Family Ideas for Showing Thanks (Thanksgiving 11-21-2012)

Family Ideas for Showing Thanks at Thanksgiving

As we celebrate Thanksgiving it is a great time to recall all the things God has provided for us and to Thank Him.  Plan some things to do this Thanksgiving to share what you are thankful for.  Have some fun with your kids as you come up with ideas for showing thankfulness.  Share your ideas with us at http://www.familiesinfaith.org

Web Links for Further Training and Resources

Thanksgiving ideas for Families
from Building Faith

The 5 Kernels of Corn
From Happy Home Fairy

Family Book of Thanks
From Tip Junkie

Thanksgiving Journal Prompts for Kids
From Journal Buddies

______________________________________________________________
Families in Faith is a Free email resource.  We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children. Please share this email with others.  You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.familiesinfaith.org 

Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich

Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd  –  Springfield, VA  22152
©2012, all rights reserved

Leave a Comment…Share Your Thoughts

Get the app!

Link to the Families in Faith apps

Thanksgiving Traditions that Point to Jesus

As we prepare for Thanksgiving and the holiday season it is a great time to create family traditions that point to God.  Holidays create wonderful memories for children – partly because we do things that are special and out of the ordinary.  This is a great time to connect our families to faith and life development.
What are some of your family traditions for Thanksgiving?  Add a comment to this post with your ideas.

Easter Traditions 4/5/2012


Easter is the celebration of the most important event in the history of the world – the resurrection of Jesus. Many of the traditions associated with Easter have pagan backgrounds but that does not mean we cannot use them to point to Jesus and His resurrection.

Develop Easter traditions in your home with your family that celebrate the gift of God’s Son, and His compassion and humility of dying on the cross and rising again. Keep the resurrection and the new life won by Christ as the center and focus of your celebration.

A Touching Easter Story

— Read it – you won’t regret it!

Jeremy was born with a twisted body and slow mind. At the age of 12 he was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises.

At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher. One day, she called his parents to come to St. Theresa’s for a consultation. As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, “Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn’t fair to him to be with younger children who don’ t have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!”

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue, while her husband spoke. “Miss Miller,” he said, “there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here.”

Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn’t fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write. Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. “Oh God,” she said aloud, “here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared to that poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy!”

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy’s noises and his blank stares. Then one day, he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. “I love you, Miss Miller,” he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris’ face turned red. She stammered, “Wh-why that’s very nice, Jeremy. N-now please take your seat.”

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. “Now,” she said to them, “I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Miss Miller!” the children responded enthusiastically – all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises.

Had he understood what she had said about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them. That evening, Doris’ kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy’s parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller’s desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs.

In the first egg, Doris found a flower. “Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life,” she said. “When plants peek through the ground we know that Spring is here.” A small girl in the first row waved her arm. “That’s my egg Miss Miller,” she called out.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. “We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that is new life, too.” Little Judy smiled proudly and said, “Miss Miller, that one is mine!”

Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom, “My Daddy helped me!” he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy’s, she thought, and of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents! Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.

Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. “Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?” Flustered, Doris replied, “But Jeremy – your egg is empty!” He looked into her eyes and said softly, “Yes, but Jesus’ tomb was empty, too!”

Time stopped. When she could speak again, Doris asked him, “Do you know why the tomb was empty?” “Oh yes!” Jeremy said, “Jesus was killed and put in there. Then His Father raised Him up!”

The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later, Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

Web Links and Other Ideas

 Fun Facts about Easter Candy

The first chocolate eggs were made in Europe in the early 19th century and remain among the most popular treats associated with Easter.

90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made for Easter each year.

16 billion jelly beans are made for Easter. Each day, five million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are produced in preparation for Easter.

Easter is the second top-selling confectionery holiday behind only Halloween.

88 percent of adults carry on the Easter tradition of creating Easter baskets for their kids.

76 percent of people eat the ears on chocolate bunnies first.

Red jelly beans are kids’ favorite.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records the largest Easter egg ever made was just over 25-ft high and made of chocolate and marshmallow. The egg weighed 8,968 lbs. and was supported by an internal steel frame.

More Easter links…

Hot Cross Bun – History and Recipe

Easter at Home 2012– blog with family devotion ideas for Easter at home

Home School Ideas – 12 activities to teach Easter and Holy Week at Home

______________________________________________________________

Families in Faith is a Free email resource.  We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others.  You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.familiesinfaith.org 

  Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich
Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd  –  Springfield, VA  22152

©2012, all rights reserved

Resurrection Eggs (email 3/22/2012)


Resurrection Eggs are a wonderful way to teach your children the story of the last week of Jesus’ life. Fill each egg with something to represent various parts of the story from Palm Sunday through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

How you use the eggs is up to you and your family. You can hide them and do a traditional Easter egg hunt. You can open one every day for the 12 days leading up to Easter. You can create the eggs together and talk about each element as it connects to the story.

You can download a PDF of these ideas here.

Resurrection Eggs are plastic Easter Eggs filled with simple everyday items that help tell the story of Jesus from Palm Sunday through His death and Resurrection. You can use as many eggs or as few eggs as you like, depending on the depth and breadth of the story you plan to tell.

Each egg contains a simple object and a scripture verse that helps tell the story.
Families can number the eggs, then hide them like a traditional Easter Egg hunt. You can open one egg per day as you work your way through Lent. You can open all the eggs and help your children put them in order. Use your imagination and be creative…there’s no limit to how many eggs, what’s in the eggs, or how you use the eggs!

1 – Perfume sample or cotton ball with perfume on it. – Mary anoints Jesus’ feet. (John 12:3)
2 – Palm branch/leaf or a blade of grass. – Jesus’ triumphant entry. (Matthew 21:8)
3 – Bread – Last Supper and institution of Holy Communion. (Matthew 26:26)
4 – Praying Hands – Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane – (Mark 14:32)
5 – 3 Dimes – 30 pieces of silver that Jesus was sold for. (Matthew 26:14-15)
6 – Rope or string – Used to bind Jesus (Matthew 27:2)
7 – Soap – Pilate washed his hands of the matter. (Matthew 27:24)
8 – Rooster or feather – Jesus predicts that Peter will deny Him 3 times. (Matthew 26:33)
9 – Thorn – Jesus is forced to wear a crown of thorns. (John 19:2)
10 – Purple or scarlet cloth – Robe put on Jesus. (Matthew 27:28)
11 – Toothpick or twig cross – Jesus is forced to carry His own cross. (John 19:17)
12 – Dice – Soldiers cast lots for Jesus clothes. (John 19:24)
13 – Sponge with Vinegar – What Jesus was given to drink. (Matthew 27:34)
14 – Spear, or needle – Jesus was pierced in the side to confirm death. (John 19:33-34)
15 – Cloves/spices – Spices that the women were bringing to anoint Jesus body on Sunday. (Mark 16:1)
16 – Rock – A large stone was placed in front of the tomb. (John 20:1)
17 – Empty Egg – the tomb was empty! (Matthew 28:5-6)
18 – Linen fabric – Used to wrap Jesus body – was left in the tomb after Jesus rose again. (John 20:63-7)
19 – Nail – Thomas doubts and wants to see the nail marks in Jesus’ hands. (John 20:25-29)
20 – Fish – Jesus eats fish with disciples on Road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:41-43)
21 – Cotton Ball – Jesus ascended into heaven in the clouds, and will return in the same way. (Acts 1:11)

Web Links for Further Training and Connections


FamilyLife®
– Creator of Resurrection Eggs®

______________________________________________________________

Families in Faith is a Free email resource.  We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others.  You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.familiesinfaith.org 

  Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich
Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd  –  Springfield, VA  22152

©2012, all rights reserved

The name Resurrection Eggs® is a registered trademark of FamilyLife®. While we offer helpful suggestions here on creating your own eggs to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, endorsement is not implied nor is any infringement intended. Resurrection Eggs® (the product) can be purchased directly from FamilyLife.com.

Giving Up Something for Lent (2/23/2012)

A popular tradition during the season of Lent is to give something up in order to free oneself for more time for prayer and worship. This can be an excellent opportunity for families. Try giving something up as a family in order to concentrate on extra family time, extra prayer time, and extra time growing in your faith.

__________________________________________

The Skit Guys – “The Skinny on Fasting”

The “Skinny on Fasting” video  – with thoughts and questions to make it a devotion for your family.

Web Sites for further training

What is Lent?

25 ideas from teenagers on what they gave up for Lent

Mom challenges family to give up technology for 6 months

Link to Skit Guys page (more videos)

and the “Skinny on Fasting” video shown below – with thoughts and questions to make it a devotion for your family

Book from Amazon – “365 Unplugged Family Fun Activities”

______________________________________________________________

Families in Faith is a Free email resource.  We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others.  You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.familiesinfaith.org 

  Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich
Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd  –  Springfield, VA  22152

©2012, all rights reserved

Valentine’s Day

Each year as February rolls around, I’m ready for emphasizing love within our family after spending a greater amount of time indoors than usual.  Since Valentine’s Day comes this month, I’m ready to make it less about romance, and more about learning about the greatest love — God sending his one and only Son — and sharing that with my family.  It’s not very elaborate, which is good, but this is how we celebrate:

In late January I pull out my Valentine decorations.  These decorations include some Bible verse hearts like this one:

Bible verse heart

I bought some inexpensive hearts from Michaels one year and added several different LOVE Bible verses to each one.  I hang them throughout the house.  We don’t really talk or discuss this very much, but they are there.

I also have a heart shaped box sitting in the kitchen.  It’s our Valentine’s kind note box.  Just before Valentine’s Day, each family member will write a short note to each family member.  To help them make sure they include everyone, I have printed out strips of paper that read “to” and “from” and include one for each person.  When they finish writing the notes, they will put them in the box.  On Valentine’s Day we open it and share the kind words with each other at supper time.  When they were younger, they told me what to right (except on my note which my husband wrote down.)

I also try to have a special dinner for the whole family on Valentine’s Day.  This year I also hope to share a little bit about the legend and origin of Valentine’s Day with them.

Do you have any special ways of celebrating Valentine’s Day with your family?

Christmas Traditions that Point to Jesus (12-22-11)

As we Christians we are to be in the world, but not of the world… but not out of it either! Don’t run away from the so-called non Christian aspects of the Christmas season. Most of them can be used to point to Jesus.

 

The 12 Days of Christmas

This was a secret code used by the Catholics in England from 1558 until 1829 where they were not allowed to legally practice their faith.  So to preserve their teaching and doctrine and teach them to their children, someone wrote this carol as a catechism song.  It has a hidden meaning known only to the member of their church.  Each element has a code word for a religious reality which the children could then remember.

1 – A partridge in a pear tree = Jesus Christ
2 – Two turtle doves = Old and New Testaments
3 – Three french hens = Faith, Hope, and Love
4 – Four Calling Birds = 4 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
5 – Five golden rings = The Torah, or book of Law – first 5 books of the Old Testament
6 – Six Geese a Laying = 6 days of creation
7 – Seven swans a swimming = 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching,
Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy
8 – Eight maids a milking = 8 beatitudes
9 – Nine ladies dancing = 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace Patience, Kindness,
Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control
10 – Ten lords a leaping = The 10 Commandments
11 – Eleven pipers piping = The 11 faithful disciples
12 – Twelve Drummers Drumming = 12 points of belief of the Apostles’ Creed

Do your kids know the song “The 12 Days of Christmas”? Its a fun song to sing as a family – everyone always belts out the “5 Golden Rings” part. Try teaching the meaning to the 12 days too – If your kids knew all 12 days – wow!

Web Links for Extra Training

History and Meaning of Christmas Lights
The History of the Candy Cane
The History and Meaning of Mistletoe
The History and Spirituality of Christmas

Families in Faith can come to you as a Free email resource. We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this site with others. You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.poplc.org/familiesinfaith

Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich

Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd – Springfield, VA 22152
©2011, all rights reserved

Teaching the Nativity (12-15-2011)

Getting the true Nativity story straight from the Bible.
Then looking into the major characters for a little background information.

Web sites about the Nativity

The Truth about the Nativity

The Shepherds and Sheep

A complete accurate look at the Nativity through a Question and Answer format

Family Traditions

Many family traditions grow out of the Advent and Christmas season. From advent wreaths, to decorating the Christmas tree. From holiday lights to advent calendars.

Develop the tradition of telling the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus. This will help get through the misconceptions and additions in the story of the birth of Jesus. On Christmas eve, gather the family around the Christmas tree, and have someone read the 3 Bible passages that tell us the story. From Matthew chapter 1, and Luke chapter 2 you get the story of Mary and Joseph and the Shepherds. In Matthew chapter 2 you get the story of the Magi.

You can do this is a quiet reading, with the lights low, and perhaps the candles from the advent wreath all lit. Or you can make a production out of it, having your kids dress up like the various characters and you be the narrator.

Families in Faith can come to your inbox as a Free email resource. We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others. You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.poplc.org/familiesinfaith

Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich

Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd – Springfield, VA 22152
©2011. all rights reserved

Advent Calendars and Wreaths (12-08-2011)

Advent is a season of preparation and expectation as we look forward to the Birth of Jesus and His eminent return.  Advent Calendars and Advent Wreaths are wonderful tools for families to use as they prepare their hearts, homes, and lives for Jesus.  Help your children keep the focus on Jesus as we count down to Christmas!

Web Sites – Advent Calendars and Advent Wreaths

The Meaning of the Advent Wreath

Web site with lots of Advent ideas from history to recipes to family activities. Its a few years old, so not all of the links work anymore – but it could help get the juices flowing for creative ideas.

Web site from Microsoft Office that teaches you how to create your own Advent Calendar.

Advent Wreath - Guide to Meaning

Just for Fun

The Nativity story set to "Bohemian Rhapsody"

A video where the Nativity Story is told by puppets singing to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”; they call it the “Bethlehemian Rhapsody.”

Online Advent Calendar Museum

Pictures and descriptions of Advent Calendars over the 150 year history.

———————————————-

Families in Faith can come to your inbox as a Free email resource. We will send an email every week offering tips, suggestions, training, and encouragement to parents as they work to pass the faith on to their children.

Please share this email with others. You can also encourage others to sign up for Families in Faith online by having them text the word “families” to 22828 or go to www.poplc.org/familiesinfaith

Created by Dr. Joel Dietrich

Minister to Families and Children
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
8304 Old Keene Mill Rd – Springfield, VA 22152
©2011. all rights reserved