When February and Valentine's Day approaches, I always wonder how to celebrate. Do my kids need another plastic toy or stash of chocolates to remind them I love them? Honestly, I think my kids are pretty set on the idea that their parents love them. In fact, I'm fairly confident they know for sure that God loves them.
What I wonder is if kids can really grasp how much God loves everyone else. Does God really know about the kids on the other side of the world? Did he make them? Are they the same as me? Do those kids know what I know? Is God involved with them?
What if we really thought about God loving OTHERS on this day o'hearts?
Making our Valentine's Day about God's love for others turns the chocolate-flowers-gifts-valentines-gimmes down a bit, but also plants a seed in our kids' hearts that connects giving and love and God.
This year, my kids and I will be doing some activities about a few Scriptures that tell of God's love for all of us. Maybe these will help you and your kids focus on His love for the world, too!
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Make a world necklace and wear it all day!
"I am absolutely sure that not even death or life can separate us from God’s love. Not even angels or demons, the present or the future, or any powers can separate us. Not even the highest places or the lowest, or anything else in all creation can separate us. Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love. That’s because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done." Romans 8:37-39 (NIRV)
Play "Red Rover" with your family. Was it hard to keep your hands together when someone tried to run through and separate them? What if an angel or a demon tried to run through your hands?! Or someone with super powers? or a giant monster? or a king? Would they be able to separate your hands? Read the verse and talk about how we can't be separated from God's love---He is always holding tight to our hand and not letting go! It doesn't matter what we look like, where we're from or if anyone tries to break us away--God's love is strong for all of us!
"Here is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world. He sent him so we could receive life through him. Here is what love is. It is not that we loved God. It is that he loved us and sent his Son to give his life to pay for our sins." 1 John 4:9-10 (NIRV)
Play mail carrier with some simple valentines (just a piece of paper with a heart on it). Talk about how fun it is to get mail and see who it's from. Read the verse and talk about how all love comes from God. He sent us his love, not in an envelope but in Jesus! (Here's some fun pretend Post Office ideas!)
"Lord, you are forgiving and good. You are full of love for all who call out to you." Psalm 86:5 (NIRV)
Play a louder version of Hide-and-Seek by letting one child hide while everyone else is "It". The hiding child is allowed to call out one word ("hello!" or "love!" or even their name) over and over until everyone finds the child. After everyone has had a chance to hide, ask if it was easy to find the hider. Read the verse and talk about how God hears us AND loves everyone who calls out to Him!
“I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you. If you love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 (NIRV)
Make a special Valentine card or treat and deliver it to a friend, a neighbor or even a stranger! Read the verse and then talk about ways you can show God's love to people all year round.
You can download a printable version of these fun activities here! Print it off and stick it on your coffee table or refrigerator and try to get through a few of these activities this month!
Amanda White is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at ohAmanda.com and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!
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