05 Dec a CE Christmas | Week One
Why use this family guide: To serve and to celebrate together are important and identifying markers in the lives of believers. Because of their service to the poor and the meals they shared together, the early church stood in stark contrast to the Roman culture around them (Acts 2:42-47, 2 Corinthians 11:17-22, Matthew 11:19). When we slow down and take the time to serve and celebrate together, we look like set-apart people to a broken, frantic world. These aspects of simple, genuine discipleship can set us apart during this Christmas season, too. As families, we have the opportunity to teach our children how to follow Jesus. And as believers, we have the opportunity to invite those who don’t know Him to be a part of these activities.
Over these next three weeks, look for chances to invite others to join you in these activities and conversations. For, we have “good news of great joy… [that ] unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10, 11)
How to use this family guide: Prepare your heart. Begin the week reading the passages and spending time in reflection. Pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you through the activities you do as a family. Share with your children the ideas presented in the opening devotion and what God is teaching you. Read the passages of Scripture together and discuss. Move through the daily activities with your family. The days are meant to build on each other, so complete the activities chronologically, even if you miss a day.
Week One | God is our Father
Read: John 1:1-14; Matthew 7:9-11
At Christmas we rejoice in
Our Father sent His Son to the world in the most unlikely of ways. He aligned himself with the most vulnerable of society, all for the sake of a broken and rebellious human race.
Our Father did not simply tell us to care about orphaned and vulnerable children, and He didn’t choose to simply act in their favor; He became one of them. On a quiet and lonely night, in the depths of a corrupt Roman empire, “the Word became flesh.” His birth echoed the proclamations of prophets for generations before Him, and His status whispered of a deeper spiritual reality: we are the orphaned. We are lacking the resources to provide for ourselves spiritually, and God our Father has determined to pursue us and bring us out of our spiritual poverty. He is good, and He has provided a way for us.
“The deepest and strongest foundation of adoption is located not in the act of humans adopting humans, but in God adopting humans. And this act is not part of His ordinary providence in the world; it is at the heart of the gospel.” – John Piper
Day 1 | Sing Together
Singing orients our hearts toward God and reminds us who He is. Today, learn this song together and continue to sing this truth to one another throughout this week.
Day 2 | Talk Together
Discuss these ideas as a family over dinner.
We have spent the past few weeks talking about a special girl in Kenya named Irene.
- What do you remember about Irene?
- Why did your class raise money for Irene?
- Was it easy or hard to give your money to help support Irene? Why or why not?
Day 3 | Serve Together
Because we have a good Father who gives us good gifts, we can give good gifts to others. Going to school is an important privilege that many children around the world don’t have. By giving sacrificially to children like Irene, we are demonstrating that we trust our Heavenly Father to be good and generous to us.
Spend time today making cards for Irene and her classmates. Talk about the ways our Father has been good to us (both physically and spiritually). Remind each other that even though there are many children who have physical needs, we all have the same Father; spiritually, we have all been given more than enough!
Bring your cards for Irene to church this Sunday and leave them with your class’s teacher.
This month plan to visit and serve together at a children’s home in the Upstate.
Day 4 | Talk Together
Discuss these ideas as a family over dinner.
Read Matthew 7:9-11.
- What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Why do you think it’s the best?
- Would you ever give someone a really bad gift? Why or why not?
- In the book of Matthew it says that God our Father gives us good gifts. Do you think this is true? How do you know?
Day 5 | Celebrate Together
Stopping to remember and to celebrate are important disciplines for us as believers. Take time to celebrate together throughout the season.
God is our Father; He gives us good gifts! Celebrate this truth together.
Explain that when we give gifts, we are reflecting our Father’s good, generous character. As a family, draw names of the other members of your family and head to the dollar store together. Spend time shopping for a “good” gift for your family members or set aside time to make gifts for one another at home.