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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Ways to Teach Your Children the Meaning Of Christmas - The Birth of Jesus

During the Christmas season, it's easy to get caught up in the commercialism of this very special holiday. One day, we're enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with our families.  Then we blink a time or two and it's Christmas Eve night.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are two important holidays, but if we stop long enough to think about it, it's what happens in between that is most important.  It's in the days and weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that true worship, teaching, and learning is most valuable.  This is the time when we can and should take advantage of every opportunity to teach our children and grandchildren why we celebrate Christmas.  If we aren't careful, they'll think it's all about Santa and gifts.  I'm not suggesting that you knock Santa out of the season.  Santa was part of our family Christmas tradition and that tradition created lots of sweet Christmas memories for our kids.  What I am suggesting is that Jesus have His highest place of honor in your home and in your lives during the Christmas season and all year long.  Our kids are adults now but if you ask any of them about the meaning of Christmas, they will all tell you that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus.  There are many ways to keep Jesus at the center of your Christmas celebrations.  Here's a list that I hope you will find helpful as you teach your children about Jesus during the Christmas season.

Ways to Teach Your Children the Meaning of Christmas
Ways to Teach Your Children the Meaning of Christmas

Ways to Teach Your Children the Meaning of Christmas - The Birth of Jesus

1.  Read the Bible with your kids.  

Children's Christmas books are great resources and we'll mention those later in this post, but it is vital that we teach our children the value of the Bible.  The Bible is God's Holy Word.  There is absolutely no written work that is more important than the Bible.  Read the actual Bible before you read any other books with your kids.  Someone recently suggested that we read one chapter of the book of Luke every day beginning on December 1st.  By Christmas Eve, we will have read about the life of Jesus from His birth to His resurrection.  I think that's a great idea.  If you don't own a Bible, you'll find a good one here, but you can start reading now online at BibleGateway.com.

2.  Use these Nativity Story Sequencing Cards by Rainy Day Mum.

Using sequencing cards to teach the nativity story is a good way for your kids to remember key events in the order in which they happened.  Allow your kids to read the story from the Bible first or listen to you read it.  Then, let them use sequencing cards to retell the story.  Handling the cards and placing them in order helps kids become physically engaged in the story.  They are likely to remember more about the story.

3.  Take your kids to a live Nativity Scene.  

Every year, one of our local churches creates a live nativity scene.  Sometimes, there are several in our local region.  One church creates a village in their parking lot.  Visitors can drive through it in their cars or walk through it on foot.  Visiting a live nativity scene is a great interactive way to celebrate the season.  Some even use live animals!  Find one in your area and take your family to visit it.

4.  Memorize Christmas Bible Verses as a Family

Scripture memory is something I need to do more - a lot more.  Teaching children to memorize Bible verses will help them keep the Word in their hearts and it will lay a foundation for lifelong scripture memory.  If you're not sure where to start, Charissa over at The Wild, Wild West has created a printable for children to color and memorize scripture verses.  Hop over there here and grab your printable.

5.  Teach a Bible lesson that includes the prophesies of Jesus' birth.  

Teaching this Bible lesson by Cheri Gamble will help children realize the sovereignty of God's Word, the Bible.  Children will learn about the prophesies of Jesus' birth in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, The Book of Psalms, and Micah.  They will learn that the prophesies came true so they can trust that God's Word is true.

Ways to Teach Your Children the Meaning of Christmas
Ways to Teach Your Children the Meaning of Christmas

6.  Bake a birthday cake for Jesus.  Host a birthday party.

Children love birthday parties.  Since Christmas is all about celebrating Jesus' birthday, plan a birthday party for Jesus.  Bake a birthday cake with the kids.  Let them help as much as possible.  You can go all out and add ice cream, balloons, or whatever you like to celebrate this grand occasion.  Before the party, contact your church office about sponsoring a family in need.  Get a list of needed items.  Then, take your kids shopping for that family.  Bring your items back to wrap for the birthday party.  After the party, take the gifts to your church, to the family, or to a contact person who will deliver the gifts to the family in need.

7.  Play Christmas games that celebrate the birth of Jesus.  

Christmas games are a great way to celebrate and remember the facts about Jesus' birth.  This particular Christmas Trivia game includes 5 categories:  From the Bible, Christmas Carols, Christmas Movies and Books, Christmas Foods, and Random Facts.  You can print the game cards and the game board here.

8.  Participate in the annual Operation Christmas Child Shoebox campaign.

Every year, your family can fill shoeboxes with small toys and other needed items for children all over the world.  In our local area, we have several drop off locations where we can deliver our shoeboxes.  Then, the shoeboxes are delivered to children all over the world.  Operation Christmas Child is part of Samaritan's Purse Ministries.  The mission states:

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to children in need around the world.  Through this project, Samaritan's Purse partners with the local church worldwide to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and make disciples of the nations.

You can learn about this ministry that has impacted the lives of children around the world for many years here.  You can even fill a shoebox online.

9.  Sing Christmas songs.

Sing Christmas songs with your kids.  It doesn't matter if you can carry a tune or not.  Your kids won't care.  They care that you are singing with them.  If you aren't sure which songs to sing that glorify God and point your kids to Jesus, here is a great list of 25 songs over at Open the Bible.  

10.  Do Christmas crafts together.

Doing Christmas crafts together creates opportunities for quality family time.  This is a good time to work on crafts that focus on Jesus' birth.  Here are several suggestions:

10 Minutes of Quality Time offers 10 crafts that focus on the Nativity and Jesus' birth.

Here are 30 Christ-Centered Christmas Activities for Children by Bombshell Bling

Check out these 51 Sunday School Christmas Crafts for Kids by Twitchetts.

There's More:

30+ Awesome Christ-Centered Christmas Crafts, Activities, and Homeschool Resources by They Call Me Blessed

10 Adorable Christian Christmas Crafts Your Kids Will Love by Equipping Godly Women

40+ Religious Christmas Crafts for Kids by Kids Craft Room

Star of Bethlehem Craft for Kids by Encouraging Moms at Home

35+ Jesus' Birth Crafts That You Have to See by Mama of Many Blessings

20+ Advent and Nativity Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers by Crafts on Sea

25 Christ-Centered Christmas Crafts for Kids by Southern Made Simple

11.  Read Christmas Books

The first thing on this list is to read the Bible together.  Read the Bible first.  Then, read other Christmas books about the birth of Jesus with your kids.  There are so many to choose from but here are a few suggestions.

The Berenstain Bears and the Christmas Angel by Mike Berenstain

Joy to the World - Veggie Tales Board Book by Pamela Kennedy

Humphrey's First Christmas by Carol Heyer

Cozy Nativity:  A Touch and Feel Christmas Story Board Book

The Christmas Story for Children by Max Lucado

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

The Berenstain Bears, The Very First Christmas by Jan and Mike Berenstain

The Story of Christmas by Vivian French

If He Had Not Come by Nan F. Weeks

The Treasury Collection of Christmas Pop Up Books

We hope the ideas offered in this post will help your family stay focused on Jesus during this Christmas season and the seasons to come.  

Merry Christmas, 

Tina

Ways to Teach Your Children the Meaning of Christmas
Ways to Teach your Children the Meaning of Christmas


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Overload: We are not blessed in busyness.

If you follow this blog, then you are probably someone who cares about others.  Hopefully, you are a believer in the Gospel of Jesus.  If you are, then you are most likely someone who is focused on serving others in various ways.  If one of your spiritual gifts is service, then you are probably not just focused on serving others, but you are driven by it.  Or maybe you are someone who, no matter what your strengths and weaknesses might be, you just can't say "no."  Listen closely.  We are not blessed in busyness.  We cannot serve effectively if we are overloaded. 

Overload:  We are not blessed in busyness.
Overload:  We are not blessed in busyness.

Stop striving and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10
Remember this.  Overload is bad.  We can't keep flying through life as fast as we can.  Even race cars need pit stops.  We all need margin so that we have time and room for pit stops.  We need time to rest.  We need time to refresh anything that is worn out whether it be physical or mental.   

Overload:  We are not blessed in busyness.

It helps to determine where we are overloaded.  Here are a few of the most common areas in our lives where we might experience overload.

*Our Activities (Activities are good but we don't have to do EVERYTHING.)

*Our Choices (Choose wisely.)

*Our Commitments (It's hard to fulfill our commitments if we are overloaded with too many of them.)

*Our Finances (Stay out of debt.)

*Our Information (Have you ever heard of "information overload?"  We live in a world of constant notifications.  I actually have most notifications turned off of my computer and my phone.  I don't need to know the second someone sends an email or every time someone posts on social media.  All of that can't wait.)

*Our Work (A good work ethic is important, but too much work takes time away from our families.  We have to be careful to keep our priorities in the right order.)
Overload - Ways We Are Overloaded

What do we do when we are overloaded?  What we should do is take a break.  In our current culture of overload, we are sleeping less and resting less.  When electricity was discovered, light invaded our night time.  Sleep is important for good health.  Not getting enough rest is not healthy and our bodies suffer.  Overload causes both physical and spiritual health problems.  When we are overloaded, we spend less time in the Bible.  An overloaded life is an enemy.​
I am not as ease nor am I quiet.  I am not at rest but turmoil comes.  Job 3:26
We need margin.  Margin is the opposite of overload.
Margin is the space between our load and our limits and is related to our reserves and resilience.  It is a buffer, a leeway, a gap, the place we go to heal, to reflect, to recharge our batteries, to focus on the things that matter most.  Richard A. Swenson

Margin by Richard A. Swenson
This book is available here.

Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion.  When margin decreases, our relationships suffer.  Margin is good.  Margin is Biblical.  God gave us the example when He rested on the 7th day of creation.  Margin gives us breathing room.

What does breathing room look like?  

Talking with family.

Dinner at the table.

Worship time.

All good things happen in the space of margin.  We need both physical and spiritual margin.  We need margin so God can use us.
What are things that help us gain more margin in our lives?

We need to know our limitations.  
I have seen a limit to all perfection.  Your commandment is exceedingly broad.  Psalm 119:96
Everything has limits.
Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; and You have set his limits so he cannot pass.  Job 14:5
Our culture lies to us when it says "MORE, MORE, MORE is better!"  Our culture will never let us slow down and rest.  "All things are possible" is misquoted a LOT.  We have limits.  Many of us are carrying loads that are much too heavy for us to bear.  
We need to evaluate our motives.  We don't have to do everything or be at every event all the time.  We can't keep up with everybody all the time.  
A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.  Proverbs 14:30

The following graphic is free to you.  It serves as a reminder that we will serve God and serve others better when we allow margin space in our lives. 

​Simply right click and save. 
A Tranquil Heart is Life to the Body - Proverbs 14:30
A tranquil heart is life to the body.  Proverbs 14:30

What drives us into overload?  Is it comparison?
Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in.  Philippians 4:11
We are not born content.  We learn contentment by being still in the presence of God.
One had full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.  Ecclesiastes 4:6
We need to be realistic about what we can and cannot do.  We cannot over commit.  

We need to do some subtracting.  If we are overloaded, something or some things have to go.  We need to take some things off the to-do list.
It is a trap for a person to say carelessly, "It is holy!"  And after the vows to make inquiry.  Proverbs 20:25
It is easier to stay out than to get out.  Mark Twain
It is easier to get into something than to get out of something.  
We should ask God for wisdom.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5
Stop striving and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations.  I will be exalted on the earth.  Psalm 46:10
We need to be still.

We need to unload our overload.

We need to live FROM God's affirmation, not FOR it.

Let's be still and hear the heartbeat of God.
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.  John Piper
God is our refuge and strength, a very ready help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1
Let's hear from God and make good decisions about our margin space.
One habit we should adopt in order to create adequate margin space is to go to church.  We need to attend church regularly.  By regularly, I mean every week, every single Sunday, not just occasionally.  

Let me leave you with a few questions: 

In what area is God calling you to be still today? 

What is He calling you to subtract? 

What is God telling you to take off of your to-do list in order to create a healthy margin space for what is most important?

Start creating more margin space in your life today so that you can serve God and serve others effectively.
*This post is written from my personal Bible study notes taken during my pastor's sermon.  You are invited to watch the sermon here.


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Saturday, October 15, 2022

Thanksgiving Fun Activities for Kids

Thanksgiving Fun Activities for Kids Facebook
Thanksgiving Fun Activities for Kids

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.  Until then, here is a list of 20 Thanksgiving Fun Activities for Kids.  This list is filled with fun activities for families, STEM activities, and cute Thanksgiving snacks.  Be sure to check them all out because you'll find a few freebies on this list as well.  

Thanksgiving Fun Activities for Kids

Build a Turkey Cage STEM Challenge by MomBrite

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving with a Gratitude Pumpkin by Coffee and Carpool

Turkey Tape Resist Art Activity by Busy Toddler

Free I Spy Thanksgiving Printable by Paper Trail Design

Handprint Turkey and Poem by Make Life Lovely

Turkey Donuts Thanksgiving Treats by Messy Little Monster

Easy Cornucopia Activity by HomeTalk

Coffee Filter Turkeys Thanksgiving Craft by Darcy and Brian

Roll a Turkey Free Thanksgiving Game for Kids by Unoriginal Mom

Turkey Treat Thanksgiving Craft by Clean & Scentsible

Beaded Pipe Cleaner Indian Corn by One Little Project

Gratitude Chain - A Printable Thanksgiving Activity for Families by Carla Schauer Studio

Thanksgiving Apple Turkey Craft by I Heart Crafty Things

Name Activity:  Feather Letter Turkey by Growing Book by Book

Turkey Cracker Snacks by Crafty Morning

The Gratitude Game Using Pick Up Sticks by Teach Beside Me

Turkey Bowling by The Seasoned Mom

Pumpkin Bible Craft by Mrs. Jones' Creation Station

Oreo Turkey Cookies by Cake Whiz

Thanksgiving Gratitude Tic Tac Toe for Kids by Paper Heart Family

You might also like: 

Pumpkin Crafts and Activities for Kids

Pumpkin Crafts and Activities for Kids
Pumpkin Crafts and Activities for Kids

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Thanksgiving Fun Activities for Kids Pin
Thanksgiving Fun Activities for Kids


Scripture Printable for Wedding

Scripture Printable for Wedding
It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Genesis 2:18.

Scripture Printable for Kitchen

Scripture Printable for Kitchen
As long as the earth endures, seedtime & harvest, cold & heat, summer & winter, day & night will never cease. Genesis 8:22

Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway