Grace and peace to you and your families.
I pray you had a very Merry Christmas and are enjoying the many blessings that the season of Christmas brings. A new year in the church has begun, and a new year in our world begins in just a few short days. We continue celebrating the mystery of Christmas up until the long awaited visit of the three kings (or wise men). This is a time of celebrating as we sing “joy to the world, the Lord is come! May you and your families enjoy this Christmastide as you celebrate and give thanks for the many blessings you have experienced in 2015.
Do not forget: Share your thoughts, prayers, and wonderings on our Family Faith Formation Facebook page and connect with us on Twitter via #famfaithform. Together, we can support one another on this journey. You will find additional resources on our new Family Faith Formation pages too!
Grace & Peace,
Symbol to Look for: Clocks
help us remember to take time to talk to God. When you see a clock, stop and take time to talk to God: “God, thank you for always listening when I pray. Today, I need you to help me [fill in the blank].”
Virtue to Practice: Love
- Who loves you? What does it feel like to be loved by someone else? Make a list of everyone who shows you God’s love.
- Whom do you love? Every night, take time to pray for the people you love. Ask God to be with them. Send them a letter or call them to tell them you love them.
- Whom is God calling you to love? Pray for these people every day. Ask God to help you show love to these people.
- Journal: Take a picture, write, or draw all of the moments you feel loved and/or love someone else. Take time to pray and thank God for these moments.
- Share: Tell your family and friends how you experienced God's love. Share your story on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #famfaithform.
- Scripture: Read Psalm 119:1-16 together
- Recommended Book: My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
- I wonder, “What color you are today?"
- I wonder, “How do you like to talk to God when you feel this way?" (praying, singing, journaling, drawing, sitting in silence?)
- I wonder, “How can you connect with God every day?"
- I wonder, "How does God help you live a holy life, loving God and loving neighbor?"
God, thank you for loving and listening to me. Help me take time to talk to you every day. Amen.
Do Holy Work Together
- Loving God: Every time you eat together, take time to say a prayer of gratitude and blessing.
- Loving Neighbor (outreach suggestion): During these cold winter months, take time to sort through your clothing or purchase new items to take to a nearby shelter. Items might include: coats, socks, blankets, hats, gloves, and so on.
Bless Each Other
(Make the shape of a cross on your family member’s forehead or hand while saying these words)
(Make a vertical line.) God loves you.
(Make a horizontal line.) God is with you.
(Look your family member in his/her eyes.) You are a blessing.
(Hug your family member.) I am grateful for you.
Scrambled Starts by Jenny Youngman
After a year of struggling with nutty family schedules, Jenny Youngman knew that something had to change. The only remedy for her family’s chaotic routine, she realized, was prayer. Youngman and her husband agreed that their family would start and end their days with prayer. Scrambled Starts tells about one family’s adventures in making prayer a regular part of their daily lives. It is also a collection of prayers – for mealtime, bedtime, special occasions, ordinary times, prayers just for parents, prayers just for kids. It is a wonderful reference guide for parents who want to make prayer a priority in their homes.
- Real-life stories of a family learning to pray together
- Prayers to read aloud or memorize
- A mix of prayers for all ages
- Family devotion outlines
POCKETS IN THE HOME
Here are some ideas for using the January/February issue of Pockets, on the theme of Priorities, with your family:
- Choose a couple of simple family New Year’s resolutions, following the tips on p. 7, and discuss how you’ll work together to accomplish your goals.
- Read about Honduras in Where in God’s World? (pp. 28-29) and plan a family night focused on the country. Serve typical Honduran food (described on p. 29), play a game together, and pray for the people of Honduras.
- Read about Fannie Lou Hamer (Faith Heroes, p. 41) and talk about times when you need God’s help to have the courage to do what is right. Who are the people you know (or know about) who are working against injustice today? In what ways might God be calling your family to work for justice in your community?
FEEDBACK CORNER: WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
“I lead my children in prayer on our way to school every day. I ask them what they’re thankful for and what they need God’s help with, and then we pray together.” (Stefany Simmons, Rockport, TX).
Have an exciting faith story to tell? Do you have a family faith practice you want to share? Let us know! E-mail us and maybe your story will appear in the next issue of the newsletter.