Love of God Party: Large Group Sunday School February 2020

GATHERING

1.  As We Gather:  As learners gather, direct them to the coloring table.  They can color any one of three “love” coloring sheets (colored pencils and coloring sheets provided). I found the ones pictured below here: https://www.housemixblog.com/2017/05/22/11-bible-verses-to-teach-kids-with-printables/

LARGE GROUP

2.  Opening Prayer:  (Lead repeat-after-me style.  You can ask one of the confirmation youth to do this.)

Dear God, we thank you
for loving us
all the way
no matter what.
Help us to learn
about your love today.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen.

3.  Song:  (Love Will Never Fail by KidSpring:  https://youtu.be/KS5or9cSLnE)

Play the video of the song with motions and ask the learners to sing and move along.  It is a short song, so you might want to try it two or three times.

4.  Explain how the day will work and divide students:  Jesus talks about love all the time, and February is the perfect month to celebrate the Love of God!  We are going to split into small groups and explore God’s love at 5 learning stations today.

(Divide the group into small groups of three or four, depending on how many you have.  I usually have all of the students line up from youngest to oldest.  Then, I find the center of the line and break it in half, leading the second line parallel to the first line so that they youngest is paired with someone in the middle grades, and the middle grades are paired with confirmation students.  After making sure that all of the pairs can get along, I put two pairs together, forming a foursome.  Send each foursome to a different station; they will get to visit all of them by the end.)

LEARNING STATIONS

1.  Love Your Enemies:  Matthew 5:38-48

Read:  Read this story in the Spark Story Bible, page 242. 

Answer:  Answer these questions as a small group:

  • When is it easy to love someone?
  • When is it hard to love some?
  • Tell a story about a time when you found it hard to love someone.

Do:  Use the large heart punch and strips of paper to make 3 hearts for each person in your group.  (Please help those who are not able to read/write well)

  • On one heart, write the name of someone who you love. 
  • On the second heart, write the name of someone who loves you.
  • On the third heart, write the name of someone who you find hard to love.

Pray:  Have each person hold their three hearts in their hands.  Pray this pray repeat-after me prayer (choose one member of your group to lead): 

Dear Jesus,
We thank you
for the people we love
the people who love us
and even for the people we find hard to love.
Open our hearts to love you
one another,
and ourselves.
In your name we pray, Amen.

Use the push pins to attach your hearts to the bulletin board before you move on to the next station.

(Bonus Activity:  Work on your coloring sheets from the beginning.)

2.  Four Friends:  Luke 5:17-26 

Read:  Read this story in the Spark Story Bible, page 288. 

Answer:  Answer these questions as a small group:

  • In what ways do you help your friends?
  • In what ways do your friends help you?
  • Tell a story about a time when you helped a friend.

Do:  The four friends worked together to make sure that their friend got all of the help that they needed.  That’s love!  Work together to complete the following task:

  • Lay a beach blanket flat on the floor.  Have everyone in the group stand with both feet on the blanket.  Now, the group must work together to flip the blanket without anyone touching any of the surrounding floor with any part of their body.  Make sure to communicate kindly and to act safely.

Pray:  Pray this pray repeat-after me prayer (choose one member of your group to lead): 

Dear Jesus,
We thank you for our friends.
Open our hearts
that we may learn to be
loving friends.
In your name we pray, Amen.

(Bonus Activity:  Make a Valentine for a friend using the materials provided.)

3.  Lost Sheep & Lost Coin:  Luke 15:1-10 

Read:  Read this story in the Spark Story Bible, page 312. 

Answer:  Answer these questions as a small group:

  • If it was lost, what would you search for until it was found, no matter what?
  • What does it feel like to know that God will always search for you?
  • Tell a story about a time when you lost something, or found something that you had lost.

Do:  (Activity suggested by Spark Story Bible Devotions for Kids, page 153.)

  • Take turns playing “Hide and Sheep.”  Let one person hide the small sheep.  The other learners get to ask the person who hid the sheep 10 yes or no questions to try to find it.  When you find the sheep, celebrate! and then let someone else take a turn.

Pray:  Pray this pray repeat-after me prayer (choose one member of your group to lead): 

Dear Jesus,
We thank you
that you never give up
when we are lost.
Help us to call on you
when we are in need.
In your name we pray, Amen.

(Bonus Activity:  Use the rice bottles to pray and find the hidden coin.)

4.  Love Is…  1st Corinthians 13:4-7 

Read:  Read this story in the Spark Story Bible, page 432. 

Answer:  Answer these questions as a small group:

  • How do you show love to others?
  • How do you know that someone else loves you?
  • How does God show love to us?

Do:  Love Is…Folding Stick Craft from https://www.daniellesplace.com/html/bible-crafts-love-page-2.html

(I paid $2 for her template, and then printed it out at 70% to fit small popsicle sticks)

Materials per learner:
9 popsicle sticks
8 strips of tape
1 glue stick
1 copy of the “Love is Patient” resource
1 pair of scissors

Instructions:

      1.  Using the strips of tape lengthwise, tape the popsicle sticks together in pairs, with one left over.

      2.  Flip the pairs of sticks over so that the tape side is facing down.  Use the other four strips to tape the pairs of sticks together, starting with taping the single stick to a pair.  Make sure that you taped them in the right order by trying to accordion fold them.

      3.  Cut the “Love is Patient” resource apart, as indicated by the example. 

      4.  Use the glue stick to glue the strips to the sticks in the order indicated.  Flip and do the other side.

      5.  Decorate with colored pencils, and make sure to write your name on it!  Accordion fold the sticks and tie with a piece of ribbon.

Pray:  Pray this pray repeat-after me prayer (choose one member of your group to lead): 

Dear Jesus,
Your love is patient and kind,
Your love rejoices in the truth,
Your love protects and trusts,
Your love hopes and perseveres.
Help our love be more like your love.
In your name we pray, Amen.

5.  God’s Love:  Psalm 108 

Read:  Read this Psalm in the Spark Psalm Book, page 22. 

Answer:  Answer these questions as a small group:

  • What is the biggest thing you can think of?  God’s love is bigger!
  • What is the longest thing you can think of?  God’s love stretches longer!
  • What is the deepest thing you can think of?  God’s love goes deeper!

Pray:  Pray this pray repeat-after me prayer before you eat (choose one member of your group to lead): 

Come, Lord Jesus,
be our guest,
and let these gifts to us be blessed.
Give us this day our daily bread,
use us, so that your love will spread.
Amen.

Do:  Decorate frosted cupcakes or cookies with sprinkles.  Eat them!

Before you leave this station, take a small heart-shaped marble.  Put it in a pocket of your clothes, bookbag, or coat so that you can remember that you take God’s love with you, wherever you go!

SENDING 

Repeat the Song:  (Love Will Never Fail by KidSpring:  https://youtu.be/KS5or9cSLnE)

Play the video of the song with motions and ask the learners to sing and move along.  It is a short song, so you might want to try it two or three times.

Go in peace!  Spread God’s love!  Thanks be to God.

Experience the Word: The Dishonest Manager

This week for our Sabbath Sunday celebration, we are going to be telling the Parable of the Dishonest Manager from Luke 16:1-8. Here is a video of the story using simple characters:

If you would like to tell this story at home using your own characters, you can find a color-your-own version here: https://familygodtime.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/dishonest-manager-puppets-bw-2019.pdf

If you want them already in color, like in the video, find it here: https://familygodtime.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/dishonest-manager-puppets-color-2019.pdf

Enjoy telling this story with your family and friends!

DAILY DEVOS: Jesus Rises from the Dead

PRAYER OF THE WEEK:

Risen Christ, we are thankful that you rose from the dead to give us eternal life.  Help us to live as your people of hope, both now and always.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

COLORING PAGE:
https://familygodtime.files.wordpress.com/2019/04/daily-devos-jesus-rises-from-the-dead-19.pdf

BIBLE STORY:  Luke 24:1-12 (NRSV)

1On the first day of the week, at early dawn, [the women] came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8Then they remembered his words, 9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:

What gives you hope?  What gives you joy?  When are you at peace?  When was a time that you felt powerful? Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Children’s Devotion Time: Holy Week 2019

Gathering Prayer (Large group, repeat after me style)

Dear Jesus, we thank you for this time to learn more about what happened to you during Holy Week.  Send your Holy Spirit to us, that we may know how much you love us.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

The Story of Holy Week (Do in pairs)

**Learn the story of Holy Week and put together your Holy Week Story Box.

The Story of Holy Week Resource is available here:  http://www.rtcol.com/~kreft/biblestories/docs/Holy%20Week%20Story.pdf

I edited it for length and content, including only pages 1, 3-6, and 8-9 plus copyright information.  I also added circles that indicated which story went to which day of Holy Week, and a condensed paragraph about Good Friday.

Stickers and template for palms is available here: Holy Week Story Box Printables

I printed the palm leaves on green cardstock. I printed the stickers on a full sheet prinatble sticker page.

Palm Sunday

1.  Read the front page of “The Story of Holy Week” (Palm Sunday) with your partner.

2.  Open your box and find 2 green palm papers.  Cut them out along the solid line, and add fringe as indicated in the example.

Maundy Thursday

3.  Read the next three pages of “The Story of Holy Week” (Maundy Thursday) with your partner.

4.  Find the sticker with the white table cloth, loaf of bread, and glass of wine.  Stick the sticker to the lid of the box.

Good Friday

5.  Read the next page of “The Story of Holy Week” (Good Friday) with your partner.

6.  Find the two strips of black paper.  Use a glue stick to stick the strips to the outside bottom of the box in the shape of a cross.

7.  Find the gold pipe cleaner section.  Curve and twist it into a crown of thorns, making sure that it will fit securely onto Jesus’ head.

8.  Find the piece of white cloth.  Set it aside for now.

Easter Sunday

9.  Read the next two pages of “The Story of Holy Week” with your partner.

10.  Find the piece of brown cereal box.  Add a tab to one of the short sides with a piece of tape as indicated in the example.

11.  Find the “Alleluia” sticker.  Stick it to the inside bottom of the box, and then cover it with the cereal box, brown side up.  You are now ready to tell the story of Holy Week with your box and the following song:

Holy Week Story Box (Do as a large group)

**Tell the story with your box, singing the song in between each day of Holy Week.  Here is the Youtube video that accompanies this experience:  https://youtu.be/GwBGwyiQhD0

**Thanks to Building Faith for the idea!  I modified it for our group.  Find the original post here:  https://www.buildfaith.org/holy-week-in-a-box/#gref

Palm Sunday (Jesus with palms)
Were you there when they had a palm parade?
Were you there when they had a palm parade?
Oh, oh, oh, oh. 
Sometimes it causes me
to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they had a palm parade?

Maundy Thursday (Jesus behind altar box)
Were you there when he gave the bread and wine?
Were you there when he gave the bread and wine?
Oh, oh, oh, oh. 
Sometimes it causes me
to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when he gave the bread and wine?

Good Friday (Jesus with crown of thorns next to cross on back of box)
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Sometimes it causes me
to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Good Friday (Wrap Jesus in cloth, close into box)
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Sometimes it causes me
to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Easter Morning (Open box, Jesus out of box, remove false bottom to reveal Alleluia!)
Were you there when he rose up from the dead?
Were you there when he rose up from the dead?
Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Sometimes it causes me
to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when he rose up from the dead?

Closing Prayer (Large group, repeat after me style)

Dear Jesus, we thank you for loving us so much that you died and rose again.  Help us to follow where you lead, and tell the great news of your love to others.

Now, Lord, remember us in your kingdom, and teach us to pray: (Lord’s Prayer with motions) 

Our Father…

Children’s Devotion Time March 2019: JESUS IS TEMPTED

One of the churches in our parish has begun having inter-generational Sunday School once per month.  We call it “Children’s Devotion Time” or “CDT.”  Each child in the class has an older adult who serves as an individual mentor during devotion time.  It includes an opening prayer, a large group Bible Story, an age-appropriate leaflet about the day that they work on in child/adult pairs, a closing prayer, and a simple craft.  It is based on Family God Time, but done at church and for a larger group.  Join us in this new faith formation experiment!

You can learn more about just how we have set this up here:  https://familygodtime.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/childrens-devotion-time-instructions.pdf

Large Group Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)

Dear Jesus, we thank you for this time to learn about a time when you were tempted.  Help us to learn to follow you.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Large Group Bible Story:  Luke 4:1-13

Read about Jesus’ Temptation in the Wilderness in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+4%3A1-13&version=ERV

We used “A Tempting Time” from the Whirl Lectionary Story Bible for our resource.  You can purchase your own copy here: https://www.wearesparkhouse.org/store/product/9781451484786/Whirl-Story-Bible-Lectionary-Edition

Pray Dough Mat:

Use the front side of the pray dough mat to retell the story together.  As you tell the story, fill in the shapes with play dough.  Once you have done this, flip the mat over and pray as you use the dough to fill in the same shapes, considering the questions on the mat as you pray.

You can find the mat here: https://familygodtime.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/cdt-temptation-play-dough-mat-19.pdf

I printed it on cardstock and laminated each one so that they were more durable and reusable.

Here is a link to the laminator I use:  https://www.amazon.com/Xyron-608931028515-624632-Creative-Original/dp/B00X3EZ5VO/

Large Group Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)

Dear Jesus, we thank you that you love us no matter what. Help us to stay near to you, especially in tough times. In your name we pray, Amen.

Activity:  Lenten Pray Place

Supplies needed per learner
purple napkin
clear bowl
decorative sand
red strips of paper
heart paper punch
pipe cleaner
6 black flat-sided marbles (or small stones)

Instructions

I found this graphic on Pinterest, and thought it would make a great activity to welcome Lent:

I added a tealight to this Pray Place so that we can remember that, even in dark times, Jesus is the Light of the World.  Turning the light on and off helps to begin and end our prayer time.

I could not find the original reference, but the pin attributed it to a pastor named Mary Dawes. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/433753007860838996/

© 2019 by Pastor Breen Marie Sipes, Tri-Saints Lutheran Parish, Byron and Hardy, Nebraska.  https://familygodtime.wordpress.com Please give credit where credit is due! 

Daily Devos: Blessed Are You

DPrayer of the Week:

Dear God, help us to see you in times when it might feel like you are not there, especially when we are hurt, and when we do not have what we need. Amen

Coloring Page:

Bible Story of the Week: Luke 6:20-21

 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. ‘Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. ‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

Questions of the Week:

What are some things besides money that you could give to someone who is poor or hungry? What are some things you could do for people that do not have all that they need? When are times that you have felt poor or hungry? How did God bless you during those times? Who has been a blessing to you when you have been weeping? What did they do for you?

Daily Devos: Fish for People

PRAYER OF THE WEEK:

Dear God, help us to follow you, to cast out our nets and trust that you will give us a catch. Amen.

COLORING PAGE:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Miraculous_Draught_of_Fishes_(La_p%C3%AAche_miraculeuse)_-_James_Tissot_-_overall.jpg

BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK: Luke 5:4-11 NRSV

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken;and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK:

If Jesus came to you at “work” where would you be? What are you struggling with there that he would tell you to try again? What are you likely to “catch.” What do you think Jesus means that his disciples will catch people?

Daily Devos: Baptism of Jesus

BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 NRSV

 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

  21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.D

COLORING PAGE:

https://www.sermons4kids.com/baptism_jesus_wph_colorpg.htm

PRAYERS & QUESTIONS:

Sunday:  Luke 3:15

Dear Jesus, I am thankful that you are with me, even when I am filled with questions.  Help me to bring all of my questions to you.    Amen.

Have you ever questioned something in your heart?  What was that experience like?  What do you remember about John from earlier in our story?  Why do you think he reappears here?

Monday:  Luke 3:16a

Dear God, I thank you for forgiving my sins, again and again and again.  Help me to lead a life worthy of you.  Amen.

John’s baptism was a simple washing away of current sins.  It was something that people repeated again and again over the course of a lifetime.  How does this differ from what you believe about baptism?

Tuesday:  Luke 3:16b

Dear God, send your Holy Spirit into my life.  Be as close to me as my every breath.  Amen.

What do you think it means to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire?  What is the difference between being washed with water and purified with fire?  In what ways do you think the Holy Spirit is active in you?

Wednesday:  Luke 3:17

Dear Jesus, you take away the sin of the world.  Have mercy on me.  Amen.

John’s statement here mirrors farming practices in Bible times.  Why do you think he compares our lives in God to this practice?  What part of you needs to be shucked away?

Thursday:  Luke 3:21a

Dear Jesus, stir up my faith in you, that I may use the gifts you give to help a hurting world. Amen.

Have you ever been to a worship service where multiple people were baptized or confirmed?  What was that experience like?  What would it have been like to be baptized on the same day as Jesus?

Friday:  Luke 3:21b-22a

Dear God, all of your creation is connected, and we are only a part of the whole.  Help us to widen our gaze, that we may see all the ways in which you show up in our lives.  Amen.

When Jesus was baptized, something different happened.  The heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove.  Why do you think this happened?  Tell about a time when you experienced the heavens opening (like a big storm), or something from the natural world reminded you of God.

Saturday:  Luke 3:22b

Dear Jesus, I thank you for the gift of baptism.  Help me to claim my identity as “beloved,” and do that which is well-pleasing in your sight.  Amen.

When Jesus was baptized, God spoke out loud.  What do you think it means that in baptism, you are a child of God who is beloved, with whom God is well pleased?

Jesus’ Birth A to Z week 7: Simeon & Anna

BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK: Luke 2:21-38 NRSV

After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.  22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

COLORING PAGE:

https://www.deviantart.com/the-z/art/Advent-Coloring-Page-Simeon-269636401

PRAYERS & QUESTIONS:

Sunday:  Luke 2:21

Dear Jesus, I thank you for placing me into a family.  Help me to learn and to grow, both as a child of my family and as a child of God.  Amen.

One of the important parts of circumcision is that it places a child on the family tree.  Who are some important branches of your family tree for you?  Where would Jesus fit on your family tree?

Monday:  Luke 2:22-24

Dear God, I know that I was born at just the right time.  Help me to see the advantages of my place in my family, and to live according to your Word.  Amen. In the Bible, birth order is often very important.  In what order were you and your siblings (if any) born?  What makes your place in your family special?  Annoying?

Tuesday:  Luke 2:25-27

Dear God, send your Holy Spirit upon me.  Reveal your will to me, and guide my life.  Amen.

This reading mentions that the Holy Spirit rested on Simeon, and that Jesus’ arrival was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.  Have you ever experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit?  In what ways do you see God’s guidance in your life?

Wednesday:  Luke 2:28-32

Dear Jesus, you came to be a light to the whole world.  Help me to see your light in dark times.  Empower me to reflect your light in those places that need it most.  Amen.

What difference does light make to a dark room?  What kind of a difference do you suppose the light of Christ is making in our dark world?  How are you being called to let your “little light” shine?

Thursday:  Luke 2:33-35

(Offer a prayer in your own words for your children, future children, or children who are dear to you)

What do you think it was like for Mary and Joseph to meet Simeon?  What would it be like to know that, because of your son, your future will sometimes be difficult?  What prayers would you have for your child?

Friday:  Luke 2:36-37

Dear God, I thank you for the wise saints in my life.  Open my ears, that I might absorb their wisdom.  Open my heart, that I might offer what I can to those of older years.  Amen.

What do you think it would have been like to meet Anna?  How do you think she might be different from other older women that you know?  How would she be the same?

Saturday:  Luke 2:38

Dear Jesus, make me patient when I have to wait for something that is dear to my heart.  Help me to wait with hope.  Cast out my impatience and despair.  Amen.

Anna had been waiting for many years for Jesus to arrive on the scene.  What are you waiting for?  When you wait, is it with patience or impatience, despair or hope?  What does God have to do with us while we wait?

Jesus’ Birth A to Z Week 6: Shepherds & Angels

BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK: Luke 2:1-20 NRSV

 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

COLORING PAGE

https://www.deviantart.com/art/Advent-Coloring-Page-Shepherds-269636778

PRAYERS & QUESTIONS:

Sunday:  Luke 2:1-4

Dear God, I thank you for the town that I call home.  Bless and keep all of the towns that are close to my heart, and help me to be a good member of the community.  Amen.

Tell a story about your hometown.  What are some advantages to this town?  Disadvantages?  Where do you think God is at work in your hometown?

Monday:  Luke 2:5-7

Dear Jesus, I am thankful that you were born on earth, and that you came to all creation.  Help me to remember your humble birth in the midst of all of the holiday joy.  Amen.

What do you think that it would be like to have a baby in a barn?  What do you think that it means that Jesus was born, not just to humans, but also to the animals?  What do you think that it means that Jesus, the King of Kings, was born in the opposite of a palace?

Tuesday:  Luke 2:8-9

Dear Lord, I thank you that you are not afraid to bring the message of your love all the way to the edges of society.  Help me to be brave in proclaiming your message, even in difficult places.  Amen.

Why do you think that the angel came to visit the shepherds to tell them about the birth of Jesus, before anyone else?  Who in our time do you think that the angel would have come to?

Wednesday:  Luke 2:10-12

Dear Jesus, I thank you for being the good news of great joy of Christmas.  Make my words and deeds reflect your joy, from the inside out.  Amen.

What is the best news that you have ever received?  Who gave you the news?  What was your reaction?  How do you think the shepherds felt?

Thursday:  Luke 2:13-15

(Spend a bit of time being quiet, and listening for God’s voice)

Dear God, when you call me, help me to drop everything and go.  Amen.

Shepherds did not usually make midnight trips to town, especially with their flocks still in the field.  Why do you suppose that they left their responsibilities that night?  What kind of good news would be enough for you to drop everything and go?

Friday:  Luke 2:16-18

Dear Jesus, I thank you for being born as a real human being.  Help me to not keep this miracle to myself, but to share it with those whom you have prepared.  Amen.

Not only were the shepherds the first to hear the good news, they were also the first to spread it!  Tell about a time when you talked to someone else about Jesus.  Who else could you tell today?

Saturday:  Luke 2:19-20

Dear God, thank you for wonderful experiences in my life.  Help me to treasure them, and to meet you there.  Amen.

The shepherds just can’t get enough of Jesus!  What is something wonderful that you want to experience again and again?  How can you invite God into that experience?