Jesus’ Parents Took Him to Church on Groundhog Day :-)

Well, maybe not exactly😄

February 2nd (40 days after Christmas) can be celebrated as the day that Jesus first went to church?   In Luke 2:22-35 it is recorded that 40 days after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph took infant Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem for the ritual purification of Mary after childbirth and  to present their first born which was required by the Law of Moses. As they presented Jesus to Simeon, he prophesied:

According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 30-35)

We are familiar with February 2nd being called Groundhog Day. But did you know it is also called Candlemas?

Celebration of Candlemas Day began by Roman Catholics with lighting candles and parading through the streets as a commemoration of the presentation of Jesus and the prophesy of Simeon.  German immigrants known as Pennsylvania Dutch brought the tradition to America in the 18th century.

But where does Groundhog Day come in?  Candlemas occurs half way between the first day of winter and the first day of spring.   Ancient thought was that hibernating creatures were able to predict the arrival of springtime on this day.  Traditionally, it was believed that if Candlemas was sunny, the remaining six weeks of winter would be stormy and cold. But if it rained or snowed on Candlemas, the rest of the winter would be mild. If an animal “sees its shadow,” it must be sunny, so more wintry weather is predicted.

So now you know and can tell your children.  Be sure and read Luke 2:22-35 and tell in your own words about Jesus going to ‘church’ for the first time.  Then just have some fun with groundhog crafts:

http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mgroundhog.html

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/groundhogday/popuphog/ (my personal favorite!) Sing this song Mr.-Groundhog when you finish this craft.

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/groundhogday/

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Leading Little Ones to Love Going to Church

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(This is a lesson from Here a Little, There a Little, a compilation of Bible lessons I created to use with my preschool children. It was designed to spend a week memorizing the verses and reinforcing them through Bible stories and activities.)

Church

Bible Verses:   Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord.

                              Hebrews 10:25 Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some
                                                          people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage
                                                          each other . . .

Bible Stories (Look for these in your Bible story book or read them in your Bible and then tell):

Luke 2:41-52 When Jesus was a boy he and his parents went to church. When they were ready to go home, they couldn’t find him. They thought maybe he had went home with someone else. When they finally found him, he was sitting in church talking to the teacher. Jesus liked to talk about God and hear about God when he was a little boy.

1 Samuel 2:11, 18-26 Samuel was a little boy in the Bible who went to church. He stayed with the preacher and helped him in the church by cleaning and keeping the lamps lit. Samuel ministered to and worshipped God there. Samuel liked to go to church.

Matthew 21:1-17 When the people in Jerusalem found out that Jesus was coming to their town they were so excited. The children ran down the street praising Jesus. In church they watched Jesus heal the sick and teach the people. They liked to go to church.

Mark 10:1-16 Jesus was busy teaching the people. Some parents brought their children to him but his disciples told them not to. This displeased Jesus when he heard it. He said, “Let the children come to me” and he took them in his arms and blessed them. Jesus wants children to go to church and learn about Him.

Luke 4:14-22 When Jesus was a man, He went to church. When he got to church, He was asked to read the Bible. He read it to the people and told them what it meant. The people sat still and quietly in church and listed to Jesus.


Prayer:
  Thank you God for our church.  Help us to always enjoy going to church to worship God


Activities:

` Dress like Jesus.  Let older children take turns being Jesus and teaching the others.

` Pretend to be Samuel taking care of the church building.

` Wear sandals and pretend to be the people walking to church to hear Jesus teach.

` Use dolls and stuffed animals to be the children coming to Jesus. Find a picture of Jesus with the children to frame.

` Make a scroll and pretend to be Jesus reading it.

` As you prepare things (clothes, Bible, etc.) for church the night before, talk excitedly about going to church and the friends they will see and the things they will hear and do.

` Sing some of your favorite Sunday School or church songs together (you can find many on youtube)

` Each Sunday talk about what they learned at church

` Invite a friend to go to church with you


Leading your children to worship God regularly at church (and at home) is a priceless gift that will be foundational throughout their lives. 

 


Happy 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 2016.  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

Day 25 of Keeping Christ in Christmas – Birthday Party for Jesus

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!!!

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Luke 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
This was first announced to the shepherds, who were the lower class citizens of that day . . .
Jesus was born for all mankind, rich and poor.

Have a birthday party for Jesus, complete with cupcakes and candles and singing happy birthday to Him.  Our family does this sometime during the season when we can give Jesus full attention apart from the gift giving to each other.  The present for Jesus is always the first to go under the tree, wrapped in gold or silver paper.  It is filled with papers from previous years where we have all drawn on one side pictures of several things we are thankful for through the last year.  On the other side we have written the things we want to give Jesus in the coming year such as more time with Him or showing more compassion for others, etc.  We open the gift at the birthday party and read what each wrote the previous year,  make the sheet for the present year,  and then wrap it back up.  We end the evening with singing Christmas carols by candle light.

Thank you for reading the blog posts during these 25 days of keeping Christ in Christmas.

Have a very Happy Christmas Day!

Day 24 of Keeping Christ in Christmas – Christmas Web

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Christmas can be a whirlwind of activity. There is shopping, cooking, cards to write, entertaining, parties to attend, gifts to wrap, lists to check, more gifts to buy, and on and on.

So how do we transform this to make it a reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ?

We incorporated an activity into our Christmas traditions, called ‘The Christmas Web’. The idea is that the true message of Christmas has become lost in a ‘web of commercialism’.  Put all the children in one bedroom with the door closed while you take rolls of yarn (one for each child) and weave the rolls like a giant spider web all over the house into every room.  It is hard to even move when it is complete.  It is the children’s  job to find the ‘true meaning of Christmas’ .  Hidden at the end of the string is a symbolic gift hidden such as a small flashlight that symbolizes ‘turning the light on to dispel the darkness’ in our world, a new cup that symbolizes ‘being the kind of vessel God can use’, or a new manger scene.

While the children follow their own web through the house, talk about finding the true meaning of Christmas that is mysteriously hidden in all the hustle and bustle of the season.

Mark 4:11 And Jesus said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables.”

Col. 1:26-27 “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.