Invite the children (and adults!!) to come forward and immediately grab a hold of a rope tied to create a circle . Make sure everyone is holding on! Ask,” Could you hold this rope in the shape of a circle all by yourself? No, that would be very hard wouldn’t it! We need each other to do hard things and I’m so glad that all of you are here! This rope reminds us that we are all connected and when we need help all we have to do is look around to see that we are not alone. God’s love holds us together, much like this rope connects us.
In our story today, we hear that baby Jesus and his parents, Joseph and Mary had to go to Egypt in order to keep Jesus safe. It would have been scary for them! But God was with them and do you think that people would have helped them along the way and when they arrived in Egypt? Yes! God makes sure that we are never alone! All we have to do is look around to see those who are helping! Just as we hold on to the rope, we hold on to each other and God holds on to all of us! How can we hold someone with God’s love? What if there is a new kid in class? Or in our neighborhood? Or someone who is scared or alone? You are part of God’s work in the world to hold us all in love!
Have a simple, printed calendar of January 2017 with room under each day for writing (perhaps a calendar where each day is a square). People can take one home to write where they see God holding them or a neighbor each day. Also, have a paper map of the world hanging up and people can place a pin for the part of the world that they are praying for.