Advent Reading, Week 3: Shepherds

Advent reading week 3

Turn off most of the lights in the room. SAY: Two weeks ago we learned that God’s people were waiting, and waiting, and waiting for a Saviour. Then some prophets came and told them God’s plan for sending a baby to be born in Bethlehem. As you light the first purple candle, say together: God’s people waited for the promise to come true. SAY: Last week we learned that God sent angels to Mary and Joseph, telling them about the baby that Mary was going to have. The baby named Jesus! As you light the second purple candle, SAY together: God’s promise came true through Jesus. “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good … Read More

Advent Candle Reading, Week 2: Angels

Advent reading, week 2

Turn off most of the lights in the room.SAY: Last week we learned that God’s people were waiting, and waiting, and waiting for a Saviour. Then some prophets came and told them about God’s promise to send a baby that would be born in Bethlehem. As you light one of the purple candles, SAY together: God’s people waited for the promise to come true. SAY: Finally, it was time for the promise to come true. God was ready to send the baby Saviour into the world, but he wanted to make sure the baby was going to have the right mother! He chose Mary. “God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a [young woman] pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The [young woman’s] name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” “Mary … Read More

Advent Readings, Week 1: Prophets

Advent reading Week 1

Turn off most of the lights in the room. SAY: God made some promises to his people a very long time ago. He promised that they would never be alone, that he would protect them and give them a future. But the greatest promise of all was that he would send someone to save them. So God’s people waited for the promise to come true. They waited for a Saviour. They waited, and waited, and waited some more. The people who shared God’s promises with his people were called “prophets”. One prophet, named Isaiah, had this to say: “But the Lord will still give you proof. A virgin is pregnant; she will have a son and will name him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 CEV) ASK: Do you know what pregnant means? It means to have a baby. So the promise from God that Isaiah shared was that a young woman was going to have a baby boy. As … Read More

Celebrating St. Nicholas Day…a unique way to present Santa to your kids!

santa

What do we do with Santa Claus at Christmas? Perhaps you are perfectly happy incorporating him into your Christmas celebration, or perhaps you are looking for a new way to teach your kids about him. If this is you, read on for a unique way to present him this Christmas. by Cheryl Ikenouye I remember seeing St. Nicholas Day (December 6) on the calendar when I was a child. However, we never celebrated it and I didn’t know much about it until I was in my 30’s. During that time, we lived in BC while my husband worked on his Master’s degree at Regent College in Vancouver. Those were difficult years for me – being away from family, friends, familiarity, and sunshine for nearly half of the year. They were good years, though, because we were forced to make our own traditions as we celebrated many holidays without extended family. … Read More

18 Ways to Create an Uplifting and Wondrous Advent

Create a Christ-centered advent tradition!

Are you looking for simple ways to create an uplifting [read: not crazy] and wondrous Christ-centered Advent? Read on for a list of 18 ways to do so, ranging from simple enough for toddlers to meaningful traditions for teenagers. Advent is a time of waiting in expectation for the coming Christ, both as we remember the original wait for the child and as we anticipate his return. Advent traditions differ from regular Christmas traditions in that they typically include something to do or read DAILY, as opposed to something you do ONCE, like choosing a Christmas tree. Most of these ideas are for the 25 days of December, leading up to Christmas Day. (The one at the bottom is the easiest – you light Advent candles only once per week!) This is a long post, I know. Please please PLEASE do not try to do all of these, or even … Read More

5 Faith-routines parents can develop with their kids

5 ways to build a faith routine for your family

How many times in your life have you heard the phrase “children thrive on routine”? Personally, I’ve lost count. It is true that children need routine in their lives. I can be a very spontaneous and unscheduled person, but I’ve learned to give my kids what they need because I’ve seen what happens when they don’t have it. For our children that thrive on routine, their faith-life should also be rich with tradition and routine. When it becomes habit to have family time or sleep late in lieu of worshiping as a family, does that affect their faith? When we become so rushed that we forget to pick up the devotional or Bible, does that affect their faith? (My 2 year old son has taken to gesturing wildly at the devotional book on the table until I pick it up and read. Schooled by a toddler!) When we replace the … Read More

Nurturing the Caregiver in your child

caregiver

My middle son is the kind of boy that always wants to help, but never wants anyone to look directly at him. I can envision him being the man that sets up the classrooms every Sunday but never wants to be on stage. I have a sneaky suspicion that he is going to connect with God best through serving, through being a Caregiver. Caregivers are those that give immediate care to those in need.  Do you have a child that is naturally inclined this way? Maybe they’re the first to rush in with a hug when someone is hurt or they love baking cookies for the neighbours. The very best thing you can do to help them nurture that gift as a way to minister to people AND to connect with God, is to live out a Caregiver lifestyle yourself. I’ve struggled in the past with how to help my … Read More

40 Lent Activities for Families (that are simple and FUN!)

The season of Lent covers the 40 day period before Easter. Each year it starts on a different date (because Easter moves around), although always on Ash Wednesday. If you are looking for Lent activities for families (either your family, or the families in your ministry), check out this comprehensive list! It is said that the 40 days reflect Jesus’ time of fasting and prayer in the wilderness after his baptism. Many people sacrifice something during Lent (like coffee, sweets, or shopping) as a way to tune their hearts back to God. The point of sacrificing something important is to remember that God wants to be the most important aspect of our lives. When we come to depend on a sugary snack rather than prayer during the mid-afternoon slump, Lent reminds us of our waywardness and calls us back to our first love. (Want to understand Lent deeper? Read the ultimate … Read More