Comfort Me

Have you ever felt really sad about something? What kinds of things make you feel better when you are sad? Allow children to name something that makes them feel better (hugs, having someone listen to them, singing a song, etc).

Remember last week when we read in the Bible about Isaiah? This week I have another story to share with you from Isaiah. Read Isaiah 40:1-11 from the Lectionary Story Bible – Year B. When Isaiah was feeling sad he would sing. Let me share his song with you again. “Comfort them. Comfort my people, says our God. Speak so tenderly to all of them, and tell them for me, that I love every one of them and that I am coming to help them.” What does the word comfort mean? Allow children to define comfort. Remind them of the forms of comfort they discussed at the beginning. How do you think God comforts us? Allow children to share ideas. Remind them that God comforts us through the actions of others.

The story of Isaiah happens long before the time of Jesus. I want you to listen to what else Isaiah had to say, “I know God’s chosen one will come. And God will feed us all, like a shepherd. And hold us warm and tight, and keep us safe from harm, and show us how to live.” Doesn’t that sound comforting? Someone to feed us, hold us warm and tight, keep us safe from harm, and show us how to live. Who do you think Isaiah was talking about? Children will likely answer, Jesus! Can you think of anyone else that does that for you? Someone who feeds you, holds you warm and tight, keeps you safe, and shows you how to live? Help children to understand that there are people in their lives that do these things for them as well (parents, grandparents, sunday school teachers, etc). Jesus is our best example, but there are many people in your life that comfort you with the love of God. And do you want to know the best part? YOU can be a comfort too!


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Every Wednesday I share with you a lesson based on the lectionary. These lessons are meant to be used for a children’s moment (aka children’s sermon, children’s liturgy, children’s church, etc), sunday school, or even as a family devotion in your own home. But for this lectionary year I wanted to offer you something more.

I have taken the lesson above and written it into a lesson plan format. I have also added a Respond and Extend section to the downloadable lesson. These are additional ideas for the children to respond to the main lesson and then an extension activity for them to do at a later time. The extension activity includes a handout to send home with directions. In addition to the 3 page PDF download I have created a worship background image that could be projected on the screen during the children’s moment of your worship service.

All of this can be yours for less than a dollar!! Just click the Add to Cart button to download your copy today!
Add to Cart
Cost: $0.99

Please note: all images and PDF files are my creation. You may use them in your home and with your church family. Please give credit to ChildhoodSpirituality.com. You may not sell these items in part or in full, or in any way claim them as your own. Thank you!

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Mindfulness Monday {Helping Out}

I expect my boys to help out around the house. Their regular chores are to keep their rooms cleaned up and put away their laundry. But occasionally I ask a bit more. Last week, as we were preparing for their Daddy to return home after a 4 month deployment (as a civilian contractor), I made a list of all the chores that needed to be done. The boys and I worked our way through the list. They loved that they got to choose which chore to do, and they felt important to the process. I loved watching them contribute to our home. For a moment I stopped and watched in wonder at these two boys. They are getting so big, and learning such important lessons along the way!

What have you noticed today?

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Share the Love

Today is traditionally called Black Friday. I think it’s a great day to bring a little sunshine into someone’s life! Not to mention, it’s a fun project for the kids and a way to keep them entertained if you are out trying to take advantage of all the sales!

Find some 3×5 note cards and something to write with. Think of song titles that make you feel happy like “You are my sunshine” or “You Make Everything Glorious.” Write one song title on each card and decorate. Next time you are out of the house find places to leave these messages of happiness. On a friend’s desk, or in the grocery cart. At the gas pump, or in a library book. Know that your little messages bring smiles and joy to whoever finds them.

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God’s Strong, Gentle Hands

This week begins a new Lectionary year and the beginning of the Advent season. We now enter Year B in the Revised Common Lectionary. We begin Year B in the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 64:1-9 as it reads in the NRSV may be difficult for children to understand. This lesson will be based off Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Story Bible – Year B
(as will many of my lessons throughout this year).

Ask the children if they know what holiday is coming up. It won’t take long for them to answer “Christmas!” probably loudly and in unison. Ask if they know why people call this the busiest time of the year. Help the children realize that this time of year is filled with lots of holiday programs, gatherings with friends and family, cooking, baking, and lots of shopping! Tell the children that you are going to read them a story about a man named Isaiah. Read Isaiah 64:1-9 from Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Story Bible – Year B.

Ask the children what Isaiah was sad about. Help them remember that Isaiah was frustrated because people in the market were so busy buying and selling things and making plans that they forgot about God. They forgot to say thank you to God for all the blessings in their lives. Do you think that ever happens now? During the busiest time of the year? Have you ever gotten so excited about the programs, and gatherings, and food, and presents that you forgot about God? Tell the children that we ALL have times like that. But Isaiah’s story reminds us how important it is to say thank you to God for our blessings.

Isaiah was so upset that people were forgetting God that he wanted God to get angry with the people and punish them. But Rebekah helped him remember that God is kind and gentle. Isaiah thought about that until he calmed down and then he said that God is like a potter who makes pots out of clay. God holds us and shapes us with strong kind hands. Tell the children that clay is kind of like play-dough. Ask the children if they have ever made something out of play-dough? Pull out some play-dough to demonstrate with and begin to make a bowl. What if my hands are rough with this play-dough? Begin mashing the bowl you created. What happens? Allow children to answer. But Isaiah taught us that God holds us and shapes us with strong gentle hands. Use gentle hands to remake the bowl. God is always holding you and shaping you into a better person.

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Every Wednesday I share with you a lesson based on the lectionary. These lessons are meant to be used for a children’s moment (aka children’s sermon, children’s liturgy, children’s church, etc), sunday school, or even as a family devotion in your own home. But for this lectionary year I wanted to offer you something more.

I have taken the lesson above and written it into a lesson plan format. I have also added a Respond and Extend section to the downloadable lesson. These are additional ideas for the children to respond to the main lesson and then an extension activity for them to do at a later time. The extension activity includes a handout to send home with directions. In addition to the 3 page PDF download I have created a worship background image that could be projected on the screen during the children’s moment of your worship service.

All of this can be yours for less than a dollar!! Just click the Add to Cart button to download your copy today!
Add to Cart
Cost: $0.99

Please note: all images and PDF files are my creation. You may use them in your home and with your church family. Please give credit to ChildhoodSpirituality.com. You may not sell these items in part or in full, or in any way claim them as your own. Thank you!

————————————————————————————————-

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Mindfulness Monday {Happy Mail}

My youngest loves to hop, skip and jump everywhere we go. And I have to admit, when he’s holding my hand and pulling on my arm every two seconds while hop/skip/jumping it can start to get on my nerves. And then the other day I decided to let go and enjoy the moment. And I was struck by his pure joy. Even when doing something as simple as walking to the mailbox. There is nothing but happiness…and I so often I miss it. Today in the middle of Thanksgiving preparations I’m going to stop…take a breath…and look for moments of joy.

What have you noticed today?

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Say Thank You to God {A Bible Box Activity}

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a Bible Box activity with you. Even if you haven’t made your own Bible Box yet, you can still easily use this activity with your child(ren). As Thanksgiving draws nearer we often talk of thanking God for our blessings. The lectionary scripture for Thanksgiving day is Luke 17:11-19.

 

  1. Read Luke 17:11-19 aloud to your child(ren).
  2. Ask them what props they want to use to act out the story. I used a green napkin, some felt cut into strips for the road, 10 figurines and a Jesus. You can use any toy people you have. I have Tales of Glory figurines so that is what I used. But they certainly aren’t necessary.
  3. Allow your child(ren) to set the scene with the props they collected.
  4. Read the scripture again as your children act it out with the figurines.


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Being Kind to God

The lectionary scripture for this week, Matthew 25:31-40, follows a series of parables about what heaven will be like. This scripture serves as the final statement prior to the passion and the resurrection in the book of Matthew.

Ask the children if they have ever given God some food? What about a drink? Have you given God clothes? Or taken care of God when God was sick? Tell the children that you want them to listen to what Jesus has to say about this. Read the children Matthew 25:31-40. Explain that Jesus is saying that all people are part of God’ family. And when you help anyone in God’s family you are helping God.

Ask the children again. Tell me about a time you gave God food. Tell me about when you gave God something to drink. Tell me about a time you gave God clothes. Tell me about a time you took care of God when God was sick. Allow children to share stories after each question. Help them connect to the things they can do to help the people of God’s family.

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Mindfulness Monday {It’s the Little Things}

As I’ve mentioned before, the focus of my Mindfulness series is focused on you! YOU are your child’s best model. Your child will do and say the things they hear YOU doing and saying. When I am more connected to God, I am better able to facilitate my children’s connection to God. So, for the most part, Mindfulness Mondays is a reminder to start off your week with God in mind, so that you are more able to talk with your children about God! But mindfulness is also a perfect activity to do with your children! So I’m back again today to talk about how to practice mindfulness with your children. Remember that with children I like to use the word notice rather than mindful. We talked before about the BIG and BEAUTIFUL parts of God’s creation. Today we are going to talk about noticing the little things.

Once your children are skilled at noticing they will begin to notice God everywhere. But to begin I always like to take children on a nature walk. Tell your child(ren) that today we are going to notice the teeny tiny parts of God’s creation! Remember that even man made items can be considered part of God’s creation because God is inspiring and creating through us! So allow your child to notice any teeny tiny items on your walk. To make things more fun you can even take along a magnifying glass to help in your search!

At the end of your noticing walk reflect on the teeny tiny things that God created. You may just choose to discuss your noticings, or you may want to have your child draw a picture of their favorite teeny tiny part of God’s creation. You could even hang it next to their BIG and BEAUTIFUL picture to compare!

The more often we take time to notice God in our lives, the more of God we begin to see!

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Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist, is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner says people have multiple forms of intelligence. He identifies eight: linguistic, logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. Gardner is still considering a ninth, or existential intelligence (the intelligence of “big questions”), but has not, as yet, added it. You can learn more about the multiple intelligences and take a quick quiz to see which intelligences are your strongest here.

Gardner says an intelligence is the capacity to process a certain kind of information. To be considered as an intelligence Gardner looks at 3 things.  He says that an intelligence entails the ability to solve problems, or fashion a product, that have meaning to a culture or community.  Each intelligence must have an identifiable core operation or set of operations.  And an intelligence must have a symbol system, or a way to convey meaning.

As people, we are not limited to one kind of intelligence.  Everyone has the ability to process information using all of the intelligences, but most people tend to be stronger in only a few of the intelligences.  Schools privilege those who have strong linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, which makes school difficult for the many among us who exhibit somewhat different intellectual profiles.

So what does this have to do with spirituality? I believe that we can use spiritual practices and family devotions that utilize various forms of intelligence. This allows us as parents, and church families, the opportunity to develop parts of the brain that don’t get as much focus in school.  

Linguistic Intelligence ~ Much of what we do when studying scripture involves the linguistic intelligence. Any time our activity focuses on story and words we are taping into linguistic intelligence.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence~ I’m still working on how to apply this one to spirituality. If you have any ideas I’d LOVE to hear them! This intelligence does receive a heavy focus in school so I know your children are not missing out! UPDATE: A reader commented that stewardship is the perfect application for Logical/Mathematical Intelligence. Can’t believe that didn’t occur to me! 🙂

Musical Intelligence ~ If you’ve been following my Childhood Spirituality for very long you know that I like to incorporate music into my scripture lessons whenever possible. Maybe this is because the Musical Intelligence is one of my strongest. 🙂

Spatial Intelligence ~ There are many ways to incorporate art into prayer practices! I’ve only begun to touch on this subject, but I have many more ideas to come!

Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence ~ Many people don’t think of physical activity of a way to connect with God, but it definitely can be!

Interpersonal Intelligence ~ When you are able to understand and relate to other people you are using your interpersonal intelligence. Any time you participate in a family devotion you are teaching your children how to relate with other people.

Intrapersonal Intelligence ~ Intrapersonal Intelligence is an awareness of one’s own self. It involves the ability to be self reflective. Intrapersonal intellignece is the easiest intellignece to connect with spiritual practices.

Naturalistic Intelligence ~ Another easy intelligence to connect to spiritual practices is the naturalistic intelligence. Nature is simply a great place to feel connected to God!

Existential Intelligence ~ Gardner may not have determined “the big questions” as an intelligence yet, but I certainly think it is! And this intelligence is exactly what we are all trying to develop in our children!

It is highly likely that you will connect to one practice more than others, possibly due to which intelligence is your strength. And it’s likely that your children will like one type of activity more than another. But it’s good to offer opportunities to experience God in a variety of ways so that each person in our family is able to connect with God!

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Shine Your Light

In this week’s lectionary scripture Jesus shares another parable with us. Matthew 25:14-30.

Begin by reading the scripture to the children. Say to the children that this scripture was a little confusing when you first read it, and you had to do some investigating to find out what it meant.

Say to the children that the first thing that confused you was the word talent. Discuss that the word talent in Jesus’s time did not mean the same thing that it does now. Talent was a large sum of money. Just one talent was about what an average person would make in 20 years. That would be about half a million dollars today. And the man in the parable gave one of his servants 5 talents! That sure is a lot of money! Now even though Jesus uses money as the example in this story, I don’t think he was only talking about money. I think Jesus was talking about using what we are given, both the abilities we have and the money we have. I like to think of it as God’s light in us.

Let’s focus on the three servants. Ask the children what did the first two servants do? They went out and invested their money. Do you think they had ever tried those things before? Probably not! I bet they felt a little bit afraid to try something new, but they went out and did their best. They let their light shine! And they were rewarded!

What about the third servant? What did he do? He hid his money and waited. Why do you think he did that? I think he was afraid. But instead of using his gift anyway, even when he felt afraid, he hid the gift. He let his fear control his actions. He hid his light. And in the end he was alone in the darkness..

Ask the children what message this scripture has for us? Guide them to the idea that God wants us to use our gifts and talents (both the ability kind and the money kind)! God wants us to shine our light everywhere we go!

To close sing with the children this version of the song “This Little Light of Mine.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpU1GqoO8i0)

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine.
Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine.
Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Even when I’m afraid, I’m going to let it shine.
Even when I’m afraid, I’m going to let it shine.
Even when I’m afraid, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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