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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, 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.