New Beginnings in the New Year

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Rev. 21:5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” 

2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

As always, it is important to explain to your children what we are celebrating:

  • Have each family member draw pictures of things they remember about this last year.  Thank God for those things – the good and the not so good.
  • Emphasize the fact that no matter what happened last year, the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to begin new things like being a better listener, being quick to obey, learning something new, making a new friend, exploring a new place, etc.
  • Make a list together of things you would like to accomplish in 2019.  Make this your family’s prayer list for the year.
  • Illustrate these and put them in a prayer box to pull out during prayer time.
  • Use the scriptures above to point out that Jesus gives us hope for new things in the new year.
  • Check out the following links for activities to celebrate New Year’s.

Free Coloring Pages:

http://ministry-to-children.com/new-years-coloring-page-let-your-light-shine/

http://www.childrens-ministry-deals.com/collections/free-stuff/products/new-years-coloring-page

Games:

Free download  http://ministry-to-children.com/new-years-eve-party-activities-and-games/

Free download  http://www.childrens-ministry-deals.com/collections/free-stuff/products/10-new-years-minute-to-win-it-games

 

Here’s a poem that has been my heart cry for over 30 years.  It is a good one to memorize and pray intentionally on a regular basis in the new year:

Lord Jesus, make yourself to me

 a living, bright reality

More present to faith’s vision keen

Than any outward object seen

More dear, more intimately nigh

Than even my sweetest earthly tie

by Charlotte Elliott

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Keeping Christ in Christmas

The excitement of Christmas has already begun at our house – the tree is decorated, the Christmas lists are made out, and soon the baking, shopping, and parties will be in full swing.  It is so easy in all this activity to let the real meaning of Christmas go unmentioned.  We adults know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday but how are our children going to know unless we tell them.  They may see this only as a time when all the relatives get together or there’s lots of goodies to eat or everyone gives them gifts.

Enjoy the traditional practices of Christmas.  Don’t be so different from the world that the world wouldn’t want what you have. An old English historical writing contains a letter from Pope Gregory to Saint Mellitus, who was on his way to England to do missionary work among the pagan Anglo-Saxons. Pope Gregory suggested that converting heathens would go easier if they were allowed to keep some of their traditional practices, while reinterpreting those traditions spiritually towards the Christian God instead of to their pagan ‘devils’.

Today we as Christians should hear what Pope Gregory said and enjoy the traditions of the world, but be sure to give them Spiritual meaning for our families. Make every effort to teach the real meaning of Christmas through everything you do:

  • While decorating the tree share that the evergreen tree reminds us of the everlasting love Jesus has for us.  The tree is like a big birthday cake for Jesus and the lights are the candles.  The lights remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world and that “God lights our darkness” (2 Samuel 22:29)
  • While wrapping gifts share “It is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) Point out that because it is Jesus’ birthday we give gifts.  Jesus said when we give to one another it is the same as giving to him. (And the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40) Share “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).   Make sure your children are involved in making or purchasing gifts to give so they are not just on the receiving end of the gifts.  Also point out that giving is not only things, but he can give love, friendship, help, and joy.
  • Make the manger scene central in your decorations. Be sure your children hear the Christmas story from the Bible often. It’s fine to tell them the pretend stories of Santa and elves, Rudolph and Frosty, but be sure to tell the true story of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, angels, Shepherds, etc.  Also help them understand the true story of Santa.  He loved Jesus so much that he wanted to give to others.  A good book about Santa is “Santa, Are You for Real? “ by Harold Myra.

Check Train Up The Child for ways to relate the real Reason for the Season to traditional seasonal objects.  Just search on the site for ‘Christmas’, ‘Keeping Christ in Christmas’,  or for a traditional object (ex. Santa, trees, wreaths, mistletoe, etc.)

 

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Intentional ‘Thanks’giving

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In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 
  

Lead your children by example to be intentional with giving thanks to God and to others, especially at this time of year called ‘Thanks’giving.

Here are some previous posts with ideas to lead your children to be thankful:

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – The First Thanksgiving

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – A ‘Thank You God’ List

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Psalm 100 

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Songs

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – A Thankful Walk

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Express Thanks to Others

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Bible Stories

Thanksgiving Ideas

 

HAPPY ‘THANKS’GIVING!!

 

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Tell Your Children About Veteran’s Day

Psalm 106:3     Blessed are those who keep justice,

2 Tim. 2:3     You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Veterans Day pays tribute to ALL American veterans, but especially honoring living veterans who have served their country.

It was originally called Armistice day which was the day during World War I that an agreement to stop fighting was signed – at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the guns fell silent.

– Lead your children to honor all our Veterans and to pray for God to bless them and their families.
– Set an example to your children of always going up to those you see in uniform and thanking them for their service.

Here’s a great site to help you celebrate Veteran’s Day with your children.

 

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Talking to Children about the Election

Vote

 

Tell your children that God gives us the responsibility to seek out people to lead us – that is why we have an election. Read and share with your children the story in 1 Samuel 16 where God gave Samuel the job to seek out a king for His people. This is what He told Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”(1 Samuel 16:7)

Lead your children in praying that everyone will look for and vote for leaders with good hearts. Samuel anointed David to be the new king.  God was very pleased – look what He said about David – “After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’(Acts 13:22)”

It may seem as none of the candidates in this election fit this description but not voting at all is certainly not the answer. Let your children see you exercise your patriotic freedom and responsibility to have a voice in government – take them to the poll with you if possible and let them hear you pray for wisdom to know for whom to vote.

Then when the election is over, remember “God determines the course of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. (Daniel 2:21)” We need to remind ourselves of this no matter who wins and explain it to our children.

Regardless of how one might feel about the results of an election, there is never a reason to talk unkindly about those whom God has allowed to be in positions of authority. Read and then tell your children the story from 1 Kings 24. King Saul had been trying to kill David. But when David was faced with an opportunity to kill King Saul, he said “May the Lord not let me put out my hand against my leader, for he is the Lord’s chosen one.”  The Arch Book The Angry King tells this story very creatively for children.

Finally, take heed to this exhortation from the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority”.  After this election it becomes our duty to pray for and give thanks for all those in authority. I want to purpose to intercede for our leaders and give thanks for those God has chosen to accomplish His purposes through in our country even if it will be to bring judgement on our land.

So use this election as another opportunity to establish God’s Word in your children. Make them aware that God has put in positions those whom He has purposed to be there (Daniel 2:21), and no matter who is in authority, God is still the King of kings and in control of everything (1 Tim. 6:15). And make a regular part of your praying with your children be for protection, wisdom, good hearts, and thanks for our leaders (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

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