Nature Basket: Starry Sky
When we look up in the sky during the day, what do we usually see? Clouds, blue sky, the sun! But, did you know that beyond our sky and sun, there are billions and billions of other lights out there called stars. They are there right now, even though we cannot see them. It’s just that we are facing the sun right now and the light from the sun is sooo bright, that we cannot see anything else. But, when our part of the earth turns away from the sun, the sky is dark And we get to see the stars.
Now, if we live in a place with lots of lights outside, we cannot see that many stars. But they are still there. If you go to a place where there are not street lights and other lights on at night, you will see lots and lots of stars in the sky. And in some places of higher altitude, the stars seem so big that you can touch them!
Most of the stars that we see in the sky are part of our galaxy, called the Milky Way. It is spiral shaped. The Milky Way is just one tiny galaxy in the great big gigantic universe that God has made. But the Milky Way is huge! It contains 100 billion stars!
In our lesson picture, if you look up in the night sky and see the white cloud of dust, you are seeing one of the spiral bands of cosmic dust and stars of the Milky Way. We are located on one of the outer bands.
On the night that Jesus was born, a new star appeared in the night sky. Wise men in the east saw the star and knew it was a sign from heaven. God led them to study the Hebrew scriptures and they discovered Balaam’s prophecy in Numbers 24:17, which says, "I see someone who will come some day. I see someone who will come, but not soon. A star will come from Jacob. A ruler will rise from Israel" (ICB).
The wise men set out at once in search of this special King. It was a long journey to Bethlehem. They could only travel at night, because that was the only time they saw the special star. They followed that star all the way to little Jesus in Bethlehem. When you look up at the stars at night, remember that Jesus came from heaven to this earth to save us, all because He loved us!
Below are some options for experiencing the nature lesson this month. Try one each week.
1. WALK - Go for a walk at night and look up at the sky. It's best if you can look up from a place with very little lights around, that way you can see lots of stars.
When Abraham journeyed on this earth, God told him to look up and try to count the stars. Then, God said that's how many children Abraham would have. But, God also promised Abraham that through one of his children (Jesus), the whole world would be blessed. Genesis 15:5; 12:3
The Bible says in Isaiah 40:22, that Jesus' hand "stretched out the heavens as a curtain and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in." There are many galaxies that exist in this "tent" of a universe and they are all stretched out very very far away from each other. In fact, scientists believe the universe is still stretching. It is amazing that our God who created this vast space is so interested and caring about our earth and each of us.
4. WATCH - Keep your lights off, and look out the window a little after sunset. Count how many stars you see slowly appear as the sky darkens. Did you know that the stars were always there, even during the daytime. We just can't see stars during the day because the light of our sun is so bright.
In 2 Peter 1:19, Peter talks about the Old Testament prophecies as if they were little lights, like the stars. And when Jesus, the day star (or sun), comes into our hearts, all other lights seem to disappear, as their purpose was to remind us of the greater light of Jesus. This is why spending time reading and studying the Bible is so important. It is there that we will meet our friend, Jesus!
5. PLAY - Pretend to be the wise men and follow the star to Bethlehem. Make a path with painters tape and draw stars every so often on it. (Or use a bunch of plastic glow in the dark stars to make a path.) Make the path lead to a door. Draw a big star on a piece of paper and place it on the door. Turn off the lights and use a flash light to follow the path. Pretend that door is Bethlehem.
Memory Mastery: Sanctuary Revisited
This quarter, we will again study the Sanctuary. Hopefully, by now your child knows the names of the parts and the pieces of furniture. This time we will review its significance. See if your child can learn to fill in the blanks of the following statements. If your child can name the parts of the sanctuary and fill in these statements from memory, then they will earn a Bible artifact.
Mission Mail: The Clouds Cried Out
Dear Patterson Kids,
My name is Murad, and I am from a muslim country. One day walking home from school I saw an interesting picture in the clouds. They were shaped like a man hanging on the cross. I didn't know what it meant. But, when I went to school, my teacher told a story about Jesus who died on the cross for our sins. I whispered in her ear that now I understood what the clouds were showing me. Have you ever seen pictures in the clouds?
NOTE: Please bring your coins all month long to help build the first Adventist preschool in Kazakhstan, a country in the Euro-Asia Division.
This month, let's learn some facts about the biggest biome in Russia - the Taiga, also known as the coniferous forest.
1. The Taiga is the biggest land biome in the world and forms a belt around the earth. Canada and Russia are two big countries that include the Taiga biome.
2. The Taiga is almost exclusively made up of conifer trees. Conifer trees do not lose their leaves in the winter. An example of a conifer tree that you know is the Pine Tree (Christmas tree).
3. Because leaves do not fall to the earth to replenish the soil and because the summer (warm) season is so short, there is not a lot of plant variety in the Taiga. Consequently, there is not a great variety of animals either. But, there are lots of insects! Birds love to come to the Taiga during the summer to eat bugs.
4. There are essentially 2 seasons in the Taiga - summer and winter. Summer time gets pretty warm. During summer, insects come out and lay eggs, and many animals wake up to eat from hibernation. During winter, it's very very cold, and there is lots of snow. The insects go dormant, and many animals hibernate or migrate (travel) to warmer regions.
5. Wild fires break out in the Taiga regularly. These fires can help clean the forests of dying or sick trees.
Bible Story: Good News
Reference: Luke 1 and 2
Joseph and Mary had traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register with the government. Mary was pregnant. She was about to have a very special baby. Knock, knock. Knock, knock. Joseph went around town trying to find a place to stay for the night. Finally the inn keeper said, "There is no room left in the inn, but you are welcome to spend the night in the stable with the animals."
That night, little baby Jesus was born. Mary wrapped Jesus up in cloth and laid him in the manger. The animals didn't seem to mind sharing their space and things with baby Jesus.
Jesus wasn't like other babies. You see, nine months before, an angel had visited Mary and explained to her that the Holy Spirit had placed the Son of God in her womb. The same angel had visited Joseph and told him that he should name Mary's baby, Jesus, because He would save His people from their sins. Finally, baby Jesus was here. Joseph and Mary looked at Him with wonder. Their hearts overflowed in love.
When Jesus was born, an angel appeared to shepherds who were watching their flock of sheep. They had just been talking about how much they longed for the Messiah to come. The angel startled and scared them. "Don't be afraid," the angel said, "I have great news for everyone in this world. Christ the King is born in Bethlehem! You will find him lying in a manger." Suddenly the starry night filled with bright light as a whole company of angels lit up the sky. They were singing a song - Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men!
The shepherds were so excited that they ran right away into town to find baby Jesus. Knock, knock. Knock, knock. Joseph opened the door. "We are here to see the newborn King," the shepherds said. Joseph invited them in. With wonder and adoration, the shepherds bowed before baby Jesus. Then, they hurried away to tell everyone the great news - Jesus, the Promised King, was finally here!
Our prayer verse is Luke 2:10,11, in which the angel announced, "I am bringing you some good news. It will be a joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is Christ, the Lord" (ICB). The Son of God - the Creator of heaven and earth - became a human baby, so He could be with us and save us from our sins. This is good news! God gave us a very special gift in His Son. Have you said thank you to God for His gift? Like the angels and shepherds, are you excited to tell others the good news that God sent Jesus as a special gift to them, too?
Dear Father God, Thank You for the gift of Your Son Jesus. He is my Savior. I want to tell others the good news of Your love. In Jesus' name, Amen
Below are some options for experiencing the Bible story this month. Choose one each week.
1. Traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem was at least a four-day journey. Mary likely rode on a donkey, while Joseph walked. They had to go Bethlehem to be counted in the national census. That's when a country or empire wants to know exactly how many people there are. Look at our map of Israel below. You can easily remember where Bethlehem is because it is right below Jerusalem.
2. Joseph and Mary were of the lineage of king David. David was the 2nd king of Israel. He was greatly beloved of God because he trusted in God. God told David that someday one of his descendants would have an everlasting kingdom that would not end. All through history the Jews looked forward to this special king they called the Messiah, which means "Promised One." In the New Testament, they called Him Christ, which means "Anointed One." God was talking about Jesus all along!
We go by different names, too, sometimes. Let's do an activity. Let's think of all the names each of us goes by. I'll start. You call me ___ (mommy/daddy), but my name is ___. My spouse likes to call me ___. My mom always called me ___. At work, I have the title of ___, and the people there call me ___. I had a friend growing up that always called me ___. But I am still me, even though I went by all those names.
3. But Jesus wasn't just of the lineage of David. Jesus was actually the Son of God. Jesus existed with God the Father before this world began. Jesus helped make our world. Jesus has always existed with the Father from eternity. When Jesus was on earth, He was Immanuel, "God with us."
Jesus went by a lot of different titles and names in the Bible to help us understand better what He does for us. In our story, let's go back and discover all the different titles and names given to Jesus there (Son of God, Creator, Jesus, King, etc.).
4. Shepherds had hard jobs. They had to be outside all the time and protect their sheep from predators like wolves and from thieves. Even at night, they had to stay with their sheep. Because the shepherd spends so much time with his sheep, the sheep get to know his voice and trust him. Watch this shepherd call his sheep. Jesus said that He was the good shepherd. We are His sheep.
Let's play a game. You go hide somewhere in the house - not in this room. Wait very carefully till you hear me call. Then come right away.
5. Sometimes shepherds would herd their sheep into an enclosure like a cave or with a border of rocks. Then the shepherd would sit in the entryway to make sure nothing came in or out without his notice. Jesus said that He was the door to the sheepfold. We are His sheep.
Let's make a sheepfold for our stuffed animals! We'll make a cave with a sheet and chairs (or over a small table). Then, the animals have to go inside. And you as the shepherd have to sit in the doorway keeping watch.