Happy Thanksgiving everyone and, while we’re at it, Merry Christmas! We are officially into the holiday season, so break out the Christmas music you’ve been reluctant to start playing and get excited for the month of December and the end of 2013. Here’s what we have in store for your family this month and some ways you can be intentionally discipling your children during this Christmas season.
Our godly character trait for the month of December is “Faith” and what better time of the year to consider that topic than Christmas time. Consider the faith of Isaiah, in the midst of rebellious, divided Israel, declaring the coming of a “Prince of Peace”, because he knew he could trust God even when others didn’t. Consider Mary and Joseph, and the faith it took to trust God even when they didn’t understand how a child would be born to their family. Or the faith of the shepherds to leave their sheep to follow God to a stable in Bethlehem, or the magi trusting God with their treasures so they could honor this humble King. Not to mention the faith of Simeon and Anna, who waited decades perhaps for God’s promise to them to be fulfilled, and choosing to trust God even when they had to wait.
This month, we will take these five layers of the Christmas story and unpack together what it means to truly trust in God, His Word and His promises and the difference it can make, not only in our lives today but for all eternity. Would you commit to praying with us that God, in His grace, might grant that kind of faith to your kids? Because without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
As you are praying for your children this month, we want to encourage you to be purposeful with this “advent” season to build into the faith of your child at home by tracking God’s faithfulness in history from Creation all the way through the birth of Jesus. There are many “advent calendars” and activities out there, so find the one that works best for your family, but we at Watermark Kids strongly recommend The Jesse Tree. This free guide walks you through daily readings in the Bible beginning this Friday that count down to Christmas morning. Each story reveals another layer of God’s faithfulness in His promises and builds the anticipation and expectation of the arrival of the Messiah.
For those of you who are fans of The Jesus Storybook Bible like I am, another great option to consider is this advent reading plan using Sally Lloyd-Jones’ great retelling of these Bible stories. This may be a better option for those of you with younger children. Regardless of what resource you use, don’t miss out on the chance to build the faith of your family be reflecting on the faithfulness of our God.
Lastly, the Christmas season always draws out great opportunities for families to serve together and this year is no exception. Once again, we are overwhelmed by the response of so many of you to this year’s Operation Christmas Child! We’ll be excited to share the final tally this Sunday and the results of the “Fear the Beard” competition, so get excited about that. Also, the External Focus team has put together a tremendous resource to let you know more ways you can serve as a family during this season, so be sure to check out their “Holiday Service Opportunities” to find ways your family can serve together this year.
For those of you looking for a more extended service opportunity, you might consider one of our Haiti family trips. The External Focus team is currently taking applications for a trip this February, so consider whether God may be calling your family to go this year. Kids must be in 3rd grade or above to participate in these trips.
The Watermark Kids staff team and volunteers are excited for all that’s ahead of us this month and the chance we have to grow our faith together! We can’t wait to see you on Sunday!