Generations 15 – Give Your Gifts in Memory of Him

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					Generations 15 – Give Your Gifts in Memory of Him December 8-15, 2004 Parents: Read Out Loud Have you ever seen a plaque with a person’s name on a wall or building or bench (called a memorial)? Or have you ever noticed a building that has been built or left in place long after it’s useful in order to help us remember someone or something special? For example, Washington, D.C. has a 555’ tall, pointed “obelisk” 1 not far from the U.S. Capitol Building and White House (see picture at left). It also has a round building next to the Potomac River (see picture at right). 2 Do you know who they help us remember?

Or do you know what the city of New York is doing with the land where the World Trade Center stood until it came crashing to the ground when terrorists flew airplanes into it on September 11, 2001? They are building a monument. A monument or a memorial is something to make people remember something or someone. We build monuments to remind us that our lives really do matter – that something or someone important and valuable was once here. It’s the same reason we leave pictures hanging on our walls of grandparents or other family members who may even have died. We want to remember them. And that is a good thing. It is good to remember how we got where we are. Sometimes, for example, children who have been adopted get to have two birthdays – one for when they were born into the world, and one for when they got adopted by their family. Or when parents have an “anniversary” – it helps them remember that they chose to get married to each other and promised to love each other in good times and bad. This week, we want to continue thinking about gifts – what we said last time that Christmas is about. But we want to think about gifts given in memory of the Lord Jesus – the most important Gift ever given, and the main Gift we remember on Christmas. As Christmas will be here in only a couple weeks, most of you are making or buying presents for people you love. It is just important that as we shop and wrap and give and open our gifts this year, we need to remember that we do it in memory of Jesus – the greatest Christmas gift ever. But how do we give our gifts in memory of Jesus?

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Washington Monument Jefferson Memorial

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Day One: Remembering
For this devotion, you will need 1) two rooms, 2) a large box, 3) twelve stones or balls, and 4) lots of pillows BOX: You need a box of cardboard or wood that is as close as you can make it to 4 feet long, 2.5 feet high and 2.5 feet wide. Write the word ARK on all sides (Exodus 25:10). Put the box in the room that you are not meeting in. STONES: You will need 12 stones or balls that can pretend to be stones about the size of baseballs. These are to be placed on the floor in the room in which you meet. PILLOWS: You need as many throw pillows (or bed pillows) as you can put out on the floor in the room in which you meet for devotions.

Discussion Question: What are some monuments or memorials you have seen? _________________________ What are some you would like to see some day? ________________________________ Are there any memorials around Winchester? ___________________________________

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Act or Read Joshua 3:9-4:10. If you have at least three people doing these family devotions together, act it out as written below. Almost everyone can play more than one role. You will need someone to be a) Joshua, b) Narrator, c) God, d) the priests, e) the people of Israel, f) a five year old kid, g) a parent. Logistically speaking, whoever plays the priests can only play d), f) and g).

Joshua (to the people of Israel)
Come here, and listen to the words of the LORD your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly force the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites out of your way. Watch the ark of the promise of the Lord of the whole earth as it goes ahead of you into the Jordan River. Choose one man from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The priests who carry the ark of the L ORD, the Lord of the whole earth, will stand in the water of the Jordan. Then the water flowing from upstream will stop and stand up like a dam.

Narrator
So they broke camp to cross the Jordan River. At this point, kids who are supposed to be the priests go to the room where the box is. They carry it from the other room to the room in which you are meeting, holding it in the air. Have pillows strewn on the ground as if it were water. As soon as the “priests” step into the area of the pillows, the parents(s) need to push the pillows into a heap on (only) one side of the “priests” as if the “water” was standing upstream of them in a pile, moving aside for them.

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Narrator
The priests who carried the ark of the promise went ahead of the people. The Jordan overflows all its banks during the harvest season. When the priests who were carrying the ark came to the edge of the Jordan River and set foot in the water, the water stopped flowing from upstream. The water rose up like a dam as far away as the city of Adam near Zarethan. At this point, whoever else there is who can be the nation of Israel needs to walk by the priests from one side of the room to the other, careful not to step in the “water” (the pile of pillows stacked on one side).

Narrator
The water flowing down toward the Sea of the Plains (the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. Then the people crossed from the east side of the Jordan River directly opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the LORD'S promise stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. The whole nation finished crossing the Jordan River.

God (speaking to Joshua)
Choose one man from each of the 12 tribes. Order them to pick up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan, where the priests' feet stood firmly. Take the stones along with you, and set them down where you will camp tonight.

Narrator
Joshua called the 12 men whom he had selected (one from each tribe).

Joshua
Go to the middle of the Jordan River in front of the ark of the LORD your God. Each man must take a stone on his shoulder, one for each tribe of Israel. This will be a sign for you. In the future your children will ask, 'What do these stones mean to you?' You should answer, 'The water of the Jordan River was cut off in front of the ark of the LORD'S promise. When the ark crossed the Jordan, the river stopped flowing. These stones are a permanent reminder for the people of Israel.' "

Have someone go out to the “Jordan” and collect the stones from the ground WHILE THE PRIESTS ARE STILL HOLDING THE ARK UP IN THE AIR. Bring the stones out to another part of the room. Narrator
The people of Israel did as Joshua had ordered. They took 12 stones, one for each of the tribes of Israel. They took them from the middle of the Jordan as the LORD had told Joshua. They carried them to the camp and set them down there. Now the priests move out of the way. The parents throw the pillows back on the floor (only hitting people they really want to hit), showing that the river Jordan is back in place. WARNING: This may take a while as pillow fights sometimes do. Stack the stones up in one place and have one of the kids who is about five years old (or who can pretend to be about five years old) ask their dad or their mom, What do these stones mean to you?

Five-Year Old Kid to their Mom or Dad Pointing at the pile of stones (or balls) - What do these stones mean to you? Mom or Dad 'The water of the Jordan River was cut off in front of the ark of the LORD'S promise. When the ark crossed the Jordan, the river stopped flowing. These stones are a permanent reminder for the people of Israel.

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2.

In the New Testament, two major memorials are given to Christians by the Lord Jesus. Ask your kids: Do you know what they are? a. ________________________________ 3 b. ________________________________ 4

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This is where Christmas and Christmas gifts come in. Christmas is meant to be a memorial to us of what an awesome thing God did for us when He sent His Son. Every gift you give is a memorial of how He loves us. Christmas is meant to be a memorial for us to remember that Jesus came to the earth to die to take away our sins and to make us into holy people who love God, follow Him, love and care for other people and tell others about Him. Examples: a. Candy Cane 5 – Does anyone know what it memorializes? b. Christmas lights6– Does anyone know what they memorialize? c. Gifts we give each other – Do you know what they memorialize? The gifts we give each other at Christmas memorialize that God loved us and sent His Son as a gift, so we love each other and send a gift. This Christmas, try this: With every gift you give, write on the gift card something about the way God has loved you or loved them. When they see who the gift is from on one side of the card, they can turn it over and see how God has loved them or you. For example: Front Side: To Mommy from Natalie Back Side: God always meets our needs. Front Side: To Jared from Santa Claus Back Side: You are very special to God Front Side: To My Wife Back Side: God Gives Me Hope

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Baptism – reminds us that when He died, we died with Him; when He was raised to new life, we were raised to new life. Reminds us that we are in Him and He is in us. Reminds us that we are forgiven, washed clean because of our faith. Reminds us that we are free from having to live in sin’s bondage. Reminds us that we are part of the church and that we are to testify of Christ and what He has done. 4 The Lord’s Supper – reminds us that he died to take our sins away, that he died to make us holy, that He offers us fellowship with Him right now, that He is returning some day and that we are part of One Body. 5 Candy Cane – Red is signifies Jesus’ blood and white is to signify forgiveness and cleansing. 6 Lights on a tree and on houses – The “Light of the World” came into the darkness.

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Day Two: We Give Gifts as a Way to Love and Serve Others Discussion: Who are some people who have served you the most in your life? How? _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ Who are some people you have served? _____________ How? _________________ 1. Parents – READ: “Gifts are a form of love and service. We ought not merely see gifts at Christmas as something fun or nice to have. They are a way to serve another person, care for them and express our love to them. In fact, several writers (Gary Chapman, Willard Harley and others) have suggested that there are five main ways to show love: a. Spend time with (doing whatever) b. Do projects for (home repair, building, sewing, etc.) c. Physical touch (like hugs and kisses and wrestling) d. Give gifts (on special days or just because) e. Talking (including normal conversation and words of affection) Which “love language” do each of you think is the main “love language” of each person in your family? __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 2. We love others by giving gifts because He first loved us and gave us a gift to demonstrate that love. a. Read 1 John 4:19 – What does this verse say? What does it mean? b. Read Ephesians 5:1 – What does it say? c. If we are to be like God (“b” above) and God shows us love by loving us first (“a” above), how are we supposed to act to others? d. Read John 3:16 and Romans 6:23 – How is God’s greatest demonstration of love related to gift-giving and to Christmas? 3. Gifts can be a form of service. Giving car washes or extra vacuuming the downstairs or cleaning an extra bathroom when not asked to your parents for Christmas serves them. Even buying them slippers or a tie can serve them because it means that they can use what you give them. Notice that we are to serve each other if we are Christians. Read John 13:12-17. Discuss how each of you serves the others in your family (but don’t talk about yourself – let others do that as Proverbs 27:2 says) 4. Find one gift you can give each one in your family for Christmas that serves him or her, and “make delivery on it” between now and Valentine’s Day. Pray that God will develop in each of you the heart of gift-giving and of service

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