One of the best things I changed about this school year was a morning "circle" time to begin our day. Sure, before, we would pray together and be on our way to study, but this year I wanted the time to have more meaning and to set aside time to do something together to start off the day.
Ideas I use: feast days, seasons/holidays, something I think we need to focus on, etc.
For January, I decided to focus on the name of Jesus. As time allowed, we did a variety of activities to learn about the name of Jesus. At the end, I put any paperwork into a "book" for the kids'.
This is a basic outline of what we did...
Intro & Cover Page
The kids used their new "smelly" markers from Epiphany. Colored pencils, crayons, watercolors, etc. would work well or you could also make your own cover. The kids really liked these coloring pages. You know it's good if all four are eager to do it.
As we colored, we talked about how names are important - names tell us who we are talking about. Names also have meaning. I looked up the meaning for each of the kids' names before we talked about the roots of Jesus' name.
(From the Greek Iesosus which comes from the Aramaic, Yeshu, which means "Yahweh is salvation.")
Treating Jesus' Name with Respect and Honor
This section took more time and days to finish up...
We talked about how people today seem to use God's name (in any form) without respect and many times, unknowingly. (This was a habit of mine for years before coming into the Church - you can change!)
I shared with them the prayer that can be said when one hears His name being said without respect or knowledge:
O Jesus, my Savior and Redeemer, Son of the living God, behold, we kneel before Thee and offer Thee our reparation; we would make amends for all the blasphemies uttered against Thy holy name, for all the injuries done to Thee in the Blessed Sacrament, for all the irreverence shown toward Thine immaculate Virgin Mother, for all the calumnies and slanders spoken against Thy spouse, the holy Catholic and Roman Church. O Jesus, who has said: "If you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you," we pray and beseech Thee for all our brethren who are in danger of sin; shield them from every temptation to fall away from the true faith; save those who are even now standing on the brink of the abyss; to all of them give light and knowledge of the truth, courage and strength for the conflict with evil, perseverance in faith and active charity! For this do we pray, most merciful Jesus, in Thy name, unto God the Father, with whom Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Holy Spirit world without end. Amen. (source)
The name itself doesn't hold power (after all, there are others named Jesus in this world), but the One who holds the name does have power, and we believe that.
In fact, invoking the name of Jesus brings four special rewards:
- Helps us with physical needs. Mark 16:17-19
- Gives us help in spiritual trials. Acts 2:21
- Protects us from Satan and his temptations. Matthew 6:13
- We receive grace and blessing through His name. John 16:23-24
I created a notebook page with each of these rewards, along with a Bible verse to go along with. (Download Here) Alternatively, you could also have the kids make their own notebook page and copy out the Bible verses.
(4 rewards of invoking Jesus' name /// how we can honor His name)
Another color, cut, and paste notebook project we did was how we can honor Jesus' name. First, we came up with our own ideas, and then we did the notebook activity. Optional write-in:
"So that at Jesus' name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father: Jesus Christ is Lord." Philippians 2:10-11
Many saints through the years have been proponents of the devotion to His Most Holy Name, but we studied three in particular: St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Bernardine of Siena, and St. John of Capistrano. I copied off info for each (see links above) as well as simple notebook page I made with saint quotes.
These saints recommended that the monogram of Jesus (letters IHS with rays of the sun coming from it) be placed upon every gate in every city and above the doors of faithful followers. Originally, I wanted to make a different project - wooden, clay, or soap - but we ran out of time and ended up drawing on paper, which the kids are into lately anyway:
Sometimes people have nicknames. Jesus is no exception. In fact, He had many nicknames. There are over 200 in the Bible!
First, we made a list of all the names of Jesus we could think of, and then we added to that list:
To learn more names, the girls painted the picture of Jesus (below) that I made with some common names of Jesus. The boys chose to do a word search (there is a puzzle as well).
The last thing we did to learn about more names was this Advent Name of Jesus "Game." It really isn't a game. I printed the cards, and split into even groups. We followed the chain of names, adding to our list as we went.
(Don't tell your kids it is a game! I kept getting grumbling from one child because it very obviously was NOT a game even though the post title says it is.)
To finish the study, I had the kids pick a nickname that spoke to them. They then copied out the appropriate scripture and drew a picture:
And we of course prayed the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus:
V. Lord, have mercy on us.May this bless you...
R. Christ, have mercy on us.V. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.V. God the Father of Heaven
R. Have mercy on us.
V. God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
R. Have mercy on us.V. God the Holy Spirit,
R. Have mercy on us.V. Holy Trinity, one God,
R. Have mercy on us.V. Jesus, Son of the living God, R. Have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, [etc.]
Jesus, brightness of eternal light.
Jesus, King of glory.
Jesus, sun of justice.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus, most amiable.
Jesus, most admirable.
Jesus, the mighty God.
Jesus, Father of the world to come.
Jesus, angel of great counsel.
Jesus, most powerful.
Jesus, most patient.
Jesus, most obedient.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart.
Jesus, lover of chastity.
Jesus, lover of us.
Jesus, God of peace.
Jesus, author of life.
Jesus, example of virtues.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls.
Jesus, our God.
Jesus, our refuge.
Jesus, father of the poor.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful.
Jesus, good Shepherd.
Jesus, true light.
Jesus, eternal wisdom.
Jesus, infinite goodness.
Jesus, our way and our life.
Jesus, joy of Angels.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles.
Jesus, teacher of the Evangelists.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs.
Jesus, light of Confessors.
Jesus, purity of Virgins.
Jesus, crown of Saints.
V. Be merciful, R. spare us, O Jesus.V. Be merciful, R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.V. From all evil, R. deliver us, O Jesus.From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.From Your wrath, [etc.]
From the snares of the devil.
From the spirit of fornication.
From everlasting death.
From the neglect of Your inspirations.
By the mystery of Your holy Incarnation.
By Your Nativity.
By Your Infancy.
By Your most divine Life.
By Your labors.
By Your agony and passion.
By Your cross and dereliction.
By Your sufferings.
By Your death and burial.
By Your Resurrection.
By Your Ascension.
By Your institution of the most Holy Eucharist.
By Your joys.
By Your glory.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Jesus.V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Jesus.V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us, O Jesus.V. Jesus, hear us.
R. Jesus, graciously hear us.Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, You have said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened to you." Grant, we beg of You, to us who ask it, the gift of Your most divine love, that we may ever love You with our whole heart, in word and deed, and never cease praising You.
Give us, O Lord, as much a lasting fear as a lasting love of Your Holy Name, for You, who live and are King for ever and ever, never fail to govern those whom You have solidly established in Your love. R. Amen. (source)