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Good Neighbors

Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31).

February

WEEK 1: Love Is ?

GET STARTED: Tell your kids there's an expression that talks about "putting the cart before the horse." Ask what they think it means (getting the order of things mixed up). Can the cart move if the horse is behind it? Invent other sayings that mean the same thing.

TALK IT OVER: Ask someone to read Mark 12:29-31. Last month you talked about the most important commandment. Why is it hard to love others if we don't love God? Explain that this month you'll talk about loving others.

WRAP IT UP: Help everyone learn what love is from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, the "Love Chapter." Show your family this simple game to remind them of what love looks like. Hold up your right thumb. Sometimes we twiddle our thumbs when we wait. Say "love is patient." Hold up the right pointer finger and stroke your other hand as you say, "Love is kind." Notice how your thumb and pointer form a "J." Say, "Love is not jealous." Now add your middle finger. Show everyone that it's the tallest and could boast, but "love is not boastful or proud." End with a prayer asking God to help you show love to each other this week.

WEEK 2: Friends and Neighbors

GET STARTED: Gather in a circle with you at the center. Have everyone else hold their fists in front of them. Work your way around the circle and say, "Rich man, poor man, beggarman, clerk. Doctor, lawyer, repairman, nurse," tapping one fist for each character. The fist tapped on "nurse" is out of the circle. Repeat until only one fist remains.

TALK IT OVER: Ask someone to read Luke 10:25-37. En-courage your family to think of all kinds of different people in your community. Then ask, "Which of these people are we supposed to love?" "Why does God want us to love others?"

WRAP IT UP: Review last week's motions for the "Love Chap-ter." Now add the other hand. With your left pointer finger, point at someone. Remind everyone that pointing at people is rude and say, "Love is not rude." Now point at yourself and say, "Love is not self-seeking." Make a fist and say, "Love is not easily angered." Extend your pointer finger as if you're keeping score and say, "Love keeps no record of wrongs." See if your kids can do both hands with you. End with a prayer asking God to help you love your neighbors this week

WEEK 3: What Love Looks Like

YOU'LL NEED: candy hearts with sayings on them, paper and a pen for each person.

GET STARTED: Give each person some paper and a pen and a handful of candy hearts. Ask each person to write a story using the sayings on the candies. Let younger children team up with someone who can read. Now share your stories.

TALK IT OVER: Let everyone imagine what they'd want other family members to do for them if they were king or queen of the house. Ask someone to read Matthew 7:12. Have everyone talk about how they like to be treated. Then talk about ways each of you can show that kind of love to others.

WRAP IT UP: Review the hand motions for the "Love Chapter." It's time to add more actions. Point down with your left thumb and say, "Love does not rejoice in evil." Then point up with the same thumb and say, "Love rejoices in the truth." Cover this thumb with the other fingers and say, "Love always protects." Form a cross with your pointer fingers as you say, "Love always trusts." End by asking God to help you treat others the way you want to be treated.

WEEK 4: Love One Another

YOU'LL NEED: a two-inch heart cut out of red fabric or paper

GET STARTED: Gather in a circle. One person will be the "finder." The finder closes his eyes. Place the heart under someone's foot. Next, the finder opens his eyes and says, "Jump." As everyone jumps, the finder tries to spot the heart. The finder keeps saying "jump" until the heart is found.

TALK IT OVER: Ask someone to read Mark 12:31. Ask everyone to name people in their "groups" at school and church. Would some people feel left out of your group? Why? How can you love those people?

WRAP IT UP: Review the hand motions for the "Love Chapter." To finish it, hold your right hand out, palm up, saying, "Love always hopes." Now turn your palm back toward the floor, extend your arm and point forward, saying, "Love always perseveres." Place your hand over your heart and say, "Love never fails." Try the entire passage with the hand motions. End your time with a prayer thanking God for his love and for helping us love others.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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