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Family Time with God

Karen L. Maudlin. Psy.D.

The devotionals on this page and the following page (December, God's Best Present) are designed to guide you and your family through two months of short, simple times with God and each other. Each week's lesson starts with a member of the family reading the month's Scripture passage out loud. Then, follow the discussion guidelines for the week.

Look It Up

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshipped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh (Matt. 2:10-11; NASB).

Get Ready

If your child has glow-in-the-dark stars, use one star for each family member and one larger one. If you don't have stars, make your own out of stiff yellow paper or cardboard.

Remember This

Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him (Matt. 2:2; NASB).

Talk It Over

WEEK 1: The Preparation
Place the large star in the center of your table. Talk about how God prepared the world for the birth of Jesus. You can also read from Luke 1:5-80 or Luke 2:1-20. Talk together about what helps each of you prepare to celebrate Christ's birth. Attach the large star to the ceiling of your family room with poster putty. Each week, you'll move the star toward "Bethlehem." Bethlehem could be a Nativity scene or a picture of the baby Jesus on the wall. End by asking God to help your family focus on him during the holiday season.

WEEK 2: The Star
If weather permits, do this week's devotion outside in the evening. Look at the stars in the night sky. Talk about the "stars" in your lives that help you follow God's path. How can you be shining stars that point other people to Christ? Hand out the individual stars to each person. Use the stars to remind yourselves to shine brightly for God this week. Now head back inside and move the big star in your family room a little closer to "Bethlehem." End your time by thanking God for shining his eternal light on your family.

WEEK 3: The Kings
Think about the last trip you took together as a family. Talk about the things that made the trip exciting. Now think about the journey of the Magi. Why was their trip exciting? Why would they travel so far to see the new King? Now think about your family's journey toward Christ. If you like, let each person talk about how he or she came to know Christ. Or talk about the ways your family is seeking Christ together. Move your star toward "Bethlehem," then thank God for guiding your family.

WEEK 4: Your Heart
Talk about Christmastime. What are some of the things your family will be doing to celebrate Christmas? How will you prepare for all these activities? What are some ways Mary and Joseph prepared for Christ's birth? How can each of you prepare your hearts to welcome Christ this Christmas? Move your star to "Bethlehem," then ask God to prepare your hearts for the celebration of Jesus' birth.

Karen L. Maudlin, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in family therapy. She also teaches in a Montessori-based children's worship program at her church. She and her family live in Illinois.

Want More?

AGE 2-5
Ask questions like: Since the wise men were going to see a king, what do you think they expected to see? I wonder what it was like for the wise men to see the baby Jesus in the stable. What gift can you offer Jesus?

AGE 6-9
Ask your child to think about the journey the Magi made. Ask: How do you think the kings felt on their long journey? How is your relationship with Jesus like a long journey? What kinds of things have you learned along the way? Encourage your child to write out the memory verse on a star-shaped piece of paper. Have her try to memorize the verse by the end of the month.

AGE 10-14
Talk to your child about the different characters in the Christmas story who are seeking something. Ask questions like: Of all the people seeking something, who do you relate to most? What are some ways you sense God casting light on your path to him? Have your child memorize the theme verse by the end of the month.

Think up ways your family can be a light to other people. Come up with ideas for centering your holiday celebration on the birth of Christ?keep a family journal to record God's blessings this season, bake star-shaped cookies and give them to neighbors, sing Christmas carols each night before dinner.

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