Discovering Faith with Your Children

We believe that discovery, learning, and self-realization are not experiences reserved for children. Wondering how to facilitate these opportunities for spiritual and personal growth? Here are some suggestions:

        Ask and Answer Questions: Questions are a vital tool that little ones use to unpack, and make sense of, the world around them. Encourage this curiosity in your children by welcoming questions about life, God, and morality. If and when you find your child asking question such as, “Who made the world?” or, “What happens when people die?” don’t try to change the subject, but walk with them through the question. Ask them why they want to ask such a question and what they think the answer might be. Tell them what you think is true, and maybe take some time to look at the Bible with your kids to see if you both could discover new answers there. It is amazing what truths we can find in places such as the Bible that we think we know all about, but might actually have many misconceptions. Taking time to find answers is not only a great bonding experience, but a chance for you to grow and solidify your own beliefs.

Voyage in Faith: If you don’t feel you have found the ultimate spiritual truth, don’t give up! Set sail with your youngster across the sea of different churches and synagogues, all the while looking for that truth of life that will satisfy the hearts of you and your child. Your children will enjoy attending services and holiday events that shed light on those “big questions” floating in their minds (and let’s be honest, yours too). And, always remember, Jews for Jesus provides many opportunities for you to discover and learn along with us throughout the year.

Don’t Go it Alone: Ever hear that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child?” Well, that saying couldn’t be truer!  We believe we were made to live in community and rely on others for help, support, and guidance. More likely than not, your kiddos are constantly seeking community, through making friends at the park or talking way too long to the clerk at the bodega. Join your children in their desire to seek community and find others who are on a similar journey of spiritual discovery. Find a friend to bounce ideas off of or visit a church with. Maybe even talk to someone who feels assured in their beliefs and have them lead you through their expedition of faith. Coming along side you is what we do best at Jews for Jesus. Our staff would love the opportunity to join you and your child as you look for and discover the truth about life, faith, and God. Just ask!

Happy Holidays!

~Jalapeno

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Books for the holidays with Jalapeno!

Jalapeno has a kindergartener (Gato) and a new walker (Spitzy Pluto) at home and she wanted to share some of their favorite books for this time of year. We think they’re great whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas for the 1st or 50th time!

Here are some fun and educational books we suggest you read with your little one:

 For Hanukkah We Suggest:

“The Story of Hanukkah” by David A Adler

No celebration of Hanukkah would be complete without recountng the events of more than two thousand years ago that the holiday commemorates. In a simple yet dramatic text and vibrant paintings, the story of the courageous Maccabees and the miracle that took place in the Temple in Jerusalem is retold. For readers who want to continue the festivities, a recipe for latkes and directions for playing dreidel are included. (From: Amazon.com)

 “Hanukkah!” by Roni Schotter 

Say “Happy Hanukkah!” with this joyful story of one family’s holiday celebration, from spinning dreidels to cooking yummy latkes to lighting the menorah together. With sweet, lyrical text and warm illustrations, this is the perfect way to celebrate the festival of lights. Includes a sticker sheet in the back! (From:Amazon.com)

“Where Is Baby’s Dreidel?” by Karen Katz

 It’s Chanukah, and Baby wants to spin the dreidel–but where is it? Children can lift the flaps to find Chanukah symbols while they join Baby  in this fun-filled, hide-and-seek adventure. A wonderful Chanukah treat for babies! (From: Amazon.com)

 

For Christmas We Suggest:

“Christmas in the Manger” Board book by Nola Buck

The gentle beauty of the story of the first Christmas is now available as a board book. With a simple, lyrical text and radiant artwork, this book is perfect for the youngest child to be a part of the wonder of the Nativity. (From Amazon.com)

  “God gave us Christmas” by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that…
Jesus is the best present of all. (From Amazon.com)

When Jesus Was Born”  Jesus is born! Join Mary, Joseph, Gabriel, the shepherds, and the wise men as they rejoice in the birth of Christ. Flaps that open on each page encourage children to interact with the story as they learn more about the part each person played in the celebration of the Savior’s birth.

Books that Cover Both Holidays:

The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming” by Lemony Snicket

Latkes are potato pancakes served at Hanukkah, and Lemony Snicket is an alleged children’s author. For the first time in literary history, these two elements are combined in one book. A particularly irate latke is the star of The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, but many other holiday icons appear and even speak: flashing colored lights, cane-shaped candy, a pine tree. Santa Claus is briefly discussed as well. The ending is happy, at least for some. People who are interested in any or all of these things will find this book so enjoyable it will feel as though Hanukkah were being celebrated for several years, rather than eight nights

 

Light The Lights! A Story About Celebrating Hanukkah And Christmas” by Margaret Moorman

Every December, Emma and her family celebrate two special holidays. First comes Hanukkah, with dreidel games and lighting the menorah. Then comes Christmas, with carols, bright lights on the tree, and presents for everyone! (From: barnesandnoble.com)

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama” by Selina Alko  

Holiday time at Sadie’s house means golden gelt sparkling under the Christmas tree, candy canes hanging on eight menorah branches, voices uniting to sing carols about Macabees and the manger, and latkes on the mantel awaiting Santa’s arrival. Selina Alko’s joyous celebration of blended families will make the perfect holiday gift for the many Americans who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. (From amazon.com)

We hope this season is one of celebration and learning for your whole family!

Blessings,

RedSox and Jalapeno