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Home to Bethlehem: A Christmas Game

I have been working on this for awhile now, a printable board game that churches can pass out to their families this Christmas. It invites the players along with Mary & Joe as they journey to Bethlehem. They’re racing against the clock with the sun going down and the baby on his way!

I love playing board games, but it can be a challenge to find good games to play with little ones. Additionally, I feel like many of the Christmas (or Advent) activities you find for families focus on older children. I wanted a game a 4-year-old could play with their 8-year-old cousin.

The game run-time is about 15 minutes. It also comes with two sets of rules, one for 4+ and one for 6+ with increased difficulty. But, my favourite part is the Activity Guide that includes discussion questions for families to engage in the Christmas Story together.

Game night, anyone?

It is meant to be used by both families and churches. It comes as a PDF and all 13 pages of it can be printed off at home–you just need a glue stick or tape to put it together! Besides the cost of printing, it is an inexpensive but meaningful game for churches to gift their families this Christmas season.

If you’d like to learn more about, or purchase the game, visit our Etsy Shop!


Believe it or not, she said: It was AWESOME!

As much as we celebrate and promote simple crafts with a good message here at JG&G even we can fall into the trap of super-pastor/super-church worker.

You know what I mean, the feeling like you need to always go above and beyond, like you need to come up with the most amazing activities and theologically profound kid’s time.

But, this past week two kids reminded me of what church (i.e. worship services) is all about: exploring our faith together in community.

What is the purpose of church for our littlest members?

First off, the other week my toddler told me “I am happy at church.” Which, during a pandemic with awkward in-person worship, I got to say made my day. Because, as church workers, shouldn’t that our greatest hope?

Abby playing maracas with some of the musicians at church.

Our prayer is that our children feel safe in our services, that it is a place for them to observe and participate. We dream that they might glimpse and engage with God in community, providing them with support and inspiration as they start off on their faith journey. So, to have my 2.5 year old tell me she was happy at church made me feel like all my planning and work was worth it.

Now, when asked what it was that made her feel happy? Well, she said “the pa-nano” (piano). And, you know what? I’ll take it!

A Crown for the Child of a King

In a similar vein, I was feeling a bit down about the activities we’d been doing on Sundays. I have religiously been working to supply quality activity bags, including liturgically appropriate colouring sheets. But, some days I feel like the colouring sheet business isn’t worth the effort. Are the kids really getting anything out of it?

For the Reign of Christ the King Sunday I found some old gold doilies and thought, what the heck!, we’ll make paper crowns. But I honestly didn’t think much of it. I couldn’t imagine the kids would find it very engaging.

After church, showing off our craft!

But, you know what the one kid who attended church that Sunday said, when I asked if she liked making her crown (which she immediately wore for the whole service)?

“It was awesome!”

And, once again, it struck me that all this little girl was looking for was to know that she was a valuable part of our worship. She loves to colour and craft. By having a craft for her, even a simple one, it says we see and know her, and we’re excited to have her at worship with us.

And, when the cute kid asks you to wear the crown they made? By George, the adults do it!

Faith is messy and wonderful, church should be too

These simple activities are about making our faith come alive, and what better way to do that than to lift up the marginalized that Jesus did also.

These activities remind us to not take ourselves too seriously, to have fun and get messy as we work to deepen out relationship with God.

Last week we did a paint-drip collaborative art piece to remind us of God’s call in Amos 5.

But let justice roll down like waters,

and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Amos 5:24 CEB
The result of our Amos 5 paint pouring activity!

The 96 year-old had as much fun as the 2 year-old, and a number of adults commented later on that they really enjoyed being able to participate–something that has been harder and hard to coordinate with COVID regulations in my province.

Something as simple as dripping paint down a canvas brought the text alive. And now we can proudly display our efforts in the sanctuary as a continual reminder of God’s justice and righteousness at work in our world.

So, let’s have a little grace for ourselves, and a whole lot of fun! We’re not called to make everything the best and brightest but to follow after Jesus authentically and with earnest. This Advent season as we wait upon the arrival of the Christ-Child, let’s put aside our egos and anxieties so that we don’t miss the wonder of the season through a child’s (or a 96 year-old’s) eyes!

Search & Find: Exploring Jeremiah 29

Check-out this simple activity sheet for the week of Advent 1 to accompany the Narrative Lectionary reading: Jeremiah 29:1-14 (NL Year 4). Inspired by the idea of searching for God with our whole heart share this free printable with folks so they can meditate on searching for God.

At that time, you will call out for Me, and I will hear. You will pray, and I will listen. You will look for Me intently, and you will find Me. Yes, I will be found by you,” says the Eternal

Jeremiah 29:12-14a The VOICE

We used the infinity symbol to represent God, as one of Selina’s favourite names for God is Eternal One. But, we’re curious…. What symbol would you use to represent God?

Advent Colouring NL4 Advent 1

An All-Ages Advent Devotional for the Narrative Lectionary

Let me just say, friends, that I am especially proud of this one. Huge shout-out to beta readers and friends who helped me finish this baby before the end of October!

This devotional is meant to be shared in churches, with families, or by individuals. It invites folks to explore the readings for each week of Year 4 of the Narrative Lectionary and focuses on meditative and tangible activities we can do to prepare our hearts for the Christ child’s arrival! It includes the four weeks of Advent and Christmas. It can be printed as a booklet, provided digitally, or printed off one page at a time.

All-Ages Advent Devotional

Check-out the booklet version (11×8.5″) you can print and share with your families. Get the file!

(Don’t forget to print in landscape-mode, double-sided using short-edge binding).

Check-out the 8.5×11″ PDF you can share with families digitally. They can print pages as they choose. Get the file!

Narrative Lectionary: November companion booklet

Alight, friend, this is it, our last companion worship booklet for families! Well, at least for now. We’re finishing off ordinary times with the Reign of Christ the King on November 21st and heading towards the magical time of Advent.

November Worship Companion Booklet

Check-out the booklet version (11×8.5″) you can print and share with your families. Get the file!

(Don’t forget to print in landscape-mode, double-sided using short-edge binding).

Check-out the 8.5×11″ PDF you can share with families digitally. They can print pages as they choose. Get the file!