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January 2014

Barefoot in the Snow

For the First Sunday after New Year’s Day

From “Barefoot in the Snow” (download book at left)

Scripture Reference: Luke 3:21-22  “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”  Barefoot in the Snow Cover Art

It’s a new year, isn’t it? Happy New Year! Did any of you stay up until midnight to greet the New Year? (Let children respond. You may share how your family celebrated the New Year. You may have your own traditions that would work as an illustration, or use this one.) Some families in the Midwest have an interesting New Year’s tradition. If you are daring enough and figure you can run fast enough, at midnight you can race around the house outside through the snow in your bare feet! Do you think you would try that? I’m sure those crazy enough to do that wouldn’t be yelling just because it was New Year’s. They would be yelling because their feet were freezing! As soon as they got back in the front door, they could dry off their cold feet with towels and then toast their toes by the fire or a heater and maybe have some hot chocolate.

Running barefoot through the snow was a way to wake up to the New Year; to challenge yourself to meet hardship with exuberance and even laughter. It would be exciting and exhilarating to run through the snow. Do you think you could do it? (Children may respond.) You couldn’t stay out too long or you might get frostbite. On the other hand, you could just stay warm and snug by the fire. You wouldn’t have to go running through the snow, but it would be a challenge to see if you could do it. I’m sure the snow runners would hesitate more if there wasn’t a warm house with slippers and hot cocoa waiting for them. The thought of warming up by the fire probably gives them the courage to run.

During this next year, all of us are going to have to do things that to us might feel like running barefoot through the snow. We’ll have to clean up our rooms. We’ll have to tackle a mountain of dirty dishes. Maybe we’ll have to break a bad habit; something like calling people names when we get mad or fighting with our brothers or sisters. We may have to do things that are hard for us to do, but we have to do them anyway. It’s like gritting your teeth and running like crazy through the snow.

But when you’re through with that difficult task, you know that Jesus is there waiting, proud that you made it. And your mom and dad are waiting with a big hug to show you how happy they are that you finished. So the next time you have to do a job that you really don’t feel like doing, pretend you’re running through the snow . . . and remember there’s a warm hug waiting for you at the end.

Prayer: Jesus, help us to go ahead and do those things that are hard for us, but must be done. Give us courage and comfort.

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