Key Passage: Luke 2:10-11 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.”

Big Picture Question: Where was Jesus born? Jesus was born in Bethlehem as God promised.

Christ Connection: The birth of Jesus was good news! Jesus was not an ordinary baby. He was God’s Son, sent to earth from heaven. Jesus came into the world to save people from their sins and to be their King.

Dear Parents,

Merry Christmas to you! Thank you for entrusting your child to us throughout this year. We celebrate with you and your family the joy of Jesus’ birth. This week’s story in The Gospel Project for Kids was all about Jesus’ birth. When God sent Jesus to earth, He was born of a virgin, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy.

As you celebrate, recount for your kids the joyous news the shepherds shared. Help your kids understand the importance of sharing that wonderful news with others. Talk about the humble beginnings of our Savior, Jesus. Pray with your family, thanking God for sending His Son, Jesus, to be the Savior of the world.

Family Activity: Share with your kid(s) how you announced his or her birth to the world. Who was waiting in the waiting room? Who was the first person you called? Who was the first person to visit? Show any pictures or videos you might have of that special day. Make a list of the differences between that special day and the birth of Jesus.

Key Passage: Luke 2:10-11 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.”

Big Picture Question: What part did Mary and Joseph have in God’s plan? God chose Mary and Joseph to be the earthly parents of Jesus.

Christ Connection: “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The baby Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy, as well as other prophecies of the coming Savior throughout the Old Testament. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled God’s plan of redemption that God planned from the beginning of the world.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project for Kids. We’d like to take a break from the chronological study of the Bible and invite boys and girls into the stories of Christmas. Today’s story relates a time when angels came to visit Mary and Joseph. The angel Gabriel came to Mary and startled her with his news. Mary felt unworthy, but she humbly submitted to God’s will for her life.

Joseph learned of Mary’s pregnancy and decided to divorce her quietly, but an angel visited Joseph and encouraged him to follow God’s plan and let the marriage take place as planned. God’s plan was far greater than Joseph’s plan.

What were Mary and Joseph’s roles in God’s plan? God had chosen Mary and Joseph to be the earthly parents of Jesus. The baby Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about the Messiah in Isaiah 7:14. This was one of many Old Testament prophecies which Jesus fulfilled.

Family Activity: Invite grandparents or another family member to come share with your kid(s) about a time in their lives when they followed God’s plan. Were they scared? Excited? Nervous? Share with your kids that God ahs a plan for each of them.

Key Passage: 1 Kings 8:61 “Let your heart be completely devoted to the Lord our God.”

Big Picture Question: What did King Solomon ask from God? King Solomon asked God for wisdom.

Christ Connection: King Solomon asked God to give him wisdom. He wanted to be a good leader for God’s people and do what was best for them. God wants people to do His plan. Jesus trusted God and wanted to do His plan. Jesus did God’s plan when He died on the cross for our sin.

Dear Parents,

Moving on from David, this week our journey in The Gospel Project for Kids takes us to David’s son Solomon. Solomon was the second son of Bathsheba and the next king of Israel. Remember God made a covenant with David in which his sons would always rule on the throne. David was very old and Solomon had become the king. David encouraged his son to always follow God and to walk in His ways.

Once David died, Solomon had a dream in which God told him to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon told God that he was a young man and that what he wanted most of all was the wisdom needed to be a good leader for the people of Israel. God was pleased with Solomon’s request and granted it. God told Solomon he would have more wisdom than any person yet to live. Because he had not asked for selfish desires, God also granted that Solomon would be rich, live a long life, and receive honor from others. God told Solomon that he would be greater than any other king who had ever lived.

Solomon could have asked for anything, but he chose to ask for wisdom to accomplish God’s will. God created people to do His will. Jesus provided for us the perfect example of doing God’s will when He willingly died on the cross for our sins.

Family Activity: Find a playdough recipe online. Make enough for each family member to create something. Talk about how each person’s creation is her own, and she can do with it what she likes: give it away, keep it, or smash it. Read together Proverbs 9:10. Talk about the meaning of “fear” in this verse (honor, obey, respect). To fear God, we must know who He is and what He is like. Knowing a lot about a lot of things is not the same as being wise. Being wise begins with knowing who created the world and what He is like.

Go further: Make up hand motions for your favorite proverb from scripture.

Key Passage: Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Big Picture Question: What happened when David sinned? God punished David, but He forgave David.

Christ Connection: God forgave David for his sins, but sin always has a price. God let David live, but David’s son died. When we sin, God forgives us because Jesus died for our sins. Jesus paid the price for our sins.

Dear Parents,

In this week’s story from The Gospel Project for Kids, your kids heard about sin and its consequences. David sinned against God, but even through that, God, in His grace, restored David when he repented. It was spring and the king usually went out to war with his troops. This spring however, David stayed at home in the palace and sent the army out under the leadership of Joab. One night David was on the roof of the palace and saw Bathsheba, bathing. He called for her and the result was that she became pregnant. David now had a serious situation to deal with.

Instead of choosing honesty, David tried in vain to get Bathsheba’s husband to come home and be with his wife, but Uriah, one of David’s soldiers, refused. In a desperate attempt to cover his sin, David ordered Joab to place Uriah in the hottest part of the battle and then leave him alone so he would be killed. Joab followed David’s order and Uriah died during the battle. David married Bathsheba and she soon gave birth to a son. God considered David’s actions to be evil!

The prophet Nathan paid David a visit and told him a story about a man who had great riches and many animals. The rich man was visited by a traveler, but instead of offering one of his own lambs to feed the traveler, he took the only lamb from a poor man and prepared that for his guest. The story infuriated David and he demanded that the rich man be killed for this atrocity. Nathan revealed that David was that man. David took something that didn’t belong to him. David knew he deserved to die, but God relented and instead the baby Bathsheba gave birth to died.

In response to this sin, David wrote a beautiful prayer of repentance. Read Psalm 51 and feel along with David the remorse of sin. After David’s sin and repentance, God forgave him, but sin always comes with a price. God spared David, but instead the son Bathsheba bore died. When we sin, we can receive God’s forgiveness because God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sin. Jesus died the death we deserve so that we could be made right with God.

Family Activity: At the beginning of the week, give every family member a dollar bill. Invite them to spend that dollar on anything or any number of things they want, but they can’t add anymore money to it when they spend it. At the end of the week, let family members share how they spent the dollar. Talk about how anything you buy has a price. Explain that sin has a price too, but Jesus paid that price.

Key Passage: Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Big Picture Question: What did God promise David? God promised that Jesus would be part of David’s family.

Christ Connection: God made a promise to David. God told David that every king of Israel would come from David’s family. God kept His promise. God sent His Son, Jesus, to be part of David’s family. Jesus is our King. Jesus is alive, and he will be King over God’s people forever.

Dear Parents,

This week your kids learned about a covenant that God made with David. We’ve talked about other covenants that God had made with people earlier in our trek through The Gospel Project for Kids. God made a covenant with Noah, promising never again to flood the entire earth with water. God made a covenant with Abraham, promising to give him a land where God’s chosen people would live. God made a covenant with Moses, promising to be the God of the Israelites if they followed His commands and laws.

David, the little shepherd boy anointed by Samuel to one day be king, had now become the king of Israel. When David assumed the throne of Israel, God had given the nation peace from its enemies. David ruled as a man after God’s own heart. David was concerned, however, that the ark of the covenant still dwelt in a tent and did not have a permanent home. David desired to build a permanent structure to house the ark and the elements of the tabernacle, since Israel now had a solid place to call their own. Nathan the prophet told David to do what was in his heart.

Nathan received another word from God which said God did not want David to build a permanent structure because God had not asked anyone to build a permanent place for the ark to reside. God shared with Nathan that David’s son would be the one to build the temple and not David himself. God also delivered this message: David’s family would always have someone to rule the nation sitting on the throne. David’s son would be the next king, and one of his sons would rule after that, and so forth. David went to the tabernacle and praised God for the things He had done and for the things He had promised for the future. God kept His promise to David by sending His Son, Jesus, our King who will never die.

Family Activity: Locate some old family photos of past generations. Share with your kids stories about the relatives that you’ve heard or witnessed. Explain their relationship to you and your kids. Talk about God’s promise that Jesus would be part of David’s family just like those relatives are part of yours.

Key Passage: Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Big Picture Question: Who is our friend? Jesus is our friend.

Christ Connection: Jonathan was a very good friend to David. He reminds us that Jesus is the friend of sinners. Jesus showed His friendship to us by leaving heaven to come to earth. Jesus died to save us, and He talks to God for us.

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project for Kids, your kids learned that David and Jonathan became friends. David, as he played the harp for Saul, met Saul’s son Jonathan. David and Jonathan became great friends. Jonathan gave David several gifts. He gave him a robe, a military tunic, a sword, a bow, and a belt. God gave David success in everything he did.

Saul, unlike Jonathan, did not like David. As a matter of fact, Saul tried on several occasions to kill David. Jonathan warned David of Saul’s rage and suggested that David go hide himself until Jonathan could talk to Saul. In Jonathan’s meeting with his father, it was obvious that Jonathan knew he would not be the next king in his father’s place—but David would be, and Saul was intent on killing David.

Jonathan and David devised a plan to determine the extent of Saul’s hatred. Once Saul’s full intent was brought out, and he tried to kill his own son, Jonathan went to warn David that he needed to flee. Jonathan took a servant and went to a field to shoot three arrows. By giving David a signal, David knew he would have to leave and would likely never see his friend Jonathan again. David and Jonathan said their goodbyes, and David left.

Jonathan and David were true friends. Jonathan serves to give us a picture of what Jesus does for us. Jesus is the mighty friend of sinners. In John 15:15 Jesus calls us friends. Jesus willingly gave up His place in heaven to come to earth and die for our sins, and now intercedes for us before God in heaven.

Family Activity: Encourage each family member to spend time with a friend during the week. Consider allowing your kids to invite a friend over for a game or to spend the night. Talk about these experiences together. What makes a friend a good friend? End by talking about why Jesus is the best friend of all.

Key Passage: Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Big Picture Question: Who gave David power to defeat Goliath? God gave David power to defeat Goliath.

Christ Connection: The men in Israel’s army were afraid of Goliath, the mighty Philistine warrior. Nobody would fight him. But God gave David power to beat Goliath. David reminds us of Jesus. Jesus came to save us from our biggest enemies: sin and death. Jesus is the hero who saves us so we can live with Him forever.

Dear Parents,
Today’s story is a pretty familiar one, but do you really know what this story teaches us about God? The story your kids heard today is the story of David being anointed as the next king of Israel and his little battle with a very tall man, Goliath. David was the youngest of eight sons. After God had rejected Saul as king, God sent Samuel to find the next king of Israel. God directed Samuel where to find him and when Samuel came to the family of Jesse, he looked on the eldest son and thought surely this was God’s anointed one. God directed Samuel in the right way and soon it was revealed that David—the shepherd boy out in the field with the sheep—would be the next king.

David was anointed by Samuel, and soon Saul was being tormented by a spirit that could only be calmed by music. It so happened that David was skilled at playing the harp, and he was ushered into the king’s presence to calm his spirit with the harp music. David got to serve in the court of Saul as a young man, and learn the ropes of running a kingdom. Soon David was taking food to his brothers and ran across a battle line with a giant named Goliath. David heard Goliath disrespecting God and decided to battle the giant himself. Saul, who had all but given up on Israel, agreed to let David fight the battle. David took five smooth stones—and the power of the one and only God—and defeated the giant in the name of the Lord!

Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, was quite a formidable opponent. The Philistines had oppressed the Israelites from way back when the judges were leading the nation. (Remember Samson?) God gave David the power to kill the giant and free the Israelites from the Philistine oppression. David is a reminder to us of Jesus, who came to save us from our greatest enemies: sin and death. Jesus provides not only salvation, but also grants us eternal life.

Family Activity: Go online to find instruction to make a slingshot or sling. Talk to your kids about how David points us to Jesus.

Go Further: Plan a game night for a family Olympics. Choose several easy games (limbo, thumb wrestling, race around the house, long jump, and so forth). You can also use card or board games, but make sure the games are kid friendly. Allow each family member to talk about a game that seemed hard or even impossible to win. Talk about how sin is impossible for us to defeat, but Jesus defeated it for us through His death and resurrection.

Key Passage: Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Big Picture Question: Who is our perfect King? Jesus is our perfect King.

Christ Connection: God told Saul to obey Him and everything would go well. But Saul did not obey God. God rejected Saul as king. God would give His people a better king. Jesus is God’s Son, and He is our perfect King. He will rule over His people forever.

Dear Parents,

Saul continued his pattern of sin. This week in The Gospel Project, your kids heard a story of how God responded to Saul’s continued failure. God had placed Saul in the position of king, but due to Saul’s folly and failure, God commanded that he would only rule for a short time until another was given his throne. Samuel delivered God’s message to Saul and then never saw him again.

God’s desire is for people to obey Him, completely. When sin creeps into our lives, God desires that we seek His forgiveness instead of continuing in the sin we are committing. God ultimately would give the people a better King, His Son, Jesus. Jesus’ kingdom, unlike Saul’s, would have no end. Jesus will reign for all eternity.

Family Activity: Play “king of the Hill” with your kids. Talk to them about how God decided to replace Saul with an obedient king.

Go Further: Play chore swap for the week. If each family member has regular chores, swap them up. If not, give each family member a chore to complete by the end of the week. Then share how you felt when you completed the chore or didn’t complete the chore. How well did each member complete his or her chore? Let family members tell what they would have done differently if God had asked them to do the chore.

Key Passage: Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Big Picture Question: Who was Israel’s first king? Saul was Israel’s first king.

Christ Connection: The Israelites wanted a king. They did not trust God. God gave the Israelites a king, but He had a plan to send His Son, Jesus, to be king over the whole world. Jesus would be the perfect King. Jesus would bring peace and save people from sin.

Dear Parents,

After the death of Eli’s sons due to their sin, the nation of Israel lived under the rule of their last judge, Samuel. Samuel was the last of the judges because the people of the nation rebelled against God and demanded that a king like other nations. Samuel was upset, but at God’s insistence Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel. God assured Samuel that the people had not rejected Samuel, but they had rejected God instead.

God’s desire and intention was that the people would be presided over by a heavenly king—Himself— and that no earthly king was needed. God gave them their earthly king but warned them of the laws this king could enact and the many rules the people would now have to follow. The Israelites didn’t trust God and so they willingly placed themselves under the rule of the earthly king.

Saul was not interested in leading God’s people and from the very beginning tried to hide during his public revealing. Saul’s attitude would change little, and by willfully ignoring God’s commands for leading His nation, Saul ultimately would be rejected by God. God’s intent was to rule the people as their heavenly King, but the Israelites didn’t trust that plan. God had a better plan waiting, a plan to send His Son, Jesus. Jesus would be the perfect King who would bring peace and salvation to the world.

Family Activity: Cut a crown out of construction paper. Encourage family members to put on the crown one at a time and name three things they would do if allowed to be king or queen for the day. Talk about Jesus as King, and what He did by giving His life for us and our sin.

Key Passage: 1 Samuel 2:35 “Then I will raise up a faithful priest for Myself. He will do whatever is in My heart and mind.”

Big Picture Question: Why was the ark of God important? The ark reminded God’s people that God was with them.

Christ Connection: The ark of the covenant reminded the Israelites that God was with them. God gave His people something even better to remind them that He was with them. God sent His Son, Jesus. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means, “God with us.”

Dear Parents,

In our last story, Samuel shared about the sin Eli’s sons were committing at God’s temple. The story this week, “The Ark Was Captured,” is one example of the things they allowed to happen to the tabernacle and its furnishings. The ark of the covenant was a symbol of God’s presence with the people. As the Israelites battled the Philistines, they lost a battle quite substantially. Instead of asking God what happened, they decided it would be a good idea to go get the box of God, the ark of the covenant, and bring it into battle with them.

When confronted with this message from the battlefield, Eli’s two sons thought it was a great idea and sent the ark from the tabernacle to the battle. Not only did the Israelites’ strategy not work, but the ark was captured by the Philistines and both of Eli’s sons were killed during the battle. When the news of their deaths reached Eli, he fell off the stool he was sitting on and died as well. God’s punishment for their sin had been exacted. Samuel’s words had come true.

As priests in Israel, Eli’s sons were responsible for leading the nation in its worship of the one true God. Part of their responsibility would have been seeking God’s desire for going into battle. Instead of seeking God’s direction, Eli’s sons took it upon themselves to send the ark into the battle. God proved that He was the one true God and let the Philistines kill many of the Israelite soldiers.

God’s presence was always with the nation of Israel. The ark symbolized God’s dwelling with and among His people. The Israelites mistakenly thought that if they had the ark with them in battle, God would be there to fight for them. As the ark in the Old Testament symbolized God’s presence with the people, later God gave His people something much greater than a sign: He sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus is called Immanuel which means, “God is with us.”

Family Activity: Play hide-and-seek sardine-style. One family member will hide alone. As each family member locates the hiding player, she will join him in the hiding place until the last person arrives. Play several rounds. Discuss the difference between hiding alone and hiding with someone. Remind kids that God is with His people today. Invite everyone to think of a time they need to remember that God is with them.