When life seems scary…

Sometimes life is scary and confusing and what are we to do?

a painting of the angels announcement to the shepherds by Gaddi Taddeo [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

We know that the shepherds were afraid.

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified . . .
Luke 2:9

What did the shepherds do to feel braver?

They acted on their faith.

Do the same among your family.

  • Look for God. (See here for help in tying this quest to Christmas.)
  • Tell the faith stories!

For help in how to talk to your children about the tragedy in Newtown, CT, Mr. Rogers says it best: Look for the helpers.

Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
The Angelic Announcement to the Shepherds a painting by Gaddi Taddeo, in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Perfect Audience

Our Rotation this month is about Jesus’ birth with a focus on the shepherds and angels portion of the story. The Message version of the Bible describes these shepherds as “camping in the neighborhood.”

A modern day shepherd boy

Hmmm… Camping… How about a family camping expedition in the living room? Pitch a “tent” (drape a blanket over some chairs), stuff the backpacks with snacks or maybe even hold a picnic! (Try something simple, like sandwiches.) Use this opportunity to talk about shepherds, ask some questions, and add some spiritual growth memories!

a speech bubbleIs it easy to stay clean when you are camping?

If you’ve ever been camping, you know how hard it is to be neat. You can image how hard it was for shepherds in the time of Jesus. They also probably smelled like sheep. And they had another stigma: in those days, shepherds were looked down upon. They were considered as lowly as a tax collector.

Yet these were the people who first heard the good news of Jesus’ birth!

A fake campfire

And heard the news in grand style!
Tell the story of the shepherds and angels (from Luke 2:8-18) around your pretend campfire. (What is camping without a campfire!)

a speech bubbleWhy are shepherds the perfect audience for angels announcing the birth of the Christ child?
Why do you suppose God didn’t chose “important” people to tell first?
Who would you expect God to tell?

There is a momentous message in God’s choice of society’s outcasts as the first visitors he invited to see his baby son!

a speech bubbleHave you ever felt not good enough to hear from God?

God’s gift of his son Jesus is for everyone, even you and me.

God sent his son Jesus as a way to bring people back into a relationship with God. Those who are young, old, broken, a mistake-making-mess, tired, forgotten, feeling unworthy… His message of love comes once again, perhaps as quietly as a sleeping baby or as unexpectedly as God’s glory blazing around!

Enjoy this video telling of our story from The Jesus Storybook Bible.

Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
A young Bedouin shepherd boy by Ed Brambley from Cambridge, UK, who licensed this photo via Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons License, via Wikimedia Commons.
Campfire also licensed under Creative Commons, by Mike Davis.

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Cool Disciples Schedule – December 2012

Happy Advent! This is the perfect season to bring faith conversations to your family and this blog will help.
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On Saturday nights and on Sunday mornings at FUMC our kids, whom we call “Cool Disciples,” experience Rotation Model Christian education, as they learn about Bible stories and concepts through kid-friendly multimedia workshops. Scroll down to view our December schedule of workshops.

a quilted parament - shepherds

Since this is December, we are learning about Jesus’ birth! Because Christmas happens once a year, each Advent we focus on a different aspect of the Christmas story. In the past we have covered Jesus’ birth through the eyes of the prophet Isaiah, the story of the magi, the birth from his mother’s perspective, and the overall details and sequence of the Christmas story. This December we target the key role of angels and shepherds. Read about our story in Luke 2:1-20.

For Saturdays at the Green Wood location, here is the schedule…

Date What’s happening
12/1 Children will be singing and assisting with the service, so please arrive early (between 4:30-4:45) for rehearsal and instructions. There will be a short time spend downstairs watching part of the video Why Do We Call It Christmas? Don’t forget to stay after service for a chili supper, making ornaments, & decorating cookies!
Date Workshop Activity
12/8 Storytelling Workshop Hear the Christmas story via a “visitor” from Bible times – a shepherd!
12/15 Cooking Workshop Bake candy cane cookies to give away.
12/22 Art Workshop Choose from a variety of media to create a scene of shepherds and/or angels.
12/29 Worship with your family

For Sundays at the downtown location, here is the schedule of workshops…

Date What’s happening
12/2 Enjoy worship and Communion with your family
Games 1 Games 2 Storytelling Cooking Video Art
Room 211 Room 215 Room 204 Social Hall Pine Room Room 212
12/9 3rd grade 5th & 6th grade 2nd grade 4th grade {closed} 1st grade
12/16 1st grade 4th grade 3rd grade {closed} 5th & 6th grade 2nd grade
11/23 2nd grade {closed} 1st grade 5th & 6th grade 4th grade 3rd grade
12/30 Enjoy worship and Communion with your family

What’s happening in each workshop at the Downtown location?

  • In the Art Workshop students will create a shepherds & angels picture using mixed media.
  • In the Cooking Workshop students will become messengers of the good news by making candy-cane cookies to give away.
  • In the Games Workshop students will test their knowledge of the details of the Christmas story in a quiz game.
  • In the Storytelling Workshop students will hear from a shepherd, who describe his experience on the night of Jesus’ birth.
  • In the Video Workshop students will watch portions of that all-time favorite video A Charlie Brown’s Christmas.

If you are in the area please join us for the fun learning at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI

Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Shepherds photo from my archives, sewn by the Paraments committee at church.