Family Advent: Coming Soon!

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1st postThis Sunday begins Advent. Advent for me has been something I was just introduced  to since moving up north. According to the dictionary Advent is:

ad·vent  (dvntn.

1. The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important: the advent of the computer.
2a. The liturgical period preceding Christmas, beginning in Western churches on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and in Eastern churches in mid-November, and observed by many Christians as a season of prayer, fasting, and penitence.

2b. Christianity The coming of Jesus at the Incarnation.
2c. Christianity See Second Coming.
Last year my family begin doing a Family Advent Devotion put on by Jenny Funderburke and it was a complete success. This Year we decided to put one together that I believe will go along with our Sunday lessons from our children’s ministry. Beginning Sunday, December 1st you can visit familyadventtime.com with your child. Here you will experience a fun interactive devotion where you can read the daily scripture reading, watch a video that draws them into the days reading and a place for you to do the Extra Credit: Family Activity where we have provided a activity that you can do together as a family.
Try it together as you and your chid help celebrate the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Santa is real!

CHR02.mm.JesusAndSanta.mainThis past Sunday at our church one of our Pastors spoke on Deity of Jesus and how Santa or St. Nick was a real person. You can watch the message HERE and fast forward to about 11 minutes in.

This had me thinking:  We have never seen Jesus but we try to raise our kids to believe in Him. The same with Santa, we have never seen Santa but he comes Christmas Eve night through the chimney and delivers the presents under the tree. So for a child they put these two people under the same category REAL. In their minds and with faith like a child they grow up believing in both, then they find out that Santa is not real and that it’s a fictional character that we get our pictures with at the mall and blame the eating of the cookies and milk on when we know good and well it was our late night snack.

So what does that mean for what they think of Jesus? They believed in Him just as much as Santa and now they find out Santa was a made up story that we used to make Christmas fun for them. What are they going to think now?

As a parent of two I want to make sure that I don’t do anything to hinder my children from believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. When my first-born discovered Santa wasn’t real I felt like a liar and a failure of a parent. Tears were shed because to her Santa was real. Then I showed her a couple of videos that helped her understand that Santa was real.  These videos helped her understand better and so I wanted to share them with you as well.

Then after watching these two brief videos We came across a VeggieTales story that made it so much clearer. It changed the way we as a family look at Christmas. It’ less about Santa and more about showing the love of Jesus to others, because Jesus is REAL.

Watch the Trailer for the VeggieTales movie here or click the link and  get your very own copy.

Saint Nicholas — A Story of Joyful Giving 

Everyone has a moment

Everyone has a moment. One of my favorite parts of the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2 is when it references the Shepherds in the field.

“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.  Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.  The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

For this group of shepherds they had a moment. They were living their life comfy cozy doing what came natural watching their sheep. Not only was it natural but they were good at it. As a shepherd they had to keep a close eye on those sheep so that they didn’t wander or even get attacked by wolves. Their moment came when out of nowhere an angel appeared surrounded with the glory of God and then it says they were TERRIFIED. A lot of times God shows His glory in our lives through circumstances and it’s not what we are used to sometimes it’s something out of our comfort zone and it’s scary sometimes terrifying. But it’s how we react to these moments that define us. The story goes on to say:

 “When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.  After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”

When the shepherds had that moment where God took them out of their comfort zone to play a major role in a very important story, it was how they reacted that stood out to me. They hurried to see and then they couldn’t stop talking about it.

When God sends something your way that is not normal and takes you out of your comfort zone how do you react? Do you obey and go immediately to see what God has planned for you, giving it your all running towards that calling or do you hesitate and wait for another sign from God?

This may be the moment that you won’t be able to stop talking about. This may be that moment that all you can do is give praise to Him. The Angel said, “Do not be afraid…” and the shepherds ran to obedience.

12 Questions of Christmas

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I love these videos and the What’s in the Bible series. I wanted to share the 12 questions with you because this Advent season we need to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
12 Questions of Christmas: from What’s in the Bible 
Question #1:  Why do they call it Christmas?
Question #2:  Was Jesus really born on Christmas? 
Question #3:  How long has it been since Jesus was born?
Question #4:  What does Santa Clause have to do with Jesus’ Birthday?
Question #5:  How did St. Nick turn into Santa Clause?
Question #6:  Why does Santa wear a red, furry hat?
Question #7:  Why was Santa ringing a bell and asking for money?
Question #8:  What is Hanukkah?
Question #9: What do Christmas trees have to do with Jesus?
Question #10: What do are the 12 days of Christmas?
Question #11: Who is Emmanuel and what does he have to do with Christmas?
Question #12: Why do we give on Christmas?

Top of the Christmas List

If your like my family this is about the time you ask your child:

So what do you want for Christmas?

For some of you have them go and make a list, Some kids will then mail their list to Santa in the North Pole or Grandma’s House across town. When you look at these list they include a lot of technology or toys that are hard to find but hardly ever will there be at the top of the list, a Bible.

I want to encourage you this Christmas shopping season to make God’s Word the top of the Christmas list. For many parents it’s not even a thought and I was one of them but a few years back when my now second grader got to where she could read in Kindergarten  My wife and I got a beginner’s Bible that was made for just her level and it became her favorite thing. She desired to read it, take it to bed with her and even have us read it with her. I believe that this has played a major role in her coming to know Christ as her personal Lord and Savior.

Let me challenge you to make God’s Word the top of the Christmas list and find the right Bible for your child. Below are my recommendations, I hope this helps you when you’re getting started with your Christmas shopping.

Toddlers

Preschool

Elementary

 

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Prov. 22:6