Dec 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Hesses

Merry Christmas from the Hess House! May you have a wonderful holiday surrounded by those that you love, remembering the One who loves you most and how He demonstrated His love for us.

Dec 18, 2015

10 Days of Nativity: Day 10

Day 10: God Love Us & Sent His Son

Today is the WHY. The question that kiddos ask so very much, "But why?" So I pray that you remember to ask "why was Jesus born on earth?" this season. The answer is found throughout the Bible, but it's summed up pretty nicely in today's verse. If you have not made the decision confess your sins, know your need for a savior, believe in Christ and choose him as the Lord of your life, then I pray this is the year that you do. So, honestly, if you've got any questions, please ask and I'll do my very best.

Introduce: (No New Character)

Scripture: John 3:16-21
16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Questions You May Ask Your Kiddos:

Who does God love? How did he show that to us? To have eternal life with Christ what do we need to do? Who is the light?

Dec 17, 2015

10 Days of Nativity: Day 9

Day 9: Magi See Jesus

I saved our camel to be introduced today. Not sure why, but it seemed nice to have him join in with the Billy goat once he arrived at the manger scene. I'm aware that Mary and Joseph and Jesus may not have been at the manger when the magi arrived but it's what I've got and the text here simply mentions a "house.". Today would be a great day to bring up the gifts the magi brought Jesus and the gifts we give on Christmas!

Introduce: Camel

Scripture: Matthew 2:10-12
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Questions You May Ask your Kiddos:

What did the magi do when they saw the star this time? Once they saw Jesus, what did the magi do? Did they bring anything for Jesus? Did the magi return to Herod like he had asked of them? Why?

Dec 16, 2015

10 Days of Nativity: Day 8

Day 8: Magi See the Star

Talk about conspiracy, Herod was secret and had a little plan in his pocket. But nevertheless, the wise men or magi saw the star and followed it. I can only imagine their knowledge of stars to recognize a new one! Today you could offer a little 'follow the star' by leading your little 'wise men' with a star ornament or a simple flashlight. Our set has the 'standard' three wise men this time, so they won't be lonely like that shepherd.

Introduce: Wiseman 1, Wiseman 2, Wiseman 3

Scripture: Matthew 2:1-9
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men[a] from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose[b] and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.
Questions You May Ask you Kiddos:

What did the magi see to make them come to find Jesus? What was Herod's response to the magi's message? Once the magi found Jesus, what were they to report to Herod? Where (or to whom) did the star lead?

Dec 15, 2015

10 Days of Nativity: Day 7

Day 7: Shepherds Visit Jesus

Today the shepherds make the trip to see Jesus, or in our case, the lone shepherd and his sheep and sheepdog. Today we'll be trekking over to the manger scene so that the shepherd can get his eyes on Jesus. The Bible even says that they "went with haste" so you could have your little 'shepherds' race over to the manger scene. Today would be a fun day to talk about how friends/family visit when a baby is born, but how these shepherds had a special calling.

Introduce: (No New Character)

Scripture: Luke 2:16-20
16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Questions You May Ask your Kiddos:

Who did the shepherds visit? What message did the shepherds bring with them? What was Mary's response? What does "pondering" even mean? What did the shepherds do once returning? How can we be more like the shepherds?

Dec 14, 2015

10 Days of Nativity: Day 6

Day 6: Shepherds & Angels

You may have thought the Christmas story ended with Jesus's birth, but it's just beginning! Our nativity set, like most, includes wise men and a shepherd so we'll continue the story this week with all those visitors! The angel once again has a message to tell today.

Introduce: Shepherd, Sheep 1, Sheep 2, Sheepdog
Note: Our set includes these characters, feel free to introduce any number of shepherds or sheep.

Scripture: Luke 2:8-15
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[a]
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
Questions You May Ask Your Kiddos: 

What were the shepherds doing when the angel appeared? What were the shepherds' reactions to the angel? What news did the angel bring? How many angels were in this passage? What was the shepherds' response to the message? Do you know any songs that we sing about this passage?

Dec 11, 2015

10 Days of Nativity: Day 5

Day 5: Jesus is Born!

Today we read the birth of Jesus! What could be more exciting? Our Baby Jesus is already wrapped and pretty set in the manger, but it'd be fun to wrap up your figure and set him into the manger if your set is a little more flexible. This could also be a fun day to reinforce that we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, sort of like your kiddos celebrate their birth on their birthdays.

Introduce: Baby Jesus, Manger/Barn
Note: If you have barn animals this may be a good time to introduce them and reinforce that Jesus wasn't born in a home or hospital.

Scripture: Luke 2:6-7
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Questions You May Ask Your Kiddos:

Who is the baby that was born? How did Mary dress her baby when he was born? Where did she lay him to sleep? Why?

Dec 10, 2015

10 Days of Nativity: Day 4

Day 4: Travel to Bethlehem

Today Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem! Our set includes a donkey and a cart with traveling supplies, so I introduced these figures on Day 4. However, if you do not have these figures, simply focus on the fact that Mary and Joseph are traveling. You could find a new location for your figures to move to!

Introduce: Donkey, Cart or other travel items.

Scripture: Luke 2:1-5
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child.
Questions You May Ask Your Kiddos:

Where were Mary and Joseph going? Why? What may have made it difficult for Mary to travel at this time?

Dec 9, 2015

10 Days of Nativity: Day 3

Day 3: Joseph's Dream

Today we learn about Joseph and his 'dreamy' visit from an angel. Our nativity set came with a trough and hay that I used as Joseph's little bed. I'm sure that a tissue or some toilet paper could make a great little bed for Joseph if you need one!

Introduce: Joseph

Scripture: Matthew 1:18-24
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[b] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,
Questions You May Ask Your Kiddos:

Who does Joseph see in his dream? What message is in Joseph's dream? What was Joseph's plan for Mary before the dream? After?

Dec 8, 2015

10 Days of Nativity: Day 2

Day 2: Mary's Song

Today Mary really gets her introduction. Oh how I love Mary's song, you can learn so much about her faith in these verses. You can learn so much about God too. I wish I had music to go with the song and we'd all be singing today, too!

Introduce: (No New Character, Focus on Mary)

Scripture: Luke 1:45-55
45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be[a] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary's Song of Praise: The Magnificat

46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Questions You May Ask Your Kiddos:

 Who is singing the song in today's verse? Who is Mary singing about? What are things you can learn about God because of what Mary sings?

Now I know some kiddos are young like Lincoln and he's not exactly answering any questions. But for the older kids, sometimes you'd be surprised by how much they can learn and understand if we take the time to ask questions and really listen to their answers!

Dec 7, 2015

10 Days of Nativity: Day 1

Day 1: Gabriel Sent to Nazareth

Today the angel Gabriel is sent to Mary with some pretty exciting news. I could see this day sparking a few 'interesting' questions in the years to come... If our set had a pregnant cousin Elizabeth I'd have included her too, but it didn't. Feel free to include the portion of scripture following today's story if you'd like to include Elizabeth for your nativity!

Have fun, and don't forget to share your pics with us! #10DaysofNativity or tag me right in your picture. If I can, we'll share them too!

Introduce: Angel, Mary

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38 (ESV)
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed[a] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”[b] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”[c]
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[d] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[e] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Questions You May Ask your Kiddos:

What was the angel's name? Who sent the angel to Mary? What did the angel tell Mary? Do you think Mary was excited or afraid? (We'll read more about Mary tomorrow!)

Have fun! Enjoy this time with you and yours! Praise Jesus!

If you're wondering what this is all about read the introduction to 10 Days of Nativity here.

Dec 6, 2015

10 Days of Christmas Nativity

I'd like to invite you to join me for the 10 Days of Nativity!

Starting tomorrow morning I'll be walking through the real Christmas story with the help of Lincoln's little nativity toys. Pretty much, I'm a mom who gets a kick out of playing with her one year old's toys and I want you to join in.

Seriously, though, often I get to Christmas Eve without even sitting down with my Bible to read the Christmas story. The hustle and bustle often crowds out the main attraction. So this year as we start traditions with our little guy I wanted to make sure I didn't forget the 'reason for the season.' And I wanted to find a way to get Lincoln involved in the Christmas story even though he's only one.

So I'm calling mothers, kids of all ages, dads, grandparents, college kids during finals week, and second cousins once removed to join me in the 10 Days of Nativity.

Each day for ten weekdays I'll be posting part of the Christmas story as told in the Bible. The posts will include a picture of my Lincoln's Little People Nativity characters telling the story and the scripture reference for that day's portion of the story. Instagram @brittanyhess and Facebook will have the basic post and the full scripture verses can be found if you come right here to the blog each day.

I've been hiding Lincoln's Nativity toys and we'll be pulling out a few new characters each day to go along with the story. In the posts I'll note which characters we'll be introducing that day and feel free to pull out your nativity scenes (Little People or not) and let your kiddos (or roommates) play along as you read. Some of the portions of scripture are quite long, feel free to tailor the length to your personal patience levels...

If you want you can simply follow along and read the posts. Go a step further and break out your own Bible and your own nativity. Or go even a step further and snap a few pics of you and yours joining in the fun. Post those pics to Facebook and make sure to use the hashtag #10Daysof Nativity so that I can see the pics! Feel free to tag me if you'd like @brittanyhess.

I'm excited to introduce Lincoln to the Christmas story this year. I want my son to know that we're celebrating the birth of Jesus. I think about someday walking in on him with the tiny little nativity figures figuring out how the angel should explain to Mary how she's going to have a baby or something adorable like that. I pray for the day when he understands the story and accepts Jesus as his savior. But for now, I'll settle with the fact that he seems to think Joseph tastes good... sorry, Joseph.

Join us. Remember Christ this season. Take time to consider the greatest gift we can ever receive. And have a little fun getting hands on with your nativity. Ours isn't breakable so at least we have that...

Instagram: @brittanyhess
Facebook: Brittany Hess or Hint of the Hess House (Like us there!)
More details here on the blog!

It starts tomorrow!

Link to each day:
Day 1: Gabriel Sent to Nazareth
Day 2: Mary's Song
Day 3: Joseph's Dream
Day 4-10: Coming Soon!

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