Updated: Mar 25
Hosted by the Faith To Go team in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, David Tremaine and Charlette Preslar, and joined the each week by a special guest, the Faith To Go Podcast highlights themes from the Sunday Gospel reading for you to take into your faith discussions and reflections throughout the week.
Activity Time: Bring the Baby to the Manger
Supplies: nativity set, straw or ribbons
On Christmas Eve gather as a family near the creche. Take baby Jesus out from where he has been waiting. Take a few minutes to talk about how baby Jesus arrived (in a stable, a manger for a bed, animals all around). Then say, “Let’s talk a little bit more about Jesus’ bed. Maybe we can make it more comfortable.”
Get out a pile of straw or ribbons, enough for 2 or three for each person then say, “Do you see this straw? I think that putting it around the manger would make it even cozier for the baby Jesus. I also think that our love is the most important thing that we could give the baby. Let’s each say things that we do to show each other and Jesus our love and after each one we can put a piece of straw in the manger.”
After everyone has named as many things as they want to say, place Jesus in the creche. Close with this prayer -
Dear Jesus, We are so excited that today is your birthday. Thank you for all of the love that you show to our family and to the world. Help us to remember that we can show how much we love you by showing love to others; not just on Christmas, but all year long. Happy Birthday Jesus! - Amen
Story Time: The Christmas Story
Watch this video together and then use the discussion questions below to reflect as a family. (Please watch this video from 0:00 to 2:10. That is the substance for the conversation.)
1. In the video, both Mary and the shepherds are visited by angels. How did they feel?
2. How do you think you would feel if you saw an angel?
3. Do you think that angels look like the ones in the video or do they look like
4. What were some of the hard things that Mary and Joseph had to do to get ready for
5. What are some things we can do this week to get ready for Jesus?
Dinner Time: Christmas Traditions
Below is a prayer with which to start your meal and then discussion questions to explore this week’s topic with your family while you eat.
Lord of heaven and earth,
We join today with Christians past and present to celebrate your birth.
Bind us together as one family with your love.
Thank you for your sacrifice Lord.
Today we eat and and give thanks your birth, life and resurrection.
We share this food, our lives and our hearts with one another,
In memory of you, our Saviour and Lord.
(found on www.livingprayers.org)
1. What are some of your favorite traditions that we do at Christmas?
2. What do you like best about church at Christmas?
3. In the prayer it refers to ‘one family’. What do you think that means?
4. How can we be ‘family’ to people we may not have ever met?
Bedtime: Reflections for Children at the End of the Day
During your bedtime routine, invite your children into a time of reflection about their day, maybe by saying, "Did you know that God really wants to know what happened in your day today, and that God is always listening whenever you need to tell God something?" Then continue with these questions:
1) What are some things that happened today that you want to tell God about?
2) What is one happy thing that happened today? What is one sad thing that happened today?
3) Did you see God or feel God with you when those things were happening? Where did you see or feel God when those things happened today?
4) Read to your children this week’s scripture selection, then ask the questions that follows.
Matthew 1:18-25 (God’s Word, My Voice)
Here’s the story of when Jesus was born. Mary, his mother, was engaged to Joseph. But before they were married, Mary found out she was going to have a baby. The Holy Spirit made that happen! Joseph knew people would talk about Mary behind her back because she wasn’t married, and he didn’t want that to happen to her. So he planned to stop the engagement quietly and no one need know about this baby. That sounded like a good plan to Joseph. But then one night a messenger from God came to him while he was sleeping and said, “Joseph, don’t worry about taking Mary as your wife, even though that baby isn’t yours. This baby is very special and the Holy Spirit is the reason he will be born. When the baby is born, name him Jesus; he’s the one who will save his people from their sin. Don’t be afraid, Joseph.”
This is what Isaiah was talking about when he said -- a young woman will have a baby who will be named Immanuel, which means God is here with us.
When Joseph woke up from that dream, he decided to do just what the messenger from God told him to do. He married Mary, and when her baby was born, he named him Jesus.
Did the story remind you of anything that happened in your day today?
5) What are some things that you want to tell God that you are grateful for today?
Share some of your conversations in the comments below: