Children's Ministry Resources


Newsletter Issue #34  --  December 12, 2016 


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Mission Statement: brings over 25 years of experience to children's ministry. Our Bible lesson plans and activities are designed to lead children to Christ, helping them grow in their faith, so they can proclaim the good news message to the next generation.  


In today's newsletter:

Advent JOY
In the Midst of Sorrow?

Nativity Gift Ornament
with a Cupcake-in-a-Mug
recipe. It's downloadable!


Advent JOY, In the Midst of Sorrow?
by Sarah Keith

Growing up, I didn't know about Advent. Christmas was a one-day-event. Sure I knew it was the day we celebrated Jesus' birthday. But mostly it was about getting presents and all the festivities surrounding it. My mom and dad loved Jesus. They wanted their children to love him too. They were also concerned that by believing in Santa, it would take away from believing in Jesus. However, they allowed us to see Santa, and sit on his lap to tell him our Christmas wishes. But they never encouraged us to "believe" in Santa. When we asked mom if Santa was "real," she would say, "He's a real myth." Somehow her answer satisfied me. I deduced that Santa was for pretending. For my brother, that's another story. He bought into the "myth," until one of his school mates told him the truth. He was terribly disappointed. 

About twenty-five years ago my husband and I and our three children began attending a church that observed Advent. At first I wasn't sure about this celebration. After all, it isn't mentioned in the Bible. But I appreciated the month-long emphasis on waiting and preparing our hearts for our Savior's birthday celebration, and his eventual second coming. So we made Advent a family tradition. Our children are now grown and moved out, but the nightly lighting of our Advent candles with them are fond memories.

This week, the third week of Advent, we light the pink candle, the Candle of Joy! My daughter recently told me that the pink candle has always been her favorite candle. (Most likely because it is pink! I never knew she had a favorite candle until this year!)

Joy is a happy word; it evokes pleasant thoughts. Yet, is it possible to have joy in the midst of suffering or loss? The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 1:4, And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. John understood that to experience joy we must walk in the light, and be connected to Jesus, the giver of life. And unlike happiness, which depends on good things "happening" in our lives, joy is that deep sense of satisfaction that God is in control, he will not abandon his children. In fact, he promises to work all things, our suffering and sadness, our losses, and even our failures, for our good (Romans 8:28). Hope, represented by the first candle of Advent, is wrapped up in joy. And joy is wrapped up in hope! 

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