Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, speak to us as we hear the Christmas story today. Teach us, so that we may learn from the example of those who came before us. Give us the courage to share our faith with others, as they did long ago. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Luke 2:8-20
That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.”

Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said: “Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.” After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay. When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. Everyone listened and was surprised. But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant. As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: What is your favorite part of the Christmas story? If you were with the shepherds on that special night, what would you have done after seeing the angels?

Child: What do you think went through Mary’s mind when the shepherds showed up? What might have been most surprising about them?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Heavenly Father, on this beautiful Christmas Day, we thank you for the most precious gift of your Son, Jesus. Like the shepherds, may we, too, tell others about how wonderful he is! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you tell others about Jesus! Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, we ask you to be with us now as we settle in to hear your Word. Help us to better understand the amazing story of how your Son came down to earth. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Luke 2:1-7
About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books. These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family.

Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: It probably took Mary and Joseph nearly a week (or maybe more) to walk to Bethlehem. What do you think the hardest part of that journey might have been?

Child: It’s about 90 miles between Nazareth and Bethlehem. What is the farthest distance you have ever walked? If our family was going on a long journey on foot, what are some things we might take with us?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Heavenly Father, be with those who are travelling today. Please protect them and keep them safe, as you did for Mary and Joseph so long ago. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you follow where God leads you! Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, as we look forward to the fun of Christmas, may we never forget the true “reason for the season.” Be with us now, as we learn more of our Savior’s story. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Luke 1:39-45
A short time later Mary hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea. She went into Zechariah’s home, where she greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby moved within her. The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth.

Then in a loud voice she said to Mary: “God has blessed you more than any other woman! He has also blessed the child you will have. Why should the mother of my Lord come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me. The Lord has blessed you because you believed that he will keep his promise.” (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: How did Elizabeth react when she saw Mary? How did Elizabeth’s baby respond? How might you have reacted if you were at Elizabeth’s house that day.

Child: The Holy Spirit who came to Elizabeth is also our Helper and Comforter. Can you think of a time in your life when the Holy Spirit helped you in some way? Tell us about that.

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus! May we receive him into our lives joyfully, as Elizabeth did so long ago. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you be filled with joy! Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, thank you for being with us. Help us to learn more about your mighty power as we study your Word today. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Luke 1:26-38
One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David. The angel greeted Mary and said, “You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.” Mary was confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant.

Then the angel told Mary, “Don’t be afraid! God is pleased with you, and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was. He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.” Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am not married!” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son. Nothing is impossible for God!”  Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.” And the angel left her. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: What do you imagine the angel Gabriel looked like? How do you think you might react if an angel showed up with a message for you? Why?

Child: Mary was likely a teenager when she was visited by Gabriel. Can you think of other stories in the Bible where God has chosen young people to do important things? What are they?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Heavenly Father, you are a God of surprises. Even when we may not understand your plan, help us to accept all that you bring into our lives, as Mary did. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you believe in God’s good plan! Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, as we start this week of study and prayer, thank you for being with us and inspiring us. Please help us to better understand your Word. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

John 1:-14
In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out.

God sent a man named John, who came to tell about the light and to lead all people to have faith. John wasn’t that light. He came only to tell about the light. The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word.

He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him. Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. They were not God’s children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children. The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: Why does a light shining in the dark help people feel better? Tell about a time you were afraid of the dark and were comforted by the light.

Child: Jesus wasn’t welcomed by his own people. Have you ever felt like an outsider? When? Why does it help to know that Jesus understands that feeling?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, you know what it feels like to be misunderstood and rejected. Help us to remember that you love us, especially during those times when we feel like outsiders, ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you always follow the light! Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, you want the best for us, and you bless us every day. Be with us now, and help us to understand more about your Word. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Revelation 21:1-6
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: The Bible tells us that there will be a new heaven and a new earth one day. What do you imagine these places will be like? Describe that for us.

Child: Where is Jerusalem? Why do you think it’s called a holy city? What would you most like to see if you visited there?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, thank you for caring for your people. We look forward to the day when you make all things new! Please help us to be patient until that time. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you trust in God’s good plans! Amen.

Monday: Understanding

Pray: Begin by making the sign of the cross and calling upon God's name.

From God to us, from death to life, from me to you …
in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, no matter what is going on in our world, you are over all. Be with us now, and give us a peaceful heart and a clear mind as we study your Word. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Listen: Pay close attention as these verses from the Bible are read aloud.

Revelation 12: 7-11
A war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels were fighting against the dragon and its angels. But the dragon lost the battle. It and its angels were forced out of their places in heaven and were thrown down to the earth. Yes, that old snake and his angels were thrown out of heaven! That snake, who fools everyone on earth, is known as the devil and Satan.

Then I heard a voice from heaven shout, “Our God has shown his saving power, and his kingdom has come! God’s own Chosen One has shown his authority. Satan accused our people in the presence of God day and night. Now he has been thrown out! Our people defeated Satan because of the blood of the Lamb and the message of God. They were willing to give up their lives. The heavens should rejoice, together with everyone who lives there.” (CEV)

Engage: Talk about the Bible by having parents respond to children’s questions.

Child: Why do you think the Bible describes the devil as a “dragon” and a “snake”? What does that tell us about who the devil is and what the devil is like?

Child: Why is it important to remember that God is stronger than the devil? How can this promise give us comfort when we hear of bad things happening in the world?

Affirm: Pray for God to put his Word into action in your daily life.

Lord God, thank you for winning the battle against the forces of evil. Help us to remember that we never need to fear, because we have you in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have each person in the family bless one another with these words:

May you remember that God is all powerful! Amen.