In the United States of America, we are about to inaugurate a new president into office. The word president means “the elected head of republican state,” and it is a word that ought to command the respect and honor of the people. “President” is a title that our country has bestowed upon 44, soon to be 45, leaders. For parents, it is particularly important that we teach our kids about the history of the inauguration, the importance of the peaceful transfer of leadership that it represents, the biblical principles that underlie our submission to the authorities placed above us, and the ways we can do God’s work in that submission.
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When is Martin Luther King Day 2017?
Now that the holiday season is over, it may seem like there isn't much left to celebrate. Many of us are focused on getting back into the swing of things at school and making good on our New Year's resolutions. Regardless, January is full of holidays, from Russian Christmas to Chinese New Year and Fun at Work Day. Although you can find something to celebrate nearly every day of the month, one January holiday stands out from the rest. Martin Luther King Day is a very important holiday in the history of the US, is federally recognized as a national holiday, and falls on Monday, January 16th this year.
In this blog article, you will learn more about the important significance of this holiday, including:
The reason we celebrate Martin Luther King Day
Little-known Martin Luther King Jr. facts
Some of Dr. King’s famous quotes
The history of Martin Luther King Day as a holiday
A list of the public and private offices that are closed to observe Martin Luther King Day
There is no better time than Christmas to inspire creativity and have fun while doing crafts. This year, I looked to the Bible for ideas and was inspired to make a baby Jesus craft. “Hark! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger." Luke 2:12. The most iconic image of the nativity is baby Jesus lying in the manger.
This scene had been prophesied in the Old Testament and had long been awaited by God’s chosen people. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:6-7. This is a great theme to center a baby Jesus craft around. The craft I’ll be sharing today is appropriate for children ages 4–10 and is easy enough that you can do it at home, school, sunday school, or for a children’s ministry! Gather the kids around and reflect on the miracle of Christ’s birth while creating baby Jesus in a manger.
If you're anything like me, you start organizing details well in advance of Thanksgiving to ensure the month of December goes off without a hitch. I find myself making shopping lists, sending greeting cards, planning exquisite dinner menus, scheduling Christmas parties, and attending Christmas services. At the heart of many of my preparations is carrying out the traditions our family has handed down from one generation to the next. Having celebrated many Christmases, I've come to realize how easy it is to get distracted by all the hustle and bustle of our Yuletide celebrations.
Although some planning and preparations are necessary to make sure the family gets fed and transported from point A to point B, it is important to take some time and meditate on the reason for this season. JESUS. As part of our family tradition, we read the story of the nativity in the Bible, recite "The Night Before Christmas" and sing "Away in a Manger". I'm concerned that these traditions have become rote over time and we do them without actually experiencing the season in a way that touches our soul.
This year, I'm choosing to find new and intentional ways to reflect on Christ's birth, so I don't get stuck in the rut of complacency. This means that I may have to break tradition somewhat and find some new ways to celebrate this special time of year. Starting with the Bible, which is rich with beautiful poetry and has spoken to many hearts over the years, I decided to explore some non-traditional Christmas poems to help me stop and reflect on the gift of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you'd like to break tradition and share these Christmas poems with your family, too.
With the holidays approaching, there will be many opportunities for us to gather with friends and family to enjoy each other’s company and socialize. Sometimes these get-togethers are with people we know well and other times we find ourselves having to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Being prepared with a list of fun questions to ask can help you spark a conversation with someone you may not know very well. When I was a kid, one way my family sparked conversation was to ask silly or fun questions during conversations at meals or get-togethers. Here are some fun questions to ask people of all ages:
If you're like me, you did not grow up in a Jewish household and really don't have much first-hand knowledge of celebrating Hanukkah. Aside from recognizing the shape of the Menorah and finding amusement in Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song," I have not had a lot of exposure to celebrating Hanukkah or any other Jewish traditions, for that matter. Like so many other holidays we grow up somewhat aware of, I had no idea of the rich history and culture behind this special time of the year.
Christmas lights illuminate the streets and songs fill the air while the Thanksgiving leftovers sit simmering in the pan. The holiday season brings a mix of emotions, memories, smells, and plans. Have you ever thought about where some of the traditions we celebrate originated? Here are some Christmas fun facts for you to enjoy during this festive time of year.
Eating turkey and pumpkin pie, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day 2016 Parade, or looking at Black Friday ads. Are these some of the things that come to your mind when you think “Thanksgiving Day 2016?” For many, these images encapsulate the way we will spend November 24th, but how did Thanksgiving start and how did it become a widely celebrated holiday?
Veterans Day is a day in America when everyone remembers those who have fought for our country in the past and now. Not only is Veterans Day important for those who have fought for our country, but all their families. Sometimes, many Americans have a hard time on what to say to veterans when it comes to Veterans Day. The typical “thank you for your service” comment seems repetitive at times. A great way to observe Veterans Day and to express your gratitude to veterans is with Veterans Day poems. Below, I will give examples of Veterans Day poems that others have written and my thoughts on them.
As November 8th has approached, I, along with many Americans, am uneasy on who to vote for President. Early voting has already begun and lines for the voting booths are out the doors. How are people so sure already? I feel as though I still do not have all the facts. With all that has come to light for both candidates, I feel as though I need a Christian voting guide to help me along. And then I realized, I already have that! The Bible is my Christian voting guide, and quite frankly, my guide through just about anything these days. This blog post is not a post about who to vote for, but more of an inside look into my thought process of making a decision through God’s word.
As Autumn approaches every year, many people have one thing on their mind: What am I going to be for Halloween this year? The stores are flooded with decorations, costumes, and candy. On the other hand, many do not participate in the pagan holiday. With a divided line between two groups, many Christians can be judgmental during this time. This topic brings up three questions: How did Halloween originate? Why did it become so popular? How can we as Christians take advantage of this pagan holiday?
Eighteen years ago, I had never heard of Asperger’s Syndrome, otherwise known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Little did I know that when I brought home my sweet little bundle of joy, that this condition would leave a life-long impression on my family. I had no idea just how different my son would be. I’m convinced that God isn’t finished using my experiences with my Aspie and the people he comes into contact with, to teach me to rely on Him.
Psalm 32:8 tells us, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” In public schools, separated from religion by the U.S. Constitution, teachers can neither offer their religious views with their students nor share the spiritual love they feel towards their students. This is only one of the mistakes teachers make in the public sphere. Its impact, like the other nine errors we cite here, goes beyond the academic life of a child.
Keeping a spiritual balance between “earthly good” and “heavenly good” is important to our everyday walk with Christ. Since this is a fallen world, we automatically tap into our earthly ways. It is easy for us to be in this state, but eventually it wears us down. Paul says in Romans 8:6-8 that to live spiritually balanced is to live life in peace.
“I’m just not one of the smart kids.” Have you heard those words from your student or a similar statement? We live in a society that places emphasis on grades and overall performance in school, and if a student is not successful by school standards, that child may come to believe that he or she is “just not smart enough.” However, that is not a true statement. Instead, we need to encourage students to discover what smart kids they really are. Let me explain.
In her book “8 Great Smarts”, Dr. Kathy Koch proposes that there are eight ways that students tend to show their intelligence, and it is important to affirm and nurture these smarts; otherwise, they can become weaknesses. For example, a student who likes to talk to others may be word and peoplesmart. Simply telling the student that he or she needs to be quiet does not develop either smart. However, affirming the student’s need to “talk things out” in a respectful manner helps him or her learn how to use those smarts.
Autumn is here, and that means it’s time to make some tasty treats! When I think of the season of fall, there are a few things that come to mind: pumpkins, hay bales, candy apples and apple cider. Growing up, there were a few things my mom used to make for my school harvest parties, but this year, I have done some research of some new tasty treats I could make. Whether you are going to a harvest party or just hanging out with family, these tasty treats will be a hit!
As Columbus Day 2016 approaches on Monday, October 10th, I remember a particular saying: Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. I learned this rhyme early on in life to help me remember the year that Columbus set sail to discover America. Many students today learn about how Columbus and his three ships (Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria) sailed from Spain and discovered the land he named the Americas. Some elementary schools even put on a play about the voyage. The history books paint Columbus as a hero because he found the land and helped the Native Americans that occupied it. Some history books also claim that Columbus was the one who discovered that the world was not flat. The origin of Columbus Day came from the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic Fraternal organization. It was eventually signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. Although the history books say one thing, historians have proven otherwise. So, on Columbus Day 2016, here are some questions we should ask: Was Columbus a hero? Should we celebrate him? What are we teaching our kids? What moral lessons can we learn?
High school students are under a lot of pressure. There's academic stress, extracurricular activities, homework, social life with friends and family life. All of these are happening while schools are holding their students to higher standards than in the past. Students tend to have to give something up and it’s usually their free time and sleep. Research is beginning to show that students need a break in their high school schedule. They need time at least once a day to clear their heads and to get some fresh air before tackling their other commitments. Recess in the high school schedule is somewhat unheard of, though.
You know that you don’t want to go, but you have to. The bell that just rang is signaling that your lunch period has begun, but there are plenty of problems. For starters, it’s only 10:30 in the morning and you simply aren't hungry. After all, you just finished breakfast three hours ago! As you trudge down the staircase, the smells from the school cafeteria rise to meet you. What are you going to choose to eat today to have a healthy eating pattern?
It’s Fall, which usually means that church youth groups are back in action for the year. I remember my youth group in high school, met every Wednesday night at the church and then a small group of girls my age met on Mondays. It was such a great time to vent to people my own age and really grow in the Lord. Although the key focus of group meetings was to study the Bible, we often took time for youth group activities. Most of the time, the activities were not geared towards Christ; they were very secular activities. This, of course, is fine every once in awhile. I felt that the activity could have been used as a “lead in” to the Bible study or as a closing activity to leave a lasting impression from the lesson. Below, I talk about five different youth group activities that have proven to be successful. I wish these were around when I was a teen!