19 Dec a CE Christmas | Week Three
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 3 | We are adopted
Read: Galatians 4:4-7; Romans 8:15-17
“For anyone who says yes to Jesus, For anyone who believes what Jesus said, For anyone who will just reach out to take it, Then God will give them this wonderful gift: To be born into a whole new life, to be who they really are, who God always made them to be- their own true selves, God’s dear child.” (paraphrase of John 1:12-13, Jesus Storybook Bible)
Apart from God, and living as spiritual orphans, we were vulnerable and guaranteed destruction, but we were not left in our vulnerable state. God, our Father, pursued us through his Son Jesus. He adopted us into his family, and he gave us the rights of children of God. Our status has been changed. We are no longer vulnerable; we are no longer orphans. Satan is no longer our master; we are not living as children of Adam- destined to live and die in our sins.
We have been pursued, therefore we pursue. We have been brought into God’s family. Therefore, we bring others into ours. We now live in a state of eternal belonging, therefore we bring others into our lives and offer them a place to belong. We have a Father who protects us and provides for us, therefore we seek opportunities to provide for and protect others. We have been adopted, therefore we adopt.
That which we have received for all eternity, we freely give to those around us who are in need. More than just meeting physical needs, we look for ways to meet people where they are. We sacrifice our time and energy for the good of others- children in need of mentors, children who are in foster care, or children who need a forever family. When it comes to orphan care, each of us has a role to play.
“It is essential that we ‘get’ the gospel deeply in our hearts so that we can effectively demonstrate the gospel widely in how we care for the oppressed, abused, marginalized and orphaned.” -Jason Johnson
Day 1 | Sing Together
Singing orients our hearts toward God. It reminds us who He is and who we are in light of Him. 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.
- What are the privileges we have as children of God?
- How does this hope we have as God’s children change the way we live today?
- What are some practical examples of things our family can do to serve kids in our community who are in need?
Day 3 | Serve Together
The Foster Adopt Resource Center serves fostering and adoptive families all across the Upstate as they welcome new children into their homes. Children can often enter a new home with few personal belongings or necessities; fostering and adoptive families can find many of these supplies for free at the Resource Center. The center runs completely through the donations and generosity of our church and our community.
As a family, talk about the needs that these children may have as they are entering a new and unfamiliar situation. Ask each member of your family to take a look at the things they have in their closet. Is there a toy or an item that you would be willing to give away to these children?
Gather these items and bring them by the Foster Adopt Resource Center or to the Pelham office this week.
Day 4 | Talk Together
Discuss these ideas as a family over dinner.
What are some practical examples of things our family can do to serve kids in our community? We came up with a few ideas the other day, but let’s make a list tonight! We can hang it up on our refrigerator so that we can remember to do these things as a family.
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.
Today, as you’re finishing up last-minute preparations for Christmas, turn it into a celebration. While you’re baking cookies or cooking a meal, talk about how Christ has made each of us into a new creation. What can seem like a mix of random ingredients can go through a process to become something new- something for others to enjoy, something to serve them. And this is exactly what Jesus does with our lives when we begin to follow him! He makes us into something beautiful that can be used by him to serve others and to bring them joy.
What other parallels can you find between cooking/baking and our lives as followers of Jesus?