Saturday, November 28, 2015

Good News of Great Joy Advent Celebration {a Christmas review}

Do you count down the days until Christmas with your family with excitement and anticipation or would you like to?  Would you like help bringing the Christmas story to life in a way that will help your children look past the tree, the lights, and the presents and focus instead on the greatest GIFT ever offered?  Or maybe you need to give yourself permission to stop the chaos and find the calm that is CHRIST in Christmas?

If any of these sound like they would offer a little sanity to your home, may I suggest that you take a few moments to check out Good News of Great Joy -- a four-week family devotional that will help you rediscover the JOY of Christmas?  Now is the perfect time to begin.   I love this little eBook and have enjoyed reading through its pages and praying with my family as we look forward to celebrating the birth of our MESSIAH.

This holiday season, you can make the Christmas story come alive for your children! Good News of Great Joy by Rachel from Thriving Home is a simple devotional book that's intended to help your family focus on the story of JESUS' birth, who HE is, and why HE was sent by GOD to be with us. The discussion questions and wide range of activities are designed for children ages 2-11 (but older children can be involved as well).

In each individual devotional in the book, you'll focus on a different aspect of the Christmas story, building on the previous lesson:

Devotional 1: The Story of Mary and Joseph
Devotional 2: The Story of the Shepherds and Angels
Devotional 3: The Story of the Wise Men
Devotional 4: Review and Celebrate!

Each of the four individual devotionals are organized in the same way, making it easy for parents to lead and children to follow:

Read: Choose one or more of the ways listed to communicate the story, depending on the age of your child.

Pray: Take a moment to pray the written prayer or say your own to help connect the Bible story to your own lives. This demonstrates to children how we can use GOD’s Word to help us talk to HIM.

Discuss and Do: To help children further understand and connect to the story, choose one or more of the simple activities. Have fun together and help the Christmas story come alive for your kids!

Wondering how to use Good News of Great Joy with your family?  A great first step for any family wanting to try this devotional is to set aside one, regular time each week to do it.   Maybe right after dinner would work best for your family since you’re already gathered together at the table. Maybe you prefer to start the day together around the breakfast table when the kids are fresh, to have a family devotional.  Remember, this time doesn’t have to be long and it won’t be perfect!  Do whatever length and format works best for your kids.

A good next step for using this family devotional is to read the same story from the different Bible versions suggested and/or try a different activity more than once a week.  Perhaps you’d like to even set aside a brief daily time to read and pray together, like before bedtime.  Remember, children learn best through repetition, and it helps to look at the same story several times through different angles.

You can buy your copy of Good News of Great Joy HERE.  I hope that as you read and talk about the story each week with your children, your hearts will be captured by the “good news of great joy” this Christmas season.


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