Family Resources for Bishop's Year of The Bible: Week 5

It can be challenging to know how to read the Scriptures for ourselves, let alone with young children. The key is believing that when we hear (or read) the Scriptures we can encounter Jesus Christ. He can be present to us. This was Bishop Boyea’s intention for initiating this Year of the Bible.  But how can we help children encounter the Lord through his word, to wonder at God’s majesty and the amazing gifts he has given us? While they may not understand every word, children are often struck by the beauty of the words of Scripture and by imagery related to the world around them and the greatness and love of God. A meditative reading of a verse or two each day, along with a few contemplative questions can be the beginning of a lifetime of meditating on the word of God.

If you have a prayer corner in your home, you may wish to light a candle there before a sacred image. Or if your children are as wiggly as mine, a few minutes during breakfast or dinner can ensure a captive audience. Choose verses with striking images—like stars, animals, angels—or with glorious language praising God. Read from a real Bible if possible, not an app or a printout. After reading the verses aloud, pause, then ask a meditative question about the reading—I wonder what makes God’s word so sweet? or What is it like when a light shines in the darkness?

If even a short daily reading feels daunting, here’s an idea that has made it easy for us, despite a passel of squirrely boys: I recently heard of an old Jewish custom of giving children a taste of honey while reading the words of Scripture. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:103) After incorporating this into our daily Scripture reading, my children now remind me each day that it’s time for “Honey and the Bible”! 

It’s easy to underestimate a young child’s capacity for God, to think we need to wait till the age of reason when they can better understand. But these little ones have a tremendous capacity to wonder at God’s love and power and the gifts he’s given us. As they internalize the words of Scripture, they are laying a foundation for a lifetime of prayer and love for God. 

Week 5

Sunday, December 27 – John 1:1–3

St. John was a close friend of Jesus, and he spent many years thinking about who Jesus was before writing these words:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”
What did you hear? [Reflect based on responses.]
Who could this Word be, who was with God and who was God? What kinds of things were made through him?

Monday, December 28 – John 1:4–5

“In him was life, and this life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
What did you hear? [Reflect based on responses.]
Have you ever been in a place that was totally dark when a light suddenly shone? Which is stronger, the light or the darkness? I wonder how the light of Jesus shines in the darkness?

Tuesday, December 29 – John 1: 9, 12

“The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world...But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.”
What did you hear? [Reflect based on responses.]
Who is the true light who came into the world? Jesus. I wonder how we can receive him and believe in his name? What is it like to be a child of God?

Wednesday, December 30 – John 1:14, 16

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father... And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace.”
What did you hear? [Reflect based on responses.]

Thursday, December 31 – Isaiah 9:2

Let’s hear more about the light, this time from the prophet Isaiah:

“The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shined.”

Have you ever tried to walk in darkness? What would it be like to have a great light suddenly shine on you? I wonder who that light could be?

Friday, January 1 – Luke 2:21

Today is eight days after Christmas – let’s hear what happened on this day: 

“And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”
What did you hear? [Reflect based on responses.] 
Mary and Joseph must have been so happy to give their baby the name that God had chosen for him!

Saturday, January 2 – Matthew 2:1–2

Tomorrow is the feast of the Epiphany, when we will celebrate the visit of the Wise Men to the child Jesus. Let’s hear about the Wise Men’s search for Jesus:

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem...behold, Wise Men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.’”
What did you hear? [Reflect based on responses.] 
I wonder how the Wise Men knew that a king had been born? They traveled such a long way searching for him!