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.

Heavenly Father, be with us now as we settle in and prepare to read our Bible story. Quiet our minds and our hearts, so that we might learn what you want to teach us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

Luke 6:27-38
[Jesus said] This is what I say to all who will listen to me: Love your enemies, and be good to everyone who hates you. Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, don’t stop that person from slapping you on the other cheek. If someone wants to take your coat, don’t try to keep back your shirt. Give to everyone who asks and don’t ask people to return what they have taken from you. Treat others just as you want to be treated.

If you love only someone who loves you, will God praise you for that? Even sinners love people who love them. If you are kind only to someone who is kind to you, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners are kind to people who are kind to them. If you lend money only to someone you think will pay you back, will God be pleased with you for that? Even sinners lend to sinners because they think they will get it all back.

But love your enemies and be good to them. Lend without expecting to be paid back. Then you will get a great reward, and you will be the true children of God in heaven. He is good even to people who are unthankful and cruel. Have pity on others, just as your Father has pity on you. (CEV)

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

Child: What is an “enemy?” Have you ever felt like someone was your enemy?

Child: When have you been kind to someone who was mean to you? What did you do?

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

Holy God, no one likes to have enemies. When people treat us badly, we feel angry and sad. Help us to see where our enemies are suffering, so that we might understand them better. Guide our actions, so that we can treat them with love as you would do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you show kindness even to your enemies. 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 this day, and for this time when we can be together and learn about those who came before us. Be with us while we hear our Bible story. As we listen, help us to grow in faith and understanding. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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

John 2:1-12
Three days later Mary, the mother of Jesus, was at a wedding feast in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited and were there. When the wine was all gone, Mary said to Jesus, “They don’t have any more wine.” Jesus replied, “Mother, my time hasn’t yet come: You must not tell me what to do.” Mary then said to the servants, “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do.”

At the feast there were six stone water jars that were used by the people for washing themselves in the way that their religion said they must. Each jar held about twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants to fill them to the top with water. Then after the jars had been filled, he said, “Now take some water and give it to the man in charge of the feast.” The servants did as Jesus told them, and the man in charge drank some of the water that had now turned into wine. He did not know where the wine had come from, but the servants did. He called the bridegroom over and said, “The best wine is always served first. Then after the guests have had plenty, the other wine is served. But you have kept the best until last!”

This was Jesus' first miracle, and he did it in the village of Cana in Galilee. There Jesus showed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. After this, he went with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples to the town of Capernaum, where they stayed for a few days. (CEV)

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

Child: What is a “miracle?” Why was it a miracle when Jesus turned water into wine?

Child: What was the most memorable wedding you ever attended? Tell us about it.

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

Heavenly Father, Jesus did amazing things during his time on earth. As we learn more about him each week through our Bible stories, help us to see that he is truly the Son of God. In his holy name we pray. Amen.

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

May you put your faith in 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, as we read our Bible story today, may we see how you care for all people. Be with us now, and help us to learn all that you would have us know. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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

Luke 19:1-9
Jesus was going through Jericho, where a man named Zacchaeus lived. He was in charge of collecting taxes and was very rich. Jesus was heading his way, and Zacchaeus wanted to see what he was like. But Zacchaeus was a short man and could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree. When Jesus got there, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down! I want to stay with you today.” Zacchaeus hurried down and gladly welcomed Jesus. Everyone who saw this started grumbling, “This man Zacchaeus is a sinner! And Jesus is going home to eat with him.”

Later that day Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “I will give half of my property to the poor. And I will now pay back four times as much to everyone I have ever cheated.” Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Today you and your family have been saved, because you are a true son of Abraham. (CEV)

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

Child: Did you ever climb a tall tree when you were small? What could you see from up there?

Child: What did the people in his town think of Zacchaeus?  Why do you think he would want to see Jesus? Do you think that is unusual? Why or why not?

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

Heavenly Father, not one of us is perfect, and we long for a relationship with you. Thank you for sending Jesus to reach out to all of us who need your love and forgiveness. In his holy name we pray. Amen.

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

May you receive God’s love and forgiveness! 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, be with us today, and inspire us as we learn what it means to follow Jesus. Help us to trust him enough that we can go wherever he leads us, just like his disciples 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.

Matthew 4:18-23
While Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two brothers. One was Simon, also known as Peter, and the other was Andrew. They were fishermen, and they were casting their net into the lake. Jesus said to them, “Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him.

Jesus walked on until he saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat with their father, mending their nets. Jesus asked them to come with him too. Right away they left the boat and their father and went with Jesus.  Jesus went all over Galilee, teaching in the Jewish meeting places and preaching the good news about God’s kingdom. He also healed every kind of disease and sickness. (CEV)

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

Child: Jesus said to the fishermen, “I will teach you to bring in people instead of fish.” How might working with Jesus be similar to fishing?

Child: Why do you think the fishermen followed Jesus “right away?” What would cause you to do that, if you were with them?

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

Heavenly Father, Peter, Andrew, James and John knew that Jesus was someone very special, and that his work was the most important thing they could do. Help us to see this, in our own lives, and to be brave in following him. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you follow Jesus all of your days! 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, be with us today as we learn about Jesus and his time in the desert. Open our minds and our hearts, so that we may understand more about your Son, and all that he faced during his years here on earth. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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

Matthew 4:1-11
The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, so that the devil could test him. After Jesus had gone without eating for forty days and nights, he was very hungry. Then the devil came to him and said, “If you are God’s Son, tell these stones to turn into bread.” Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say: ‘No one can live only on food. People need every word that God has spoken.’”

Next, the devil took Jesus to the holy city and had him stand on the highest part of the temple. The devil said, “If you are God’s Son, jump off. The Scriptures say: ‘God will give his angels orders about you. They will catch you in their arms, and you won’t hurt your feet on the stones.’” Jesus answered, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Don’t try to test the Lord your God!’”

Finally, the devil took Jesus up on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms on earth and their power. The devil said to him, “I will give all this to you, if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus answered, “Go away Satan! The Scriptures say: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil left Jesus, and angels came to help him. (CEV)

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

Child: What does it mean to be “tested?” What is the hardest test that you ever faced?

Child: Can you tell us what a desert is like? Why might the desert have been a particularly hard place for Jesus to be tested?

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

Heavenly Father, it is comforting to know that Jesus faced times of testing while he was on earth, and that he understands when we do, too. Help us to look to you, and to the Bible, for strength when we need it most. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you know that God is with you during any test you face! 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 the Holy Bible, where we can hear stories about those who have gone before us in the faith. Be with us as we learn today. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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

Matthew 3:13-17
Jesus left Galilee and went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John kept objecting and said, “I ought to be baptized by you. Why have you come to me?” Jesus answered, “For now this is how it should be, because we must do all that God wants us to do.” Then John agreed.

So Jesus was baptized. And as soon as he came out of the water, the sky opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him like a dove. Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.” (CEV)

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

Child: Why do you think John wanted to be baptized by Jesus, instead of the other way around?

Child: Why did you want me to be baptized? What is your favorite memory from my baptism?

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

Heavenly Father, through baptism, you make us your children. Thank you for caring so much about us, and for bringing us into the family of faith! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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

May you know that you are God’s beloved child! 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, be with us now, as we hear about those who came before us so long ago. Thank you for their courageous examples of faith. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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

Matthew 2:7-12
Herod secretly called in the wise men and asked them when they had first seen the star. He told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, let me know. I want to go and worship him too.”

The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  They were thrilled and excited to see the star.

When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him. Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went back home by another road. (CEV)

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

Child: The wise men were people who studied the stars. What do you know about stars? Is there anything you can tell me?

Child: Why do you think the wise men left their homes? What had they seen? What do you think they expected to find at the end of their journey?

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

Heavenly Father, you guide us every day, just as you did for the wise men. Lead us in the year ahead, and be with those who feel lost and alone at this time of year. Help them realize that you love them. 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.