Advent Candle Reading, Week 2: Angels

Advent reading, week 2

Turn off most of the lights in the room.SAY: Last week we learned that God’s people were waiting, and waiting, and waiting for a Saviour. Then some prophets came and told them about God’s promise to send a baby that would be born in Bethlehem. As you light one of the purple candles, SAY together: God’s people waited for the promise to come true. SAY: Finally, it was time for the promise to come true. God was ready to send the baby Saviour into the world, but he wanted to make sure the baby was going to have the right mother! He chose Mary. “God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a [young woman] pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The [young woman’s] name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” “Mary … Read More

Kicking out the ingratitude attitude this Christmas

I find kids (mine included!) to become very “getting” focused this time of year. How can we, as parents, help them move from an ingratitude attitude to an attitude of gratitude? Is it just me, or do kids get a little bit whiney this time of year? As they start dreaming about the toys they want for Christmas, making lists, eating treats every day, having parties in class, I think they (and their parents, *cough cough*) find it easy to get caught up in the gifts aspect of Christmas. Maybe they start to feel a bit entitled. Or a bit deprived. Or a bit of both. Either way, that is not something I care to live with for 1/12 of my year x 3 kids for the rest of my life. No, thank you! Here’s a few ways I’ve discovered to help kick ungratefulness to the curb. 1. Can the … Read More

Advent Readings, Week 1: Prophets

Advent reading Week 1

Turn off most of the lights in the room. SAY: God made some promises to his people a very long time ago. He promised that they would never be alone, that he would protect them and give them a future. But the greatest promise of all was that he would send someone to save them. So God’s people waited for the promise to come true. They waited for a Saviour. They waited, and waited, and waited some more. The people who shared God’s promises with his people were called “prophets”. One prophet, named Isaiah, had this to say: “But the Lord will still give you proof. A virgin is pregnant; she will have a son and will name him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14 CEV) ASK: Do you know what pregnant means? It means to have a baby. So the promise from God that Isaiah shared was that a young woman was going to have a baby boy. As … Read More

Celebrating St. Nicholas Day…a unique way to present Santa to your kids!

santa

What do we do with Santa Claus at Christmas? Perhaps you are perfectly happy incorporating him into your Christmas celebration, or perhaps you are looking for a new way to teach your kids about him. If this is you, read on for a unique way to present him this Christmas. by Cheryl Ikenouye I remember seeing St. Nicholas Day (December 6) on the calendar when I was a child. However, we never celebrated it and I didn’t know much about it until I was in my 30’s. During that time, we lived in BC while my husband worked on his Master’s degree at Regent College in Vancouver. Those were difficult years for me – being away from family, friends, familiarity, and sunshine for nearly half of the year. They were good years, though, because we were forced to make our own traditions as we celebrated many holidays without extended family. … Read More

18 Ways to Create an Uplifting and Wondrous Advent

Create a Christ-centered advent tradition!

Are you looking for simple ways to create an uplifting [read: not crazy] and wondrous Christ-centered Advent? Read on for a list of 18 ways to do so, ranging from simple enough for toddlers to meaningful traditions for teenagers. Advent is a time of waiting in expectation for the coming Christ, both as we remember the original wait for the child and as we anticipate his return. Advent traditions differ from regular Christmas traditions in that they typically include something to do or read daily, as opposed to something you do once. Most of these ideas are for the 25 days of December, leading up to Christmas Day. (The one at the bottom is the easiest – you light Advent candles only once per week!) This is a long post, I know. I recommend skimming it once for ideas, then going back to the ones that you liked!  May your … Read More

5 Faith-routines parents can develop with their kids

5 ways to build a faith routine for your family

How many times in your life have you heard the phrase “children thrive on routine”? Personally, I’ve lost count. It is true that children need routine in their lives. I can be a very spontaneous and unscheduled person, but I’ve learned to give my kids what they need because I’ve seen what happens when they don’t have it. For our children that thrive on routine, their faith-life should also be rich with tradition and routine. When it becomes habit to have family time or sleep late in lieu of worshiping as a family, does that affect their faith? When we become so rushed that we forget to pick up the devotional or Bible, does that affect their faith? (My 2 year old son has taken to gesturing wildly at the devotional book on the table until I pick it up and read. Schooled by a toddler!) When we replace the … Read More

3 ways to find God through tradition

3 ways to connect with God through traditions

Today in my series about Sacred Pathways for moms, we talk about the benefits of faith-routines in our own lives. I have an amazing friend that seems to thrive on routine. She does a load of laundry daily, swishes out the toilet whenever she uses it, gets eggs from her chickens each morning…you name it, it seems to have a designated place in her life. She doesn’t get stressed about keeping those routines though; she seems to truly get life through them. That is SO not me. I try to blitz through the big cleaning jobs on Mondays and the only time my house is truly clean is when we are about to have company! We are very different people, but we are great friends. When I was reading about people who connect with God via tradition, symbols, and rituals, I thought of her. When they renovated their home, her husband … Read More

Three Truths To Remember When You’ve Been Disappointed By God

baby picture

I scrubbed crusty orange vomit from the white carpet stairs. How had I gotten to the place where I didn’t even have time to clean this up before it dried? For four years, two little boys had filled up my time and heart. I hadn’t exactly been desperate for another child. Two boys seemed like a nice, even number. They could be each other’s best friend forever, making messes and getting each other into trouble. My nose wrinkled at the acrid smell wafting through the stairwell. Both boys had been born via unplanned C-section, and that was enough surgery for me. The world had enough troubles of its own without adding more middle-class consumers. That’s what I told God. Then He spoke back. One day I walked across the parking lot to the gym, and He whispered to my heart: let me give you a daughter. The whisper was so … Read More

Why I’m going to stop sacrificing to the blue-and-white god

facebook

I think I’m addicted to Facebook. Natch that, I *know* I’m addicted. Hi, I’m Christie and I’m addicted to Facebook. I knew it was happening, but I didn’t do anything to stop it. Somehow scrolling through Facebook became more important than spending time with my husband. It became more important than playing with my kids, more important than spending time with God. Several months ago I placed a good devotional book in the bathroom so I could spend a few minutes in God while doing my business. But how many pages have I actually read? About 6. And why is that? Because I, like many other people, bring Facebook with me into the bathroom. (I promise I’m not typing this post in there…) This afternoon my son woke up from his nap while I was reading an open letter from our new Prime Minister to civil servants, and I actually … Read More

Nurturing the Caregiver in your child

caregiver

My middle son is the kind of boy that always wants to help, but never wants anyone to look directly at him. I can envision him being the man that sets up the classrooms every Sunday but never wants to be on stage. I have a sneaky suspicion that he is going to connect with God best through serving, through being a Caregiver. Caregivers are those that give immediate care to those in need.  Do you have a child that is naturally inclined this way? Maybe they’re the first to rush in with a hug when someone is hurt or they love baking cookies for the neighbours. The very best thing you can do to help them nurture that gift as a way to minister to people AND to connect with God, is to live out a Caregiver lifestyle yourself. I’ve struggled in the past with how to help my … Read More