll forget, so He designed into the flow of life opportunities for us to come together to remember and celebrate who He is.

Throughout the Bible, God commanded His people to gather together on regular occasions for times of feasting and celebration. We gather each week as a church body to refocus our minds on who God is, what blessings He has poured out on us, and how we might best serve Him in response. Sometimes we also do this in our daily lives, as we celebrate birthdays and holidays with family and friends. By doing this we honor each other and rekindle the love we have for one another.

Today we’re going to remember and celebrate Christmas, one of the most sacred of holidays each year! How amazing is it that God actually became human, in order to save us and demonstrate His love for us. We exchange gifts to reflect the most amazing gift ever given: Jesus Christ, God’s Son. We traditionally decorate our homes with lights, festive trees, wreaths, ornaments, and ribbons and bows, all of which create an atmosphere of warmth and celebration. And we gather to recite the story of Christmas—to focus our hearts on what Christmas is all about: God’s love for His children.

Love inspired God to sacrifice His only Son. This love inspired the Son to come to earth, become a man, and suffer and die—all so we could be reunited with the Father who loves us and wants to spend eternity with us. This love is a reason to celebrate. The best news anyone has ever heard is that God sent His Son because He loves us.

We’ve seen that the advent of Christ teaches us about the virtues of hope, peace, joy, and love. These are four perfect pictures of what the incarnation represents, as well as pictures of what our lives can look like when we remember and celebrate Jesus daily in our hearts. Let’s take time now to remember God’s sacrifice and His love for us by celebrating who He is.


The Four Virtues Of Advent:

  • HOPE is a confident expectation and desire for good that is to come (Luke 2:22–40).

    • What stood out to you in this series about who God is and what He has done for us?
    • What did you learn about yourself from examining these four virtues and how God wants us to show these virtues in our own lives?
    • Share a story of how you responded to God during this series?
  • PEACE is freedom from fear and worry, a rested assurance in God’s sovereignty that comes from submitting everything to Him in prayer (Luke 2:8–20).

  • JOY is a powerful gladness that comes from Jesus—which comes from walking in the Holy Spirit and submitting our wills to His (Luke 1:26–56).

  • LOVE is choosing selfless sacrifice in service of another (Matthew 1:18–25John 3:16).


Family Experience/Activities:

– Make a list of things to be thankful for and celebrate this year! It has been a hard year for many in similar and different ways. It is good to recognize and give thanks for the celebrations! 

– Pray for those in your family maybe even have each person draw a different name to pray that they can share light in 2021 with others. 

– Make a list of things as a family you are looking forward to in 2021! Maybe even make a list of kindnesses that you would like to do together as a family in 2021. 

– Share ideas how you would like to grow spiritually as a family?!


Miss Wendy

Wendy Wagoner
Interim Director of Children’s Ministry

  • Week 4

     

    LOVE

Devotional Thought for the Week:

We’re taking an incredible journey, exploring the Advent virtues and what they tell us about the birth of Christ. We’ve seen the picture of hope God weaves throughout His grand redemptive narrative—how hope is a confident expectation and desire for good that’s to come. We’ve looked at the virtue of peace through the eyes of the shepherds—how God’s peace freed them from fear and worry. And in the heart of Mary we’ve learned about joy—a powerful gladness that comes from Jesus. Today we continue our Advent series with our final virtue: love. The biblical expression of love, defined as choosing selfless sacrifice in service of another, is seen in the response of Joseph to Mary. Love is shown most perfectly in the incarnation, life, death, and sacrifice of Jesus. Love is the reason God created the universe. Love is the reason we exist.

Last time we saw a picture of joy by looking at the life of Mary. Let’s begin to explore what love is by first looking at the story of Joseph. We’ll see how Joseph gives us a glimpse into this virtue of love and then we’ll get to the heart of the message of love by seeing how God fully demonstrated love through giving us His Son.

We use the word “love” to describe how we feel about a lot of things. I love God. I love pizza. I love my parents. When we use the word love to describe all these things, we water down its meaning because these things aren’t equal! I feel very differently about my parents and pizza. When we say we love things like pizza, what we really mean is that these things please us so we “like” them, we desire them, we enjoy them. When we say we love God, our family, or even our church, we’re really saying that we’re willing to sacrifice and give of ourselves for their benefit. When we use the word “like,” the focus is placed on us. However, when we use the word “love,” the focus is placed on the object of our love. We’re declaring a willingness to do whatever is required of us to demonstrate that love.


The Story: Joseph’s Love And God’s Love.

A. Joseph loved Mary.

i. Joseph had a choice.“She was found to be pregnant” (Matthew 1:18). In biblical times, being found pregnant before marriage wasn’t only looked down upon but could have resulted in punishment. John 8:5suggests that a woman caught in adultery should be stoned to death according to the law of Moses (Leviticus 20:10Deuteronomy 22:22). However, this isn’t what Joseph chose.

ii. Joseph was merciful.“Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:19). Joseph’s righteousness and faithfulness to God led him to be merciful toward Mary. Although Mary, on the surface, appeared to deserve punishment or public disgrace, Joseph chose mercy.

iii. God fortified Joseph. When we come to understand God’s love and His mercy toward us, we’ll be led to extend that same love, grace, and mercy toward others. Joseph’s love for God overflowed in love for Mary and drove him to treat her mercifully rather than to disgrace her with punishment or public divorce.

B. Joseph loved God.

i. God wanted even more from Joseph.“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’ ” (vv. 20–21). While Joseph’s love for God and Mary caused him to act mercifully, God expected even more from Joseph.

ii. Joseph sacrificed for God.God asked Joseph to do something really difficult: Joseph risked his reputation and married a woman whom everyone else believed to be unfaithful. In doing so, God asked Joseph to share her apparent guilt. Additionally, He asked Joseph to be the father to a son who wasn’t his. In a culture where shame was the worst thing possible, can you imagine choosing this?

iii. Joseph obeyed God . “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife (v. 24). Joseph’s love for God drove him to obedience—even costly, sacrificial obedience. By taking Mary to be his wife, Joseph sacrificed his reputation, his comfort, his agenda, and even his future.

iv. Joseph’s example points us to God.Joseph’s obedience reminds us of Jesus’ love for God the Father and His love for us. Because of this love, Jesus obediently took on flesh and united Himself with sinful humanity—even to the point of death. He gave up His position in heaven, His comfort, and even His life for our sake.


The Gospel: God’s Love Through Jesus.

A. God gave us His Son.

i. God is merciful.Joseph’s sacrificial love reminds us of the Father’s love that propelled Him to give up His only Son. Instead of punishing us for our sin, He has chosen to be merciful and gave us His Son to take the punishment for us.

ii. God’s love is sacrificial.“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God has shown His love for us in giving up the most precious thing He could: His only Son. This is the definition of love: to give up the most important thing for the sake of another.

B. Jesus gave us Himself.

i. Jesus became a man.“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The official term for when God the Son became human is “incarnation.” This word means “to become flesh.” “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14a).

ii. Jesus sacrificed in becoming a man.In taking on flesh, what did Jesus give up? God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, became a man—became like one of us. In leaving heaven, God “made himself nothing” (Philippians 2:7), God “made him who had no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21), and He “became poor” (8:9).

iii. Jesus understands us. Jesus loved us so much that He became human so He could understand our weaknesses and what we go through.

iv. Jesus died to pay for our sins.The incarnation wasn’t the only sacrifice Jesus made for us. He became man so He could pay the penalty for sin that humankind owed. Jesus died on the cross as a man, because only a human could pay for human sin.

C. What is the message of the gospel?

ii. Peace, love.Jesus, the sinless God-man, gave His life as a payment for our sins.

iii. Love, joy. All we have to do is accept the free gift of salvation from Jesus who died to make it possible.


Reflection Questions: 

Where is your love? Joseph responded by demonstrating his love for God through righteousness, mercy, obedience, and self-sacrifice. This is what it means to love God. God demonstrated His love, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). What will you do with this verse? What will you do with this message?

How will you respond to the love of God and His Son who was sent to be the Savior of the world?

  1. If you’ve never placed your faith in Jesus, will you accept the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers you?Will you acknowledge that you are a sinner who needs the payment for sin that Jesus provides? Will you choose to see Jesus as “God with us,” the Son of God who, through His death and resurrection, has saved us from our sin and purchased a place for us in heaven? Will you devote your life to serving Him?
  2. If you’ve already placed your faith in Jesus, will you show God’s love to others?How will you choose to share Jesus this Christmas and beyond?

Family Experience/Activities:

– Write a letter to each of your children recounting a special Christmas memory. Describe the scene in vivid detail, sharing details you remember. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, allow love to lace your words together.

– Bake a Birthday cake for Jesus, the Son of Man, who left the splendor of heaven to take on human flesh. Encourage your children to think of ways they might say “Happy Birthday” to Jesus by showing love to someone around them.

– Shovel a neighbor’s driveway or do some unexpected yard work, praying for them as you work.

– Create a special moment with your children affirming them and expressing your great love for them.


Miss Wendy

Wendy Wagoner
Interim Director of Children’s Ministry

  • Week 3

     

    JOY

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
    that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 
    John 3:16

Devotional Thought for the Week:

Scripture reflects truth about God’s actions and unchanging character. Today we’ll learn about the virtue of joy. A lot of rejoicing happens in and around the Christmas story. One of those joyful proclamations can be found in the book of Luke in what’s called the Magnificat, or the Song of Mary. In response to the Word of God through the angel Gabriel, Mary sang this song of praise. Stand and read it together.

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” (Luke 1:46–55)


The Virtue: Joy

A. What is Joy? In light of the Christmas narrative in the Bible, we define joy in this way Joy is the appropriate response of the believer to the “good news” of Jesus. Or simply, joy is the powerful gladness that comes from Jesus. Here’s another biblical definition: an inner sense of peace, contentment, and trust; God is the source.


The Story: Mary’s Joy

A. The Lord is with you.

i. The angel’s message. “The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you'” (Luke 1:28). After centuries of waiting, God spoke! God hadn’t abandoned His people. He spoke to Mary, a young and seemingly insignificant Jewish girl in a small town called Nazareth God is near. He isn’t distant or disinterested in our world and lives. God enters our world all the time and reveals Himself in personal ways. In fact, Jesus’ name Emmanuel means just this: “God with us!” God still speaks today; are we ready? Are we listening?

ii. Mary’s response. “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be” (v. 29). There’s an openness to Mary’s response. She “wondered.” She didn’t let her “trouble” or fear stand in the way of what God was about to do. There was an element of faith being expressed here. Mary suspended judgment, wondering what kind of greeting this might be, because she believed that God is still alive and active in her world. The song she sang came from a hopeful heart that trusted in God the Savior (v. 46).

B. The Son of God will be born by you.

i. The angel’s message. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High … His kingdom will never end” (v. 32–33): The Messiah King was on the way! “Son of the Most High” and Son of “his father David” were royal titles from the Old Testament that pointed to a Savior who would come from the line of David and deliver God’s people from their bondage, oppression, and trials. And Mary would be the mother of the Son of God!

ii. Mary’s response. “How will this be … since I am a virgin?” (v. 34) Mary knew it was impossible for her to be pregnant because she had lived a pure life. Although she was engaged, she wasn’t yet married and had never been with a man. If the message from the angel was true, it would require something miraculous Mary wondered how God would fulfill His word, not if The nature of her question demonstrated her faith. Her wonder wasn’t so much doubt as anticipation. Although the message didn’t make sense to Mary, she believed God was at work.

C. God’s power will not fail.

i. The angel’s message. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (v. 35, ESV). The angel’s response to Mary confirmed it would be a work of God Himself. Unlike any story in the Old Testament, God wasn’t calling a patriarch or prophet or any other human being to deliver His people. God was about to do something personal and amazing! This baby growing inside Mary would surely be the Savior of Israel and King over all of creation. Because God was at work, nothing could stop this!

ii. Mary’s response. “I am the Lord’s servant … May your word to me be fulfilled” (v. 38). Although she was “troubled” and “confused,” Mary’s confident faith shaped her very identity. She called herself “the Lord’s servant.” This was a sign of surrender welcoming God to do His miraculous work in and through her. Throughout, Mary maintained her joy.


The Gospel

A. Mary’s song reveals truth about salvation (Luke 1:46–55).

1. Salvation is the work of God. “The Mighty One has done great things” (v. 49).

2. Salvation is a reversal of all that is wrong with this world.

  • He is merciful to those who fear Him and He scatters the proud (vv. 50–51).
  • He brings down powerful, unjust rulers but exalts the humble (v. 52).
  • He fills the hungry and sends away the rich and selfish (v. 53).

3. Salvation is through the promised Messiah (vv. 54–55).

  • The promise spoken of here is a reminder of the promises given to Abraham (Genesis 12:2–317:3–822:17–18). From the very beginning, God promised to send a Savior into the world who would save the world from sin and death and restore all that God had created.

B. Mary’s song is full of joy! Mary’s joy comes from knowing that God broke into our fallen world through His Son, Jesus Christ, and that, through Him, the whole world will be redeemed. Brokenness and pain will be reversed and the world will once again bring glory to God the Creator! Seeing and accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ results in joy. This joy is so great that it transcends our troubles and confusion and empowers us to wait with hope and peace for what has been promised: the redemption of the world.

Share a time you were able to feel joyful even though your circumstances weren’t good.

4. OUR RESPONSE. Where is your joy?

A. Faith. Perhaps today is the day you believe and receive Jesus for the first time. Keep Mary’s example in mind. Faith is not having all the answers or understanding everything. Faith is believing that God is at work and choosing to surrender to the work of God through Jesus, God’s Son.

B. Joy. If you’ve already believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and received Him as your Savior, today is a day to celebrate what God has done. Today is a day of great joy!

C. Anticipation. Perhaps you’ve accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and are truly joyful, but there are troubling or confusing things in your life. If that’s you, today is a day to remember God’s promise that one day He will reverse all that is wrong with this world and make all things new and right. Today is the day to look forward to how God will fulfill His promises in our world.



Reflection Questions: 

  • What’s the most memorable event you’ve been part of at Christmastime?

  • What is joy? Steer the conversation toward the definition given during today’s message: “Joy is the powerful gladness that comes from Jesus.”

  • Read Luke 1:26–56. What part of Mary’s story stands out most to you? Where do you see her joy?

  • Where did God show up in today’s story? Help students consider all three persons of the Trinity: Luke 1:263132354749.

  • Why do you think Mary was able to respond with such faith, peace, and joy? How did Mary’s firm identity as a child of God play into her response?

  • Where have you been able to see joy in your own life? Where God has shown up?

  • What keeps you from experiencing the full joy God extends to you through Jesus?

  • When God shows up, He leads us to share that experience with others, just as Mary and Elizabeth shared their joy together. Who in your life needs to hear about how God is working in your life?



Family Experience/Activities:

– Creatively transform your area to invite a time of worship response with God. This could be as simple as dimming the lights. While lighting candles is a traditional way to respond during carols, there are other creative ways to worship. You might use LED tea lights or candles. Before you begin singing, read through the lyrics of the song on the “Joy to the World” Lyrics image and identify a few things to remind the kids of today’s lesson.

– as a family memorize Luke 2:10 “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” 

– Go caroling in your neighborhood or to some older people that you know to bring the joy of Jesus’ birth to your surrounding community. 

– Make snow angles outside or use watercolors to paint angles inside. Reflect on the angels’ role in the nativity story, declaring the birth of the Prince of Peace (Luke 2:14). 

– Call or ask grandparents about what Christmas was like when they were kids. Share family memories together and consider how the joy of Jesus’ birth– the Alpha and Omega– has been a continuous cause for celebration year after year, thought customs and traditions may change. 

-Listen to international Christmas music, and dance joyfully in worship to our King. Keith and Kristen Getty have some wonderful Irish Children’s Christmas Songs. Celebrate the diversity of tribes and languages of all who join together to proclaim the joy of Jesus’ birth. 


Miss Wendy

Wendy Wagoner
Interim Director of Children’s Ministry

  • Week 2

     

    PEACE

    “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”

    (Luke 1:68-75; New International Version)

Devotional Thought for the Week:

Christmas is a time to count blessings. This week, take time to reflect on your life and the many ways that God has shown Himself to you. How has God provided for you in a time of need? How has God protected you at a time of danger or crisis? When has God given you peace in the midst of fear or uncertainty?

As you reflect on the ways and times God has shown up in your life, fill out the acronym “P-E-A-C-E” below with a word or phrase that will remind you of those moments. Write a sentence or two about each occasion. When you’re finished, you should have an encouraging list that gives you confidence and peace to boldly proclaim God’s good news and accomplish whatever He is calling you to in this season of life and ministry. Additionally, you’ll have an inspiring list of examples and illustrations to use as you talk with your students about peace with God.

P:
E:
A:
C:
E:

After completing your list, read through it and meditate on God’s faithfulness. Spend some time in prayer praising and thanking God for the favor He has for you and celebrating the peace you have in Christ.


The Virtue: Peace.

A. What is peace? Freedom from fear and worry.

B. Biblical passages: Numbers 6:25–26Matthew 5:911:28–30Mark 9:50John 14:2716:33Romans 8:62 Corinthians 13:11Philippians 4:6–7

Spiritually. It had been 400 years since God sent a prophet to Israel. Prophets had been a normal, expected part of God’s interaction with Israel. But something significant happened. Israel had disobeyed God and fallen into such regular idolatry that God judged their sin in a massive and radical way. They lost their nation and were taken into Babylonian captivity. When they returned, their relationship with God was different. They tried to make a new start, but the prophets didn’t come. God was silent.

Externally. Ever since the time of the Babylonian captivity (605 B.C.), the nation of Israel had been subject to a foreign nation. In the days of Jesus’ birth, Israel was occupied and controlled by the Romans. Overlooking Bethlehem stood one of King Herod’s greatest and most dominating palaces, where hundreds of Roman soldiers were stationed.

Culturally. The shepherds were on the lowest rung of society and spent long days and nights with nothing to do but think. But one night, their thinking was interrupted by an angelic host proclaiming peace through a baby, the Messiah, born in Bethlehem. At first the shepherds were terrified! (Luke 2:9). But after hearing the good news we call the gospel, these frightened shepherds bolted toward Bethlehem to see the newborn King and spread the good news of His birth to everyone.

Life was full of worry for the shepherds and all the people of Israel. Universally, people worry about matters of spirituality, politics, and life closer to home. But that special night, everything changed and they were the first to hear the good news. What was going to change for the world?


Jesus And Peace.

The types of peace that Jesus brings.

1. Spiritual peace: Between us and God.

a. Sin separates us from God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus came to give us peace! Our sin makes us deserving of death. But God loved humanity so much that He sent His Son, Jesus the Messiah, to pay the penalty for our sin.

b. How do we get this peace? “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Spiritual peace comes through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. When we place our faith in Jesus, God forgives our sin and makes us righteous through Christ. We can live with peace knowing that God has forgiven us and is with us always!

Share about a time in your life (or someone you know) that was filled with chaos or hopelessness, but you sought after God and were filled with His peace. Describe the difference in your life before and after.

2. External peace: Between us and others.

a. Knowing Jesus as Savior, we are changed. We no longer live for ourselves but for God and for others. For instance, when we receive the love, forgiveness, and compassion of God in Jesus Christ, we become more loving, forgiving, and compassionate. This overflows into the lives of others and the world around us.

b. How do we get this peace? “When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them” (Proverbs 16:7). External peace comes through obedience , living the way God commands us by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we choose to live life the way God designed it, life is good (even our enemies are at peace with us). But when we ignore God’s instructions, things get rough.

3. Internal peace: While we wait for Jesus to return.

a. No promise of an easy life. Until Jesus returns to this world and establishes His kingdom, there will continue to be hunger, disease, injustice, pain, and death. However, because we know that God is in control and will one day make all things right, we can be patient and have peace now, even in the midst of trials and tribulation.

b. Suffering as a path to peace. Peace isn’t the absence of trials. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4).

c. How can we get this peace? “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7). Internal peace comes through prayer and a regular connection to God the Father through Jesus Christ. When life produces problems and pains, go to God with those concerns. We can place our worries in His strong hands and know that, in the end, He will make all things right.


Relevant Passages on Peace:

  • Jesus is our Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
  • Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid; He leaves His peace with you (John 14:27).
  • Heed His commandments and your peace will be like a river (Isaiah 48:17–18).
  • There is no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22).
  • The work of doing what is right will be peace (Isaiah 32:17–18).
  • The Lord will speak peace to His people, but let them not turn back to folly (Psalm 85:810).
  • Great peace have those who love His law (Psalm 119:165).
  • God will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him, because he trusts Him (Isaiah 26:3–4).
  • God’s purpose is for peace on earth and goodwill toward men (Luke 2:13–14).
  • Let your requests be made known to God, and His peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6–7).
  • Our peace with God is through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
  • Jesus is our peace. Apart from Him, we do not have His peace (Ephesians 2:1417).

Heavenly Father, You sent Your angels to proclaim good news to the shepherds. Although they were terrified, You filled them with Your peace. Father, while there is so much in our world and in our lives that might frighten us too, we pray that You would fill us with Your peace. Help us to focus on the truth of the good news and to turn our eyes and worries away from the concerns of this world. Father, give us Your peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Suggested worship songs: “Christmas Offering” by Casting Crowns, “Angels We Have Heard on High” by Chris Tomlin, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by Hillsong.


Reflection Questions:

  • Where do you go to find peace in your life? (Think about a real place.) What makes that place so peaceful?

  • Read Luke 2:8–20. What do you think it might have been like to be one of the shepherds that first Christmas?

  • What did the angels say that turned the shepherds’ terror into excitement and even courage to proclaim the good news of Jesus? Where do you see peace in the shepherds?

  • Why does Jesus bring us peace? What has Jesus done to bring peace into our lives? This is an excellent place to clarify the gospel and explain the work of Christ on the cross: Romans 3:23 says that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 6:23 says that the wages for our sin is death. Romans 5:8 says that God demonstrated His love for us by dying for us. Romans 10:9 says that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved. The result of all this is found in Romans 5:1, which says that since we’ve been made right with God through faith, we can have peace!

  • Where could you use peace in your life this Christmas? Review the four types of peace that Jesus provides: spiritual, external, internal, and eternal.

  • What will you do this Christmas to actively pursue the peace Jesus brings? Review the four responses in the lesson: faith, obedience, prayer, and proclamation.

  • Whom do you know who really needs the peace of God in their life right now?

  • What could you do to share the good news of Jesus and introduce others to the peace that He brings? Discuss with students some creative ways they could share the good news with others this Christmas.


Family Experiences/Activities:
The activities below range from fun-filled family activities to service-oriented projects that you can do with your children or any size family unit. Pick one or more activities from the suggested list below to put your hope into action this week.

– Make snowflakes by cutting out patterns on simple white paper. On one side, write out prayer notes from your family, community, or around the world. One the other side write out some of the verses that talk about peace. Hang them up somewhere reminders to pray as a family for the items listed in your prayer wonderland!

– Act out the nativity story as a family. Even practice a few times and record it to send to a loved on that you might not be together with this season to bring a bit of God’s peace into their day.

– Choose to sing a gospel-centered Christmas Carol before bed each night in December. Choosing to sing for a week the same carol to help young children and picking a new one each week. These songs have a way of bringing peace of kids at night that center our heart and attention on Jesus.

– Memorize a Christmas verse of scripture as a family.

-Make a nativity ornament and drop it off in the mailbox of an older person this holiday season who might need some encouragement and reminder of peace.

-Write a letter to Jesus, responding to what your’ve learned about Him adn Thank Him for coming to Earth as our Savior. Younger kids can draw a picture and place the letters by your nativity set.


Hope filled for HIS return!!
Miss Wendy

Wendy Wagoner
Interim Director of Children’s Ministry

  • Week 1

     

    HOPE

    The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

God revealed to His people that the Messiah would be the offspring of the woman and that He would come from the family of Abraham. Beyond this nothing else was known. Through David, God now revealed that the coming Messiah would be a King to rule His people. Through this revelation, God gave the people renewed hope.

Where do you place your hope?
Is your hope defined by God’s Word Do you believe what the Bible says about Jesus and your need for a Savior?

Is your hope in Jesus and what He has done for you on the cross? Have you placed your trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord?

Is you hope in Jesus strengthening you to wait patiently for God’s plan, which He invites you to play a part in? God has had a plan operating among humankind since the day of creation and we can join in that plan by becoming part of His family. We await the fulfillment of His plan as spelled out in His Word. We participate in that plan by telling others about Jesus. In the Old Testament, God’s people waited for His coming. But we’re waiting for His return. And while we wait we must let others know about this amazing hope we have in Jesus!

The activities below range from fun-filled family activities to service-oriented projects that you can do with your children or any size family unit. Pick one or more activities from the suggested list below to put your hope into action this week.

  • Decorate the Christmas Tree Together. As you hang ornaments, reflect and talk about how the evergreen tree symbolizes life in the middle of winter even as Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. When you glance at the lights, remember that Jesus is the light in the darkness. 
  • Bake Cookies for your mail carrier, garbage collector, firehouse, police station or others who regularly care for the needs of you and your community. Write a personal card celebrating the birth of the King of Kings, who was born for the high and the lowly. 
  • Make Christmas Cards for families in the NICU or hospital whose holiday season is filled with worry and grief. Pray that Jesus, the One who serves, may fill their hearts with Hope. 
  • Participate in choosing an ornament off the Youth for Christ Christmas Tree in the KIDMIN check in area to bless kids who won’t be with their families this Christmas. 
  • The Giving Manger is a book by Allison Hottinger about a family whose father made a wooden manger at the beginning of December. “Jesus spent his whole life loving and serving and giving. He asked for nothing in return but our love.” The father challenges his children to offer gifts to Jesus by helping/serving others. Each time an act of kindness is done by a member of the family a piece of straw is laid in the manger. By Christmas the manger was full of straw representing the  love that was shared by acts of service. Maybe you want to create a Giving Manger this month to prepare your family to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  

There are many ways to celebrate the “coming” of Jesus Birthday! Each week I’ll be sending some ideas and resources for you to lead these experiences in your household. If you would like to be on my mailing list, please subscribe on the sidebar or keep checking the website each week!