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Adventure Calling – Volume 3

Adventure Calling ©, Vol. 3—Each year our children’s ministry staff creates a story and workbook called Adventure Calling. It’s designed to be used by the children (with adult supervision), over the four weeks of Advent, to interact with the great news of Jesus’ coming to Earth the we celebrate at Christmas. Adventure Calling shows how Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love are woven into story of the birth of our Savior. And the whole book is meant to be FUN! We hope your children have a blast with this book!

Adventure Calling ©, Vol. 3, booklets are available at the church!

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What is Advent?

And according to the dictionary, advent literally means is “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” In the Christian tradition, Advent is the name for the four-week period leading up to Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a giant celebration of anticipation!


Here are some thoughts, ideas and suggestions for interacting with your children around the themes and journal activities of the four weeks of Adventure Calling.

Week one—HOPE

As we get older, the things we hope for tend to be less frequent … but more consequential. We’re not getting excited or anxious about what we might get for Christmas or where we might go on vacation, but we’re trusting we will get that new job, or we’re anticipating that a loved one will get well, or sweating out whatever the day is bringing. And because the stakes are often so high, we don’t always see a guaranteed outcome in the things we are hoping for. As you enter into this Advent season, pay attention to the things you are hoping for (or against). And be aware that the things your kids are hoping for seem just as consequential for them.

It might help, too, to realize that hope isn’t something we practice in isolation. It’s part of the process of faith in our lives—especially when it comes out of a place of difficulty.
Romans 5:3‒5 (in the Bible version we’re using for our kids) tells us this:
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Hope is strongest when we have first developed patience (or endurance) and strength—what others versions of this verse render as “strength of character.” And endurance and strength of character will ultimately lead us to hope. This is also true for our children. They will have reasonable hope—especially in difficult situations—when we have first helped them to develop patience (persistence, grit, perseverance) which strengthens their character.

Talk about this:
This week the kids will be encouraged to memorize a quote or verse about hope. And they’ll be asking you to do it with them. (If you’re having trouble finding a good verse in the Bible, try searching “HOPE” on As you work on memorizing (you will do it, right?) talk with your child about the meaning of the verse or quote. Look up the definition of the word hope in a dictionary (or on and note that it—like some of our other Advent words—is a noun (a thing) and a verb (something we do). If your kids are old enough to grasp this, help them to see that hope is not only the feeling that what we want can be had or that events will turn out for the best, but also the action of looking forward to what we want with desire and reasonable confidence.

Try this:
The kids’ journal this week talks about hope as a seed. Even though it’s not the typical time of the year to be growing stuff, consider getting a small pot and some soil and planting something. (Beans grow very quickly.) Label your pot “the hope plant” and put it in a window where it will get some sun. Water it together and watch how it grows. As it does, talk about how a little hope (the tiny seed) grows if we encourage it

Week two—LOVE

Some words are so overused that they lose their impact. Love is such a word. We “love” so many things that when we want to express our sincere feelings of profound affection, we lack the language to speak it. But there are people and situations that cause us to well up in the true emotion of love. We know the real thing when we feel it, right? And hopefully all of us have had the experience of being truly loved by someone and sensing it deeply. You’ll be better able to help your child understand this feeling of tender and true affection and acceptance if you are able to identify it in your own life. If you are loved by someone, bask in that for a moment. And realize that, regardless of your human relationships, you are eternally loved by the God of the universe who sent Jesus to earth to express, in human form, an unconditional love for you!

Talk about this:
This week’s Journal Entry #3 compared love to a powerful bowling ball. Take a holiday trip to a bowling alley and see this power in action! (If you have a play bowling set at home, it would work, too.) Talk about how love can knock down fear, just like the ball knocks down the bowling pins.

Try this:
Scripture tells us that Christ died for us while we were still sinners—not because we were so good and loveable. In fact Romans 5:8 goes on to say that is was through this that “God showed how much he loves us.” As humans, we aren’t always that pure in our love, but it should be true that the love we give to our children is there regardless of what they are doing at the time. (Otherwise they’d be in deep trouble!)
Find an opportunity this week to stop in the midst of a difficult time with your child and tell him or her that you love them. Make sure they hear that your love for them isn’t dependent on their actions; it’s always there. Remind them that God’s love is like that, too.
[One of the positive disciplinary messages we learned as parents was to say, “I love you too much to let you act that way.” That’s actually how God would say it to us!]

Week three—JOY

As we noted with HOPE in week one, JOY is also both a noun and a verb. We can feel joy (noun), and we can “joy” in a person, place, thing or event (verb).

Several years ago I heard a sermon about joy. The title was “Choose Joy.” For some reason I’ve never forgotten that. Unlike happiness that results from circumstances, joy is something we can choose. Often we just don’t. We’d rather wallow in whatever is making us unhappy, post about it on social media and hope others send us Likes and Hearts.

It takes some attention—and intention—to choose joy when we are unhappy. But it will change our day … and probably the experience of others around us.

Talk about this:
One suggestion in this week’s Journal Entry #5 was to spread joy by telling someone, “You bring me joy!” Remind your child of this and consider making it a game. Put a piece of paper on the refrigerator and write each family member’s name across the top. Put a “tick mark” under each name whenever that person reports that they told someone “You bring me joy!” See how many marks you can get by the end of the week.

Try This:
Some time when your child is making a choice about something (the Oreo or the chocolate chip cookie? the blue shirt or the red shirt?) stop and point out the difficulty we sometimes have making choices. We even do “eeny, meeny, miny mo” to help us make those choices, right?

Point out that there’s one thing you can always choose: Joy! Remind them that we don’t have to be happy to be joyful … because joy doesn’t depend on our situation, or what’s going on—it depends on God. Say, “If you find yourself being unhappy, ask God to help you be joyful. He’ll probably remind you of all the things in your life that are really good … especially that God loves you and is always with you.”


Week four—PEACE

Peace is a word we understand…basically. It’s defined as “a state of mutual harmony between people or groups; freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, obsession; tranquility; serenity.” Peace!

But understanding the word and experiencing it are two different things. All around us are people who aren’t at peace. Friends and loved ones (maybe even us)—dealing with difficult circumstances, difficult people, difficult concerns. We’re constantly riled up by divisive and incendiary messages we can’t avoid. As the prophet Jeremiah puts it, “…they have seduced my people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace” (6:14 and 8:11).

This anxiety and distraction we face is made worse by fear. We’re talking to the children this week about how fear steals our peace. But consider this verse from 2 Timothy 1:7:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

God’s desire is for us not to be fearful, but full of love and self-control.

And there’s another antidote to fear (as the kids are reminded in Journal Entry #7):

Don’t worry about anything; instead, PRAY about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s PEACE, which exceeds anything we can understand. His PEACE will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6‒7)

This week, as much as you can, be intentional about avoiding negative, non-peaceful people and messages in your life. And remember to pray about everything that might be stealing your peace—personally or in your family.

Talk about this:
Re-read Journal Entry #7 in Adventure Calling and talk about how fear can steal our peace. Ask them to think about a time when someone took something that was theirs. (Most will have at least had toys taken from them when playing with a friend.) How did they feel about that? What did they want to do to get that item back?

Remind them that, if we lose our peace (due to fear or anxiety or stress or conflict), God wants to give it back to us. We can ask him for it in prayer!

Try this:
Are you familiar with the Christmas song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”? (I’m not sure why it always gets played during the holidays, but it does.) The first line of the song goes this way:

“Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

Pursuing peace on Earth can have a personal (family) application as well as a more global one.

Do something practical to let everyone have an experience of peace in your home. Maybe it’s putting away the electronic devices and basking in the quiet (peace) that ensues. Or doing a puzzle or reading a book. Maybe it’s dealing with a conflict between family members and moving past it. Whatever it is, point out the difference between the experience of peace and the lack of it. Thank God for peace!


Adventure Calling © was dreamed and created by multiple ministries and volunteers of University Carillon United Methodist Church. The booklet was creatively designed for children to learn exciting, new things about the Advent season.

Adventure Calling © Team: Bobby Brooks, Eli Enot, Holly Fohr, Taylor Fohr, Bev Greek, Terri Hall, Tori Haun, Jeff Hill, Kris Holguin, April Lattimer, Rachel Lattimer, Carolyn Smith, Jeninne Van Sickle, Lilly Van Sickle, Jen Welch, Ruth Zeman