Application: Adults & Youth
Take some time to examine and discuss these questions together.
- Who are some of the people you have close relationship with? What’s nice about being close with others?
- What is one thing that could make someone nervous about being close to God?
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20
- Do you think God is with us even if we don’t always have everything together?
- How would you relate to God differently if you trusted this statement: God is more concerned with us being close than He is in us being perfect?
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8
- What does it look like to be close to God, even in the midst of you not having it all together?
- How is a relationship with God similar to relationships you talked about in the first question?
- Brainstorm a list of ways your family could strengthen its relationship with God and with each other in the new year.
Application: Elementary Families
Trust That God is With Us: An Experiment
Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:8
Main Point: God is With Us!
This fun experiment will remind your family that God is with you, even if you can’t see Him. We can trust in His presence.
- A glass of water (about 1/2 - 2/3 filled)
- An index card (provided)
Step 1: Place the index card over the top of the glass, making sure that the entire rim is covered by it, and press down.
Step 2: Hold down the card to the top of the glass firmly with one hand. Place your other hand at the bottom of the glass. Carefully flip the glass upside down, making sure you keep holding the card in place. (Note: you may get a TINY drip at this point but don’t panic!)
Step 3: Slowly move the hand holding the card out from underneath the glass. The card should stick, holding the water at bay!
Step 4: Try to convince a volunteer in your family to trust you as you perform the experiment over their head!
We can’t see it, but air pressure is holding the card in place. The air pressure pressing the card against the glass is stronger than the gravity pushing the water downwards, so the card stays put and the
water is contained.
We can’t see the air pressure, but we know it must be working or the water would drop out. We can’t see God but we know that He is there holding us up and supporting us, too. We can trust that even though we can’t see Him, God Is With Us!
- Are there other things in this world that we can’t see, but know they exist?
- How do we know these things exist?
- What evidence do we see or experience that helps us know God Is With Us even if we can’t see Him?
- Today, challenge your family to look for and share evidence of God at work in your home and around you. God is With Us!
Source: Adapted from flamecreativekids.blogspot.com
Application: Preschool Families
Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Luke 2:1-16 - the birth of jesus; the shepherds and angels
Let's hear the story of Jesus’ birth, think of gifts we have to give to Jesus, and explore how celebrating Christmas is like having a birthday party for Jesus!
Children learn what birthday parties are all about at a very young age, so having a birthday party for Jesus is a cognitively appropriate way for kids to see what celebrating Christmas is all about. Just like we celebrate another year of life with a birthday party, Christmas is an annual celebration of Jesus’ life.
- A Bible or a nativity story
- A nativity set or pictures of nativity characters
- Blank paper and a pencil or crayons
- BINGO game (provided)
- Birthday candles & matches
BIRTHDAY GIFT GIVING
- Read the Nativity story from Luke 2:1-16 or another book.
- Show the nativity figures or pictures as you read.
- Discuss: “What gift would you bring to Jesus at his birthday party?” Draw pictures of these gifts for your own nativity scene.
BIRTHDAY GAME PLAYING
- Play Happy Birthday BINGO.
- As you play, ask “What part did this picture have in the Christmas story?”
BIRTHDAY CAKE EATING
Light the birthday candles on a cake (a small grocery store cake or one made out of Play-Doh works just fine!)
Sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.
“What do you think Jesus would wish for when he blew out his birthday candle?”
Look at this picture of a cake and discuss these symbols:
- The chocolate layer reminds us that our heart is full of sin.
- The red layer reminds us that Jesus shed His blood for our sins.
- The white frosting reminds us that Jesus will forgive our sins and give us a clean heart.
- The green layer reminds us to grow in Christ through praying, reading the Bible, and worshiping.
- The yellow decorations remind us of heaven.
- The candles remind us Jesus is the Light of the world.
Consider gathering your family together to conclude with a “repeat after me prayer.” Pause between every few words, allowing the children to echo what you have said.
Dear God | thank you | for our birthdays | especially | Jesus’ birthday! | Amen
Sources: Adapted from ministry-to-children.com, ABCJesuslovesme.com, ouroutofsynclife.blogspot.com