I am a firm believer Christian kids should learn about the Jewish holidays in the Old Testament. In part, because they give kids a better understanding of the culture of the people in Bible times. More importantly, these holidays remind us how much God has done for us and how these holidays all point to Jesus.
It’s important for our children to understand God has always had a plan for all of mankind. From the moment Adam and Eve introduced sin into the world and caused the perfect creation to fall, God had a plan to send His son to redeem it. They need to understand the Old Testament is more than just a collection of interesting stories. It is about the world’s need for a Messiah and the preparations for him to come.
Sukkot is a great Jewish holiday to introduce to children. It is comparable to our Thanksgiving on one level. In many ways though, it is much more than that. Sukkot is a celebration of the fall harvest. In Israel this was the fruit harvest. Sukkot is known by most Christians as the Feast of the Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths or just The Feast. Originally for seven days (now eight) the Jewish people moved out of their houses and lived in special booths they built. These booths or hut type structures had from two to four walls. The roof was covered in living things like branches. The branches were spread to cover people from the sun during the day, but so they could see the stars at night. (There are actually Sukkot booth kits and lulav bundles you can purchase, but to me they are a little pricy unless you want to do this every year.)
Continue reading Christian Kids and Sukkot
Most Christian kids get very little exposure to the Jewish holidays. Passover of course, because of its ties to the Resurrection and our communion service. If you live in a diverse area, your kids have probably been exposed to Hanukkah also. The rest seem to be a jumble of difficult names and cultural practices which have little meaning to the modern child.
Yet our kids can learn so much from these holidays. These holidays were originally designed to point the Jewish people back to God and remind them of everything God had done for them. More importantly, every holiday points to Jesus. We are not bound to celebrate them any longer, but understanding them and their original celebrations will give our children a richer sense of heritage and appreciation for God’s Plan.
Continue reading Christian Kids and Jewish Holidays
Did you ever stop and think about how many times stars are mentioned in the Bible? Of course there is the creation of the stars, then Abraham being promised as many descendants as the stars and of course the star that led the wise men to Jesus. Those aren’t the only times God sued stars to teach His people something. Stars are actually mentioned several dozen more times in the Bible.
From “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3 NIV) to “He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name.” (Amos 5:8 NIV) stars play a large role in the Bible.
Continue reading Kids, Stars and God
I am not sure when teachers first realized this – possibly when the book of Psalms was written – but it’s easier to memorize things when they are set to a tune. There are songs for the multiplication tables and lots of secular subjects. Did you realize many of the songs you sing in church are actually scriptures put to music?
Many Bible classes for kids and teens no longer focus on memorizing scripture. You may not have even considered trying to get your children to memorize passages of the Bible in your home. If you have, you may have decided the whining and complaining weren’t worth it. What if your kids began memorizing scriptures and enjoying it?
Continue reading Placing Scripture on Your Child’s Heart With Song
People often ask the best way to encourage their children to begin reading the Bible independently. The first thing to do is to make sure your child has a Bible that is accurate, but still easy to understand. The best one I have found so far is the NIrV version. It’s written on a third grade reading level, but is a translation and not a paraphrase (which can be very inaccurate in my opinion). Until recently, it only came in covers appropriate for young children, but I noticed the last time I was in the bookstore it now comes in covers for adults and even has a student study version.
Once your child has a Bible he or she can read or understand, it is important to find a reading plan that will keep him or her engaged long enough to develop the habit of daily or at least regular Bible reading. I suggest first time Bible readers avoid starting in Genesis in an attempt to read straight through the Bible. They tend to get bogged down in the genealogies and laws and give up.
Continue reading Introducing Kids to Proverbs