This Sunday’s Lesson: Unpacking God’s Gifts – The Gift of Love
Meditate: How great is the love the Father has given us so freely! Now we can be called children of God. And that’s what we really are! – 1 John 3:1a
Extended Reading: 1 John 3: 1-10
- How would you describe yourself?
- What does it mean to you to know that you are God’s child?
Relate: The year Sofie was in Pre-K, she was very excited to be in “Miss Noel’s class” and while I was nervous about balancing my roles as “Mom” and “Teacher”, that year was filled with memories I will cherish forever. It turns out that being the Teacher’s daughter in preschool is basically like being a celebrity – everyone wanted to be Sofie’s friend and everyone thought she was so lucky to have “Miss Noel” as her mom. No joke, parents would tell me that their child would play “school” at home and enlist siblings and stuffed animals to play the parts of Miss Noel and Sofie. While I was intentional in not showing partiality to Sofie while in class, she knew who she was – my daughter – and as such, she knew that she was deeply loved.
Celebrate God’s Gift: John opens this chapter with a celebration of God’s gift of love, given freely to us – his children! This gift means that we are deeply and personally loved by someone more renown than a classroom teacher – we are sons and daughters to our Savior, Creator, King! This gift of love identifies us. We aren’t simply a face in the crowd, we are dearly loved children. We aren’t the sum of our accomplishments or even our mistakes, we are cherished sons and daughters. When we are knee-deep in the ordinary or overwhelming tasks that make up our lives, we are seen and known by a Father who lavishes us with his great love!
What We Really Are: In my daily pursuit of what’s next, as I’m counting down to deadlines and nap times, and crowding my margins with never-ending tasks, I rarely think of my identity. I lay awake charting my failures, plotting ways to make up where I’ve fallen short. But what if, instead, I received this gift of God’s great love? What if I celebrated my identity as His child. And what if – what if – I taught my son and daughters to do the same? So at the end of each day, the only thing that mattered was “Now we can be called children of God. And that’s what we really are!” Then this gift of love, freely given to me, becomes a fruit produced in my own life and shared with my child.
- Create a piece of art with your name. Have your child write their name on a sheet of paper, or do it for them. Then decorate the paper showing things they love, words that describe them, favorite colors, etc. Write ‘Child of God’ on the paper and hang up where all can see to remind them of their true identity.
- Sing: The Fruits of the Spirit (We have sang this before! We’ll be practicing this song all summer!!)
- Coloring Page: Fruits of the Spirit
- Make a bookmark
- What makes you feel good about yourself?
- What are some kind things others have said about you?
- What are some unkind things?
Before Bed: Take time to consider what you are teaching your child about their identity. How can you be intentional about letting them know you love them for who they are, and that the most important thing about them is what they are a dearly loved child of God?
– Preschool Kids: Tuck your preschooler into bed and tell them, “(Name), you are my child and I love you always.” Then let them know that the most important thing about them is that they are God’s child. Share what this means to you personally, and then pray 1 John 3:1 together before saying goodnight.
– Elementary Kids: Tuck your child into bed, letting them know that no matter how big they get, they will always be your child. Tell them, “(Name), you are my child and I love you always.” Ask them what they think that means – how does it feel to know that you will always love them? Then ask what they think the most important thing about them is. Affirm those things as interesting or important (or if they are negative or untrue things, address those by comparing them to Scripture), and then let your child know that the most important thing about them is that they are God’s child. Share what this means to you personally and invite your child to share what it means to them. Then pray 1 John 3:1 together before saying goodnight.