You, Lord, are my God! I will praise you for doing the wonderful things you had planned and promised since ancient times. (CEV) Isaiah 25:1
In this week’s kid’s devotion, we considered the genealogies of Jesus. It’s amazing to reflect on God’s awesome orchestration that brought our Savior into the world at the precise moment planned by God the Father. It’s also pretty humbling to think about how God literally moved heaven and earth in our own family histories to bring us and our children to this precise moment. Each of us, made in God’s image, is one of God’s “wonderful things.” Let’s invite our kids to wonder even more deeply about what that means.
How familiar are we with our own genealogies or the stories of our own ancestors? As far as you are able and comfortable, share with your children how you’ve seen God move to bring them to this time.
With your children, draw out your family tree as far as you can. Include the names and dates of family members. Make it a visual chart for your children to see, refer to, and add to. Don’t worry if your family tree has missing branches or if your family tree is grafted together through adoption or remarriage. Family trees come in all shapes and sizes.
Create a written record of family stories. Invite other family members to add their stories, remembrances, and memories to a shared document.
Create a shared photo bank that other family members can access and add to it. Label as best you can all the names and dates available for each photo.
Make the story-sharing an extended family experience. Invite other family members to a storytelling night that includes the children. Remind everyone that the purpose of the evening is to pass family stories on to the next generation. What a great evening for young and old alike! Have a meal and share favorite stories about aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents. Did you know any of them? (I knew one of my great-great-grandfathers.) Pro tip: if family members give you permission, audio or video record their stories.
Share some family stories that might illustrate God’s providence in your own family. Some stories may be sad or include difficult topics, but these are important stories to tell too because our God is a God that is with us in the hard times.
Let’s marvel at the fact that God not only brought Jesus Christ to the pivotal moment in the history of the world, but that he also brought each of us to meet him in the pivotal moments of our salvation. No matter our backgrounds (I myself was fathered by one man, adopted by another, and then raised by yet a third), God worked through the lives of our ancestors to bring us and our children into the world and into relationship with Jesus. Against the opposition of Satan and war, famine, and disease, God faithfully guided and protected generation after generation of our ancestors so that we could be here and meet Jesus at just the right time.
Like me, your family history may be a complicated story. As someone with three fathers, I’ve found it’s easier for my kids if I just lay the family history on the table, broken bits and all. (I really wish someone would have just done that for me.) Jesus' family tree had broken bits too, and God moved mightily through them. We can look back at our unique tree and see that God has made us who we are. This is a conversation worth having, to help our children see that they are “wonderful things,” planned long ago, given life in perfect faithfulness by a Father we exalt and praise.
Explore family history with kids or grandkids with this video “20 Kid-Friendly Family History Activity Ideas in 20 Minutes.”