Transfiguration: Matthew 17:1-8

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Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about a time when Jesus showed his disciples who he really was.  Help our time to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Matthew 17:1-8
Read the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+17%3A1-8&version=NRSV

Discuss as a family:
Why do you think Jesus brought his friends up the mountain?
What do you think Jesus talked about with Moses and Elijah?
Why do you think Jesus’ friends wanted to stay on the mountain?
What did the voice from heaven say about Jesus?  What do you think that means?

Song:  I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
This song is one of my favorites for the season of Epiphany, which concludes this Sunday.  It talks about how bright our world is because of Jesus.  If it is not a familiar song for you, you and your family can join in on the chorus.

Craft:  Paper Folded Stars
Because we have been star crazy through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, we thought that we would leave you with one final star.

A big thanks to this site for giving me a great idea:  https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/felicity-quilts-4157993/tutorial-folded-fabric-star-ornaments-3772915437

The original is made out of fabric, but I simplified them for children with scrapbook paper.  Here is what ours look like:

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Supplies needed:
3 different patterns of scrapbook paper
Scissors
Stapler
Craft Glue
Button (We used star shaped ones from a Fourth of July project) or star sticker
Thin Ribbon
Hole Punch

Instructions:
1. Cut the scrapbook paper into 6 inch squares.  You will need one square of each pattern for a single star.

2. Fold each square diagonally one time.

3. Fold each square diagonally a second time.

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4. Stack in the order shown and staple together with one staple in the center.

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5. Glue the button/sticker in the center of the star to hide the staple.

6. Punch a hole in the top arm of the star and add a ribbon to hang it.

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Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for your light in this world, and for showing us who Jesus really is.  Be the guiding star of our lives.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Crepes and Candles: Discovering Candlemas

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to celebrate that spring is coming.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Celebration:  Candlemas
A few weeks ago, a great article was delivered to my email inbox from a great organization called Building Faith.  It talked about the origins of Groundhog Day as a religious celebration which included blessing the candles for the new year.  This celebration is called, appropriately, Candlemas.  This was intriguing to me, and I put the information in the back of my head, thinking, “This is cool.  Maybe we’ll try it sometimes.”  Then, I learned that it is also a holiday during which we eat crepes.  I LOVE crepes, and so does my family.  Candlemas instantly became my new favorite holiday.  I called my husband with the idea, and he couldn’t wait to do it together, so we did.

You and your family can learn all about Candlemas here:  http://www.buildfaith.org/candlemas/

Song:  Light of the World
When I told my kids that Candlemas was the celebration of Jesus as the light of the world, they instantly began singing this song from Vacation Bible School last year.  Enjoy!

Activity:  Crepes and Candles
My husband is the crepe maker in our family, and this is the recipe that he uses:

Because it was an impromptu celebration, our fillings were not particularly fancy this year.  We had savory crepes with scrambled eggs, sausage, and grated cheese, and sweet crepes with raspberry jam and chocolate hazelnut spread.  The fillings are limited only by your imagination.

Because of the candle emphasis of Candlemas, we ate by candlelight.  I got every LED candle that we owned, turned them on, and filled the table with flickering light.  It was lovely, and a beautifully relaxing way to celebrate the turning of the seasons towards spring.

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Not my kids, but you get the idea, right? photo by he-boden on flickr.com

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for your light in this world, and for the turning of the seasons.  Help us to see you in the returning light of spring.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Salt and Light: Matthew 5

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about how we are salt and light.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Matthew 5:13-16
Read the story of the Sermon on the Mount in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+5%3A13-16&version=ERV

Discuss as a family:
What is your favorite salty thing?
What is your favorite source of light?
How do you think we are salt of the earth (hint:salt is used for seasoning, preservation, and healing)?
How do you think we are the light of the world?

Song:  This Little Light of Mine
This song is probably quite familiar to you.  Did you know the words came right from the mouth of Jesus?  Let your lights shine as you sing this song together!

Activity:  Salt Dough
I thought it would be fun to make something out of salt cough to remind us that we are the salt of the earth.  The basic salt sough recipe is 2 parts table salt and 2 parts flour to 1 part warm water.  I found that my dough was a bit sticky, so I added more flour until the dough was soft and easy to handle.

My idea was to take the “salt” dough and make a heart-shaped tea “light” holder, like this: http://lifeasmom.com/diy-on-a-dime-salt-dough-candle-holders/

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However, my kids had other, wonderful ideas.  They played with the dough for almost an hour, and then had me wrap it up tight in plastic wrap so they could use it again.  They have asked for it at least three other times this week, and it is a great distraction to play with at their little table in the kitchen while I have been making supper.  A devotion and a lifesaver, all in one!  No pictures this time, as they smashed their creations as fast as they made them.  I guess that’s the magic of the dough!

My kids and I have skin allergies, so I didn’t add color or scent to our dough.  You could most certainly do that, if you are so inclined.

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for making us salt and light in this world.  Help us to remember that you are the one who makes us truly shine.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Jesus is Baptized: Matthew 3

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about the day that Jesus was baptized.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Matthew 3:13-17
Read the story of Jesus’ baptism in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+3%3A13-17&version=ERV

For this story, my family and I used the Spark Story Bible.  You can purchase one here:
http://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/8122/Spark-Story-Bible-Sunday-School-Edition?c=285812

Discuss as a family:

What do you remember about the day that you were baptized?

What do you parents remember?

Have you ever seen a baptism before?  What was it like?

What do you think about God calling us his beloved daughters and sons?  What is it like to know that God is well pleased with you?

Song:  Wade in the Water
This song is and African American Spiritual, and is great for a devotion time about baptism.  Have fun pretending to wade in the water together!

 

Activity:  Making Soap
I don’t know if it’s all kids, but mine hate washing their hands.  I thought making their own soap might be a good way to remind them of their baptism, while also making something useful that they can’t wait to use!

To make your own soap at home for the first time, I recommend purchasing a kit at a craft store.  If you do this, follow the directions included in the kit.

I regularly make soap, so I had the supplies on hand.  You will need blocks of plain glycerin soap, a few drops of a fragrance of your choice (we used lavender), and soap molds (we used shell molds).

Melt the glycerin in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time.  I let my kids stir the soap in between each 30 second time period.  When it is all melted, add a couple of drops of fragrance (don’t be too generous, or it will burn your nose!) and stir to combine.  Holding the measuring cup with the help of one of your kids, carefully pour the melted soap into your molds.  Allow to set up completely and have them help you to release the soap from the molds (it’s like getting ice out of an ice cube tray, but with a slightly more gentle touch).  Store soap in a cool, dry location until you are ready to use it.  Here is a picture of our finished product:

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Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for making us your sons and daughters in baptism.  Help us to remember that you love us and are happy with us.  In your name we pray, Amen.

A Surprise Special Guest: Luke 19

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about welcoming you into our house at all times.  Help our time together to be holy time.  In your name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Luke 19
Read the story of Zacchaeus in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+19%3A1-10&version=ERV

For this story, my family and I used the Whirl Story Bible.  You can purchase one here:
http://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/19372/Whirl-Story-Bible-Lectionary-Edition?c=285812

Discuss as a family:
What would it be like if Jesus came to our house?  How would we make him feel welcome?  How can we make each person who visits us feel welcome, just like Jesus?

Song:  Come, Lord Jesus
I found this song when I was looking for a way to sing the prayer “Come, Lord Jesus.”  I love it because it is real, and certainly looks like the craziness in my household sometimes.  Hope you feel it, too!

Activity:  House Blessing
During the season of Epiphany, it is traditional to bless your house as you prepare for the coming year.  We invited some friends over to do it with us.  All you need is a piece of chalk, a step ladder, a candle (ours smells like frankincense to remind us of the wise men), and this sheet:  epiphany-house-blessing-2017

This year, after we chalked the doorpost of our house, we let each child choose one other room to specifically bless.  We blessed one bedroom, our library room, and the bathroom.  Choose the number of rooms that you will bless on the ages and attention spans of your children.  You can make up your own prayers for rooms not listed on the sheet.

Here is a pic of our doorpost.  It was too cold to mark the outside, so we marked the inside.  Sorry it is so faint; my children were horrified that I was writing on the walls!

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20 + CMB + 17

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and may our year in you be blessed!  Amen.