I'm beginning this blog as a place to post links to the family devotions I have written counting down the days to Christmas and Easter. The decision to write these devotions came from a lot of gentle prompting from God and what I found to be a lack of resources for families to use with children who are in the before school age group (however I could be guilty of not having had time to search around enough!). As an Early Childhood teacher I became frustrated with the lack of depth and practical activities that I know the children are capable of and need to reinforce their learning, so I have written my own! Please keep in mind they are written in amongst the chaos that comes with having a 5, 3.5 & 2 year year old running around and jumping on me while I write! These posts will obviously be the Easter devotions and later in the year I will hopefully be able to share the Christmas ones.
My hope and dream is firstly, to be able to humbly come before God and glorify Him though each devotion and inspire our children to do so also. Secondly to encourage and motivate other families with young children to do the same through sharing the devotions with you and lastly to be able to post a link to each days devotion on this blog a few days ahead of when it is needed (although I'm aware that unless I get quite a few posted today I am already behind...) and to also be able to share with you pictures of what our family does and creates through our time with God each day. If I'm really clever I might be able to even figure out how to create a Flickr group for others to share in too.....but that might be pushing my technological skills!!! We'll see!!
Because it won't be all there all at once I will give a resource list now at the beginning so you are not trying to get things together in a hurry, in case you live a long way from shops like I do!
I have been very inspired by some adult and older children resources I have come across that give devotions/lessons on the bigger picture of the bible and how since the beginning of time everything has been pointing to Jesus and His ultimate saving grace He came to give us. So it is with this in mind that I wrote these family devotions, trying to find ways to show even the younger children this "bigger picture".
The Christmas devotions begin in Genesis and Isaiah showing our great need for a saviour even from the beginning of time and how Jesus was planned right from the start. They then move through passages in Matthew and Luke covering the Christmas story bit by bit and then finish with a number of passages from the New Testament revealing that Jesus didn't stay a baby, but grew up and paid the ultimate price for us, to rescue us, and how we need to respond to His grace and live for Him.
The Easter devotions briefly touch on the prophecy of Jesus in Isaiah and His birth before moving into discovering the many different aspects of His ministry here on earth. Hopefully allowing the children to gain a better understanding of who Jesus is and what He did as an adult before He died for us. It then leads into the Easter story just prior to Easter, but it doesn't finish there! It continues for a short time after Easter revealing what happened after His resurrection and after He left to return to heaven, concluding with Jesus is coming again!
I am also in the process of writing a Sunday School program for our 2 & 3 year old class at church which covers much of the same things, although in term 3 & 4 it goes into much more depth looking at the "bigger picture" of the bible and discovering through many of the old testament stories just how Jesus, our rescuer, was always planned and needed to come to save us and reunite us with God once again.
We have three amazing little boys, who like all little boys are very active, inquisitive and always up for a good adventure or mission to go on. So most days of these devotions include some sort of a treasure hunt for the children to go on together to find the "treasure". I have tried hard to keep these "treasures" mostly things that you might already have around the house or craft materials for the days activities, and if they are things you may need to buy, I've endeavoured to keep them under $5 if possible.
I generally use stories from "The Beginner's Bible" and occasionally from "The Jesus Story book Bible" both of which are available through Koorong and are fabulous bibles to have for your kids anyway!
At the end of each day there will be activities you can do as a family to learn a memory verse to go along with the devotions. Feel free to use them as often as you wish. I'm aware that just doing all the other activities may be enough for some children and that time can be precious. Learning God's word and remembering it is just such an important thing for us all to do, but especially in equipping our young children as they grow that I thought it could be handy to include.
For the Easter series I have chosen John 3:16. Apart from it being a great foundational verse for the children to learn as they develop in their own faith journeys, it also ties in well with the "Super Saviour" type of theme that runs through these devotions for Easter. Seed of Family Worship have a song for this verse on their Faith album and it is the same as the one sung in this video, which also has great actions! I will also be using Colin Buchanan's "Super Saviour" song regularly too!
Well I might post this up now and then do the resource list in another post to make it easier to find again if needed. I really hope and pray that God might be able to use these devotions to bring families together before Him, to deepen their knowledge and understanding of Jesus and His amazing grace he has showered upon us, and to truly excite your little children as they walk with Jesus every day! You will be in my prayers!! Enjoy and have fun! May God bless you in your journey!