Growing Closer to God Throughout the Church Year:
“Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, the young and old, the wise and those who still had a few things to learn, those who had a lot and those whose need was great, committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.” – Acts 2:42
Today we continue these tradition by bringing the lessons of the gospels into our homes and hearts. The following activities follow the cycle of the church year but can be used at any time. Enjoy.
Advent : HAPPY NEW YEAR!
(Sunday, November 27 – December 18th, 2016)
Each year Advent marks the beginning of a new year in the Christian Church and helps us celebrate the four Sundays before Christmas. As Psalm 27:14 says “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And the Lord shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”Advent: A Time Of Waiting Activity
Finding the meaning in waiting. Using time to glorify God.
Celebrating the Waiting: Why Advent Still Matters by Timothy Paul Jones
How do we celebrate the holidays? Is patience really a virtue?
“Why Wait?” Activity
A Pray for Advent: “Dear God, Thank you for giving us the opportunity to “wait” on You. How difficult it must have been for Mary and Joseph to wait to meet Your Son. Please help prepare our hearts for the miracle of Christmas. Amen.”
How well do you really know the story of Jesus’ birth?
How did Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem from Nazareth? What characters or creatures shared their sleeping quarters? Who came to greet the newborn baby on the first night? Rediscover the magic of Christmas as you read scripture, sculpt, draw, imagine and pray…
Know Your Nativity Activity
January is a perfect time for a Christmas After-Party. “Wait! I thought Christmas was over!” A Christmas After-Party gives us a chance to see what gifts or old toys, electronics, book, or knickknacks might be better served being used by someone else. A Christmas After-Party also gives us an opportunity to think about how we want to celebrate Christmas next year.
Christmas After-Party Activity
Have you ever dreamed of peace? Have you ever dream a dream that was so big that you thought it might not come true? These are the types of dreams Martin Luther King Jr. and other spiritual and political leaders of our past dreamed to get us where we are today. Where will our dreams take us in the future?
I Dream You Dream Activity
Did you know that Valentine was a man of God, a Christian? Did you know that for a period of time marriage was illegal in the Roman Empire? Learn about all this and more as we celebrate St. Valentine and share God’s love with others.
“Will You Be My Saint Valentine?” Activity
The History of St. Valentine’s Day Video
Sometimes being a friend is hard. Even when you want to help someone, you might not know what to say or how to act. Luke 10:25-37 tells the parable of the Good Samaritan and shows what being a friend looks like.
A Friend in Need Activity
Lent: A Time of Preparation
(Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017)
What does a gas station, a dinner table and giving up part of your allowance have to do with Lent? Find out, as you explore new ways your family can help someone in need and honor God this Lenten season.
As a family we are called to support one another with love an kindness. Psalm 119: 10-12 says “With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments.I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes.” Yet these promises are often hard to keep with the support of those closest to us. Use this activity to find ways your family can support each other and encourage each other during this time of Lent.
Join Presbyterians around the world as we discover how we can take better care of the environment! Use this 40 day lenten calendar to find quick and easy ways to stay mindful of all God’s creation throughout the season of Lent. Included are reflection questions, readings, facts, stories, and suggested actions to draw you more deeply into relationship with God and all God’s creation.
For this years calendar go to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Resources and type “Tread Lightly for Lent” into the search box
The Awareness Examen
- Become aware of God’s presence. Ask God to be with you as you pray. Ask God to see your day through God’s eyes.
- Review the day with gratitude. Thank God for the gift of life. Being able to wake up is the first of many gift that God gives us each day. Then thank God for any moments of joy or places where you felt gratitude throughout your day.
- Letting go of sorrow. Give to God any moments in your day where you felt sorrow or did something you regret. Ask God for forgiveness and pray for situations in which you have caused harm.
- Revive God ‘s grace. Know that through Jesus Christ all are forgiven.
- Look toward tomorrow. Plan to spend tomorrow with God. Know that each day is fresh and commit to living more of each day in God’s presence.
The Examen in Two Steps:
At the end of you day, ask yourself these two questions:
- For what moment am I most grateful?
- For what moment am I least grateful?
Let all else fall away as you reflect on each experience? What did the experience feel like? What were you like? If there was anyone else present, what were they like? What might God be seeking to teach you through these experiences? Knowing that God’s love is full of grace, gently give these moments to God, holding on to the knowledge that in all of life’s moments God desires to be with you.
For more information on the Examen process visit the Ignatian Spirituality website.
(Sunday June 4, 2017)
Today we celebrate the birthday of the Church. As a family talk about how you might treat today’s service as a birthday party. Could you decorate the sanctuary, to give it a party feel? Would your church want to rent a bounce house for the day? Or, knowing that God has given each of us gifts (Romans 12:6-8), you might think about what spiritual gift or physical gift might you give to the church (1 Peter 4:10). Perhaps a book for the church nursery, a flower to plant or a treat to share at coffee hour would be a blessing for the church.
To learn more about the first Pentecost read Acts 2:1-47.
Summer & Fall Activities
Summer is a great time to play in the water, swimming, exploring the tide-pools, surfing… As you play, use this activity to remember your baptism.
Walking Wet Activity
Did you know that Halloween is just the first of three special days? First comes Scary, then Holy, and finally a day for Remembering. Do you know which is which and why?
Scary, Saints and Souls Days Activity
What to learn more about how others have brought people closer to God? Click on the link to learn about various Saints and the days were celebrate them. Who knows? Maybe your name might just be on the list one day…
A Saints For Just About Every Day of the Year
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1The Bible is full of people who give thanks. Use these scriptures and you own thoughts on thankfulness to create a tree of thankfulness. Don’t forget to share your tree with others, as you share God’s blessing with the world.
What are you thankful for this year? For some people the ideas come right away, while for others ideas take more time.
Thanksgiving Joys Activity
Have you ever noticed how nature can help you pray? As the leaves begin to fall start a leaf collection, not only to admire God’s handiwork, but to help you pray.
Falling Leaves Prayer Activity