January and February Story Schedule

Here is a schedule of the lessons we are covering the first two months of 2017. Since I will be out, I wanted to give you at least an idea of what the kids learned so you can follow-up at home! You can look through archives of posts from last year for most of these stories if you want more ideas for followup questions or memory verse suggestions.

As you’ll notice, we are continuing our trajectory of moving into New Testament stories that begin after the birth of Christ. Younger children may hear these for the first time. I wonder what they like about them? Older children may have heard them before. I wonder if they would be able to make connections of patterns and themes as they hear these stories? I wonder what all of those Old Testament stories have to do with the miracles, parables/ teachings and arrival of Jesus?  I wonder what Jesus might be up here?

Looking forward to being back sometime in February!

Beulah Land

1/1/17: Simeon

1/8/17: Jesus in the Temple

1/15/17: Jesus’ Baptism and Temptation in the Desert

1/22/17: Jesus’ Ministry and Disciples

1/29/17: Marriage at Cana

2/5/17: The Paralyzed Man

2/12/17: Jarius’ Daughter

2/19/17: Transfiguration

2/26/17: Parable of the Sower

Godly Play I

1/1/17: Epiphany

1/8/17: Holy Baptism

1/15/17: Parable of Great Pearl

1/22/17: Parable of Good Shepherd

1/29/17: Parable of Mustard Seed

2/5/17: Parable of the Banquet

2/12/17: Parable of the Good Samaritan

2/19/17: Work Day

2/26/17: Synagogue and the Upper Room

Godly Play II

1/1/17: Epiphany

1/8/17: Holy Baptism

1/15/17: Parable of the Great Pearl

1/22/17: Jesus Calms the Sea

1/29/17: Parable of the Mustard Seed

2/5/17: Jesus Raises Lazarus

2/12/17: Parable of the Good Samaritan

2/19/17: Work Day

2/26/17: Synagogue and the Upper Room

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Fourth Sunday of Advent: December 18th

Beulah Land: Jerusalem

Say to these bones, Behold, I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live. Ezekiel 37:5

Summary: Today Beulah Land will hear a review of the Old Testament, ending in the exile and return to Jerusalem. Most of the material is drawn from the Psalms and Prophets. It will end in a most Adventous way… they waited and hoped for God to do something new.

We will incorporate our Advent Spiral each week. It depicts a figure on a donkey coming closer to Bethlehem (the center) each week as we come closer to Christmas day. We are nearly there!

Follow Up Questions: I wonder why the people stopped caring about God’s ways? I wonder how they felt to see their city burned and destroyed? I wonder if this story ends happy?

Additional Followup: Practice the hymn of the month at home! Review the stories of God coming for his people. There’s a great recap in the Jesus Story Book Bible.  If you are using the Jesse Tree, you can make some connections with the longing and waiting from Bethlehem and the watchtower. This is a great set up for Christmas Sunday during the week you can talk about waiting, watching and hoping!

Hymn of the Month: We are learning Friendly Beasts, which is on our Advent Hymn Sing rotation. Get ready to belt it out there on December 22nd! Check out THIS SITE to sing along.

Please Note: We will have nursery next week for three-year-olds, but no lesson. I encourage you to read the story of Christmas with your family! If you have a nativity at home that your child is allowed to play with, even better!

Godly Play I & II: Advent: Wise Men

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Summary: We are continuing to prepare for the Mystery of Christmas through Advent stories. This week’s lesson draws attention to the arrival of the Magi! Although we know the wise men were not there that actual day, we’re still focusing on them because they, too, were on their way to Christ! The goal of taking time to concentrate on each present party is so that the kids can come as close as they can to the beauty of the Incarnation. We want them to consider every angle possible… and marvel!

Follow Up Questions: I wonder if you have ever learned about something wonderful? I wonder what the Magi felt when they saw the new, wild star? I wonder what made the Magi want to spend such a long time traveling to meet this King? I wonder if you’ve ever had to travel a long time for something? I wonder what it means to traveling toward Jesus now…didn’t he already come? I wonder why we talk so much about who all was present for the birth of Christ?

Additional Follow Up: Review passages that discuss the story of the Wise Men/ Magi. In January, we will review the Wise Men again in Godly Play and have the opportunity to smell Frankincense, Myrrh and see gold! If you are using the Jesse Tree, continue using that at home until Christmas Sunday. I wonder who you and your children most identify with or wonder about of those present at the birth of Christ?

Please Note: There will be no Godly Play classes on Christmas Sunday. We encourage children to attend the entire service with their parent! I’d also encourage you to read the Scriptural account of the birth of Christ at home as a family. If you have a nativity set children area allowed to play with, even better! It can be out of clothespins!

Third Sunday of Advent: December 11th

Beulah Land: Jonah

I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land. Jonah 1:9

Summary: Beulah Land will continue Old Testament character study until Christmas Sunday. This week’s story is about Jonah. When Jonah disobeys God and does everything wrong, God still uses him to extend his mercy to other nations…including Nineveh, a bitter enemy of Israel.

We will incorporate our Advent Spiral each week. It depicts a figure on a donkey coming closer to Bethlehem (the center) each week as we come closer to Christmas day. It looks like this:

This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.
This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.

Follow Up Questions: I wonder what it feels like to not want to do what God tells you to do? I wonder what it feels like to try to run away from God? I wonder what it feels like to be swallowed by a fish?

Additional Followup: Re-read the story at home. Play with water and wonder together about being swallowed up by a big fish.

Hymn of the Month: We are transitioning into a new hymn for December! We’ll be learning Friendly Beasts, which is on our Advent Hymn Sing rotation. Get ready to belt it out there on December 22nd! Check out THIS SITE to sing along.

Godly Play I & II: Advent: Shepherds

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2: 10-11

Summary: We are continuing to prepare for the Mystery of Christmas through Advent stories. This week’s lesson draws attention to the shepherds. The goal of taking time to concentrate on each present party is so that the kids can come as close as they can to the beauty of the Incarnation. We want them to consider every angle possible… and marvel!

Follow Up Questions: I wonder if you have ever been heard something wonderful? I wonder what the shepherds felt when they saw the angels? I wonder what made the shepherds want to tell people all they’d heard concerning Jesus? I wonder if you’ve ever had to wait a long time for something? I wonder what it means to be waiting for Jesus now…didn’t he already come?

Additional Follow Up: Review the passages from Luke that depict the shepherds. Look up pictures of shepherds in those days. Talk about their role.

Some interesting footnotes from The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible:

Shepherds were unable to keep ceremonial law due to their line of work. They were a despised class and were considered unreliable…to the extent of not having permission to testify in court. What an odd group to witness such miracles! Another interesting thing to note is that Scripture uses the word “host” as a military term designating an army. The angelic host that appears to the Shepherds is announcing peace. Wonder what that could mean?

Second Sunday of Advent: December 4th

Beulah Land: Daniel

…He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells within Him. Daniel 2:22b

Summary: Beulah Land will continue Old Testament character study until Christmas Sunday. This week’s story is one of faithful believers in exile. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Daniel live far from their land and people, yet they remain brave in their obedience to God. When their loyalty to God is questioned by arrogant rulers, they are sent to fiery and ravenous trials. Through them, the one true God reveals his power to deliver and rule. He also displays his presence with his people, even when they’re not in the promised land.You can find this in the book of Daniel, in particular chapters 3 and 6.

We will incorporate our Advent Spiral each week. It depicts a figure on a donkey coming closer to Bethlehem (the center) each week as we come closer to Christmas day. It looks like this:

This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.
This is from A Holy Experience. We use one very similar.

Follow Up Questions: I wonder why Daniel’s friends would not bow down to the idol? I wonder how Daniel and his friends came to be so brave? I wonder how God can be everywhere with His people?

Additional Followup: Re-read the story at home. Wonder about how the people of God were able to be safe from the fire and lions.

Hymn of the Month: We are transitioning into a new hymn for December! We’ll be learning Friendly Beasts, which is on our Advent Hymn Sing rotation. Get ready to belt it out there on December 22nd! Check out THIS SITE to sing along.

Godly Play I & II: Advent: Mary and Joseph

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.    Isaiah 9:2

Summary: We are continuing to prepare for the Mystery of Christmas through Advent stories. Last week, the lesson focused on the prophets. This week’s lesson draws attention to Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem. The goal of taking time to concentrate on each present party is so that the kids can come as close as they can to the beauty of the Incarnation. We want them to consider every angle possible… and marvel at it!

Follow Up Questions: I wonder if you have ever been full of something wonderful? I wonder what Mary and Joseph were thinking about as they traveled to Bethlehem? I wonder what you think they talked about? I wonder what Mary and Joseph felt after walking and riding for so many miles? I wonder if you’ve ever had to wait a long time for something? I wonder what it means to be waiting for Jesus now…didn’t he already come?

Additional Follow Up: This might be a good time to read passages with your child from the Gospels about Jesus’s parents (the Annunciation, Mary visiting Elizabeth, Joseph stopped from divorcing Mary, etc). I think it could be interesting to show some famous artwork of these encounters to your child and see what your child notices from them.

Music: Don’t forget our beloved Rain for Roots’ Waiting Songs Album! Another great one for this time is Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb  (this concert will be in town this upcoming Friday, December 9th!)