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For Educators

About the December issue

December 2018—Welcoming Jesus

Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, is a time of great excitement. This issue should help children understand that there is a much greater reason for excitement than the activities of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The focus of this issue is on helping children understand what Jesus’ birth means for them and for the world. This issue definitely includes elements of the celebrative fun of Christmas and Epiphany, but we also want to help children remember that Advent is about preparing our hearts to receive the gift of God’s son. It is this gift that we hope children receive over and over again each year to shape their lives.

 

Stories:

In “Lost and Found Dog,” Kalini’s dog Jesse has escaped—again! When Kalini’s family find the wayward pup, he has a new home and a new name.

In “The Reluctant Ángel,” Ángel finds it embarrassing enough that his family insists that he participate in Las Posadas. When he’s asked to fill in as the angel on the last night, it’s just too much.

In “Tree Frog Trail,” our continuing feature series, Marcos and Lucy learn about their grandmother’s Christmas tradition.

In “Christmas without Grandma,” Lexie’s family struggles with how to celebrate their first Christmas since the death of Lexie’s grandmother.

In “Joy of Christmas,” Nate hopes to share the joy of Christmas with an elderly neighbor by making her laugh.

 

Pocketsful of Scripture includes a variety of readings focusing on the words light, love, gifts, and joy.

Where in God’s World? looks at Slovenia.

Special note: This issue includes our Advent calendar and devotions for the four Sundays of Advent, Christmas Day, and Epiphany.

Coming up:                                                                                                        

January/February 2019—Extra Ordinary

Our culture bombards us with messages that everyone, every day, and everything should be special, extraordinary, amazing. These messages—often aimed specifically at children—can make it difficult to appreciate the “ordinary time” which makes up most of our lives. For children this often translates into boredom and the feeling that their lives aren’t as interesting or as special as they perceive other people’s lives to be. This issue should encourage children to see the many ordinary moments of their lives as extraordinary gifts from God.

March 2019—Humility

The idea of humility seems almost old-fashioned. We’re more likely to be instructed to be proud of ourselves, celebrate ourselves, and take care of ourselves before we take care of others. Yet in scripture we see that humility is a quality that Jesus both taught and consistently embodied. Humility means more than not bragging, and it isn’t about idealizing a poor sense of self-worth or ignoring your own needs. Humility is considering the needs of all, giving up the idea that we are always right, being open to considering different views and willing to learn from them. The season of Lent offers us a helpful framework as we consider what it means to “clothe yourselves with…humility” (Colossians 3:12).

April 2019—Hope

Terrorism, mass shootings, war, the plight of refugees, natural disasters—as we are inundated with these and other images of suffering, it is easy to feel despair. Yet the message of Easter, of the Resurrection, is hope! Our faith in God and our decision to follow the risen Christ call us to live each day with hope. With hope we are able to respond to the needs of our neighbors—next door and around the world. This issue will look at how the sure knowledge that a loving God created us and the world helps us to have hope, how the good news of Jesus’ resurrection turns our eyes from despair to hope, how we respond to seemingly hopeless situations with the confidence of children of God.

 

mhooper

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