Family Friday: April 3

Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Mark 11:9

We have been hearing a lot about the importance of routine over the last few weeks. Routines are different than habits, recurring actions that require little or no conscious thought. Establishing a routine and staying with it, however, requires a high degree of intention and effort.

Children thrive on the routines provided for them by their parents and teachers. They like to know what to expect in order to feel safe. I think most of us are like that. When we have an established routine of sleep, exercise, nutrition, work/school, play, chores, our disposition brightens. We feel in control. Over the last few weeks, all of our usual ways of going about life have been altered and challenged. I imagine that it has been especially stressful for parents who have had to create a whole new set of routines to post on the refrigerator.

I have always struggled with making a routine stick. But one routine that has become an instinctual habit for me, is looking on the bright side and expressing gratitude. Whether it is during my morning devotion time, in my interactions with colleagues, friends and family, or while taking a walk, gratitude and praising God comes easily to me. I was that way as a child, too.

On Palm Sunday, the children ran behind the disciples to greet Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. They waved palm branches excitedly and shouted “Hosanna,” a Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” Hosanna was an exclamation of praise and gratitude.

As I imagine the scene in Jerusalem along that Palm Sunday road, this familiar hymn comes to mind:

All glory, laud, and honor
To thee, Redeemer, King,
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

What would every day look like if we routinely made sweet hosannas ring like the children on that first Palm Sunday? As you create new rhythms and routines during the upcoming days and weeks, look for reasons and ways to praise God. Look to the helpers. Look to nature. Look for evidence of God’s love and provision all around you. And see how everything becomes brighter.

Merrill Noble
Director of Children’s Ministry

For children facing illness, we pray:
Dear God, my lips sing your praise and I give thanks to you. I praise you for your love and faithfulness. I praise you for blue skies and birds that sing. I praise you for the doctors and nurses who bring health and healing. Please dear God surround the children who may be sick with your tender care. May they be strengthened by your love and sing your praises, too. Amen.

Children’s Activity
Gratitude Jar: Find an empty jar. Decorate the outside and label it “Gratitude Jar.” Cut small pieces of paper to have handy. Every day going forward, have each family member add a note with something good that happened that day. Choose a day this summer when your family will empty the jar and read about all the amazing ways God was present during this challenging time.