Good morning girls and boys. I’m so excited to see you and especially our first graders to be with us! Welcome. I’m so glad you walked down.
Raise your hand if you’ve recently started something new- a new school, a new class, a new teacher. Well, I brought with me a book that you may know, one that I remember reading to my children when they started school, when they were even littler than you. It’s the Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn. Do you know this book? It’s about a raccoon named Chester who has to start going to school at night, leave his mom, Mrs. Raccoon, and he’s really sad and scared about it. She does something for him to help him feel cozy and remember that he’s loved, even when he has to try something new. What is it?
(Allow children to respond.)
That’s right, she opens up his raccoon hand and kisses it. That way whenever he feels lonely and needs some loving from home, he can press his hand to his cheek and feel his mom’s kiss. So they go to school and as he’s about to go in, he looks at his mom, and what does he do? He kisses her hand, so whenever she needs a little loving from him, she can press her hand to her face and remember how he loves her.
I love this story, and you know what? It reminds me of a verse in another book, the Bible, one that can help us when we’re trying something new, feeling lonely or scared or worn out and needing a little love from God. It comes from the book of Isaiah, and its God words to God’s people, whom God loves so much. It says,
“Look, I’ve written your name on the palms of my hands.
You’re always in my thoughts. Isaiah 49:16
Doesn’t that make you feel that God loves you? That God has written your name, our names, on God’s hands? As we pray together, I hope you can imagine God’s hand with your name written on it, pressing to your cheek.
Let’s pray: Dear God, thank you for loving us as we begin new things in our lives. Help us remember that we are always in your thoughts. We love you, God. Amen.