I grew up in a family that attended church every Sunday morning. Not only did we attend, but we were involved in church. My parents were always serving in some capacity, and we (us three kids) began serving as well as soon as we were old enough. Once in a blue moon, however, we missed church on Sunday. And when those Sundays happened, we had home church. I can remember my dad sitting down with all of us in one of our family rooms with his big black Bible open, and he’d read scripture to us, we’d talk about it, and sometimes we’d even have music. He’d play something on the boom box for us to listen to or sing along with. He set a very important example for us in this way… Sometimes, for whatever reason, you won’t be able to get to go to church, but that doesn’t mean you can’t set a special time aside on Sunday to honor the day by studying God’s word, worshiping Him, and talking about God’s work and word with believers around you.
David and I have been in this season of not getting to go to church most Sundays for the last three years pretty much. Our daughter has a slightly weaker immune system than most kids, so she catches almost any germ that blows by her, and it takes her body a little longer to fight that germ off, which translates to she’s sick a lot. Anatomically, she’s also susceptible to moderately severe secondary upper respiratory infections, so we have to be really careful with how we manage even a simple cold. So, long story short, we end up missing church a lot.
(Before you start sending me every oil or supplement we could try with her to help her immune system, trust me, we’ve tried most of them, and gratefully we’ve found a regimen that is beginning to make a huge difference for her.)
But, just like how my dad modeled for us, we haven’t let not being able to attend church stop us from setting time aside on Sunday to honor the day as a family. Home church has looked different for us over the last few years as we’ve being raising two children in stages from infancy to three-nager, but currently it looks like this most of the time: Bible lesson, discussion, family activity. (David and I are able to supplement with Bible study together and independently, podcasts, and online church sermons. The kids and I are also able to attend a Bible study during the week when everyone is healthy.)
During the month of December, you can guess what we’ll be spending most of our Sundays focusing on- Christmas! It’s easy to share the story of Jesus’ birth with little kids, but activities may be a little harder to pull together. So, this week I’ll be sharing some that we’re doing. The best part is, most of these activities cost NOTHING- you can use things you already have around your home, or you can order them online, which means no having to hunt for stuff with the general public during the most wonderful time of the year.
Our daughter came down with bronchitis over Thanksgiving, so today was another home church Sunday, and we pulled out one of our absolute favorite family Christmas traditions and made the beginning of our home church lesson.
For those of you who, for whatever reason, don’t want to go the elf on a shelf route, DaySpring has the sweetest alternative- The Shepherd on the Search. Every day the shepherd moves around the house on his search for baby Jesus, and every morning your kids wake up and search for the shepherd. Christmas morning, when they wake up, the shepherd will have found Him, and he’ll either be sitting in the nativity you set up in your home or in the nativity box that he comes inside of.
The set includes a sweet book too that is an excellent conversation starter for young children about the day Jesus was born.
I loved watching both our daughter’s excitement last year as she’d scurry around the house looking for him and the smile on my husband’s face as he watched her (as he is the one who has taken ownership of moving our shepherd, Sammy, each evening before we go to sleep). I’m excited that our son will be old enough this year to join in on this fun tradition too.
After we read the book, and re-named our shepherd (because none of us could remember what we named him last year!), we watched The Star together as a family. Oh my goodness, my husband and I haven’t laughed that much at a movie in a long time! We absolutely loved it, and again, it provided excellent opportunities for us to talk about the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth during and after watching the movie. I can guarantee we’ll be watching it a couple more times before Christmas gets here. (Also, I have to say, I was super impressed with all of the accurate Biblical references in the movie, so big-thank-you-hug to everyone who played a part in making that so, and to Sony for leaving it that way.)
After we watched The Star, we moved into the kitchen for our NO-COST family activity, which I’ll share with y’all later this week!
P.S. This post does contain affiliate links, but my opinions are always my own. Thank you for clicking through!