This children’s sermon was written for December 8, 2019, to accompany the story of Zechariah and how God was working in him as he did the practices his faith traditions required. My goal was to help the kids understand that as we do the things we do in church- pray, sing, read scripture, etc., it helps our minds and hearts get closer to God– and as we practice those traditions, we get better at learning how to be closer to God.

Good morning, girls and boys! I was looking at ornaments on my Christmas tree and I thought I’d show some to you. There’s a baseball ornament of Sam’s, reminds me of all those games he played in. There’s a bike ornament, a tuba from the time Sam played the tuba and there’s a laptop, from a year when I was working really hard on writing a book. I look at all these and I think of a lot of practicing! Baseball, tuba, riding a bike, writing stories. When we practice, we get better at what we’re practicing!

We change what we’re doing on the outside- instead of watching tv – and it changes our insides!

Looking around today, I see we do that at church too!

Our goal isn’t to score a goal or write a story- it’s to be more like Jesus.

  • A mind that thinks like he thinks
  • A heart that loves and feels like his heart
  • And making choices like he made- to love everyone, to do what’s right even when no one else is doing that

And So we practice.

  • Jesus prayed every day, so we pray every time we gather
  • Jesus studied the scriptures, so we study the Bible
  • Jesus was baptized, so when we decide to follow Jesus, we get baptized too
  • Jesus served his disciples the Lord’s supper, so we do that too to remember Jesus

When we do all these traditions on the outside, our inside minds and hearts and choices change!

But Advent isn’t about celebrating what we do, is it? It’s about what God has done for us: to send Jesus to us to show us how to live with each other and love each other.

So when you’re in church and we’re praying again or someone’s being baptized you can remember, OH THAT’s why we’re doing all this. We’re practicing all these things that help us think and feel and act like Jesus.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for all the traditions we have to help us practice being like Jesus. As we do them, help us make our minds and hearts and actions to be more like his. We love you, God. Amen.