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Family Time with God

October: This Little Light

The devotionals on these pages are designed to guide you and your family through two months of short, simple times with God and each other.

Get Ready

Have your children help you gather several types of lights?a lamp, a night light, a large candle, a birthday candle, a flood light, and any others you've got. Make sure you include a flashlight. You'll also need a small wastebasket, notebook and a pen.

Read the Word

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put in under a bowl. Instead they put in on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:14-16).

Talk It Over

WEEK 1: Lighten Up

Assemble all the lights on the table, then read the passage aloud twice. Ask each family member to look at all the lights on the table, and think about other kinds of light, such as a lighthouse, the sun, a campfire. Ask each person to think about which kind of light he or she is and why. Write down each person's answer in the notebook. End your time by praying verse 16 of the passage.

WEEK 2: Lights Out

Turn out all the lights and read the passage using the flashlight to help you see. Then, cover the flashlight with the wastebasket. What does it feel like when the light is hidden? What would it be like to live without any light? How is Jesus like a light for us? Write your responses in the notebook. End your time by thanking God for bringing the light of Christ into your lives.

WEEK 3: The Light House

Read the passage, then turn off all the lights except for one lamp. Have an adult or older child move the lamp to different places in the room?on a table, on top of a bookshelf or the refrigerator, on the floor. How does the position of the lamp affect the amount of light in the room? Talk about ways your family can lift your light higher in the world. Write down your ideas in the notebook. Make a plan for shining your family light this week. Invite a needy family to dinner. Volunteer at a nursing home or soup kitchen. Rake a neighbor's yard. Afterward, talk about how it felt to shine God's light on other people. End your time by asking God to help your family share the light of Christ with others.

WEEK 4: A Family of Light

Light a candle, turn off the lights and do this week's devotional by candlelight. After you read the verse, ask each person to think of a way he or she would like to bring light to other people. Write down each person's idea, then encourage each other to be light to others this week. Over a family meal later in the week, check in with everyone to see how each person is doing with their goal. End your time by asking God to help each of you shine his light in the world.

Remember This

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

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

Want More?

AGES 3?5:

Ask your child how she feels when she's in the dark? How does she feels when it's light? Ask, "Why do you think we feel safer in the light?" Let your child keep a special flashlight or nightlight in her room this month to remind her that Christ brings light to our lives.

AGES 6?9:

Hide four or five of your child's favorite toys outside one night, then let your child hunt for them in the dark. After a few minutes, give him a flashlight to help him hunt. After he's found all the toys, talk about how Christ's light helps guide us in life. Have your child draw a picture of the light source he choose in WEEK 1 and write out the Remember This verse on the picture. Have him hang it someplace he can see it every day and encourage him to memorize the verse this month.

AGES 10?14:

Talk with your child about the ways light helps us, like helping us see, keeping us healthy, warming us and guiding us. Have your child choose one person she knows who needs the light of Christ. Encourage her to come up with five practical ways she can be light to that person. Have her write down her thoughts and carry them with her this month so she can remember her goal. Have her draw a picture of the light source she chose in WEEK 1 and write the Remember This verse on the picture. Have her hang it in her locker or her room and encourage her to memorize the verse this month.

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