Today I awoke extra early to pray for the kids and leaders around the country who are presenting iHope Christmas to their families and friends in December.  Please join me in praying for their lives and learning, and for the Spirit of God to love their hearts and bring hope into their lives.  Alyssa asked me to write devotions that go along with the project, and I don’t know if directors are using them or not, but I can hope!
You can find the listening CDs here
Mike and I have received great responses from some directors out there, and we plan to visit a few performances in December with our own kiddos!

One woman said: 

“The community our Church serves has a lot of serious needs and most of the kids are Bus Ministry Kids who aren’t ‘brought up in the Church.’  Many times they are just jumping on the bus for a safe place to go and to get their belly’s full. Last week, a few didn’t even have shoes on. (School aged kids at that). BUT we love them so much and they are the heart and soul of our little church in Aberdeen,  population 2000. 🙂 Needless to say, rehearsals aren’t very typical and so we have just been going over the music so far. We are going to come up with some mini lines to bridge the gaps between songs instead of doing the lines as they are in the script. (We hope that is ok.) We are having some solos-something the kids are very excited about! They are really enjoying this music!

This music has really been ministering to me – as a big kid. 🙂 I am loving how God is using your music to touch my life in this season as well as the kids. Thank you!!! It is lovely and so glorifying to GOD.”
After Mike read this email two weeks ago, he said to me, “Ami!  Our Cre8 Families are going to come behind this group of leaders to help these kids and their families!” (More on THAT soon!!!)
Below, you may read one of the eight devotions that were written to supplement this project.  It is perhaps a fitting way to help you pray for the kids, leaders, and families who are experiencing this musical right now.  I am expectant that together, they are finding new personal meaning in The Hope of the World.
When I return home from this trip, our family will begin to decorate the house for Christmas, and get out all of the movies and music that are “off limits” to the kids throughout other months of the year.  They have asked and are excited to again “Come and Listen” to the Christmas Story through the eyes of Hope and Max, Aunt Mo, and a creative visit to the manger.  I hope that your family will take the journey with us…
Come and Listen
From the Top
The words to this song are truly from my heart to yours.  Aunt Mo may be talking to the girls, but really, this is my hope for YOU.  We can learn so much from the people found in the Christmas Story.  They responded with immediate surrender when God called them, and that’s what I hope you will do too.
 Special Feature
“Come and see what God has done, the amazing things he has done for people.” ~ Psalm 66:5 (NCV)
“Children, come and listen to me.  I will teach you to worship the Lord.” ~ Psalm 34:11 (NCV)
Extreme Close-Up
Did you learn how to bake cookies while standing right next to Grandma? Have you ever sat close to your mom to read a new book?  Did your dad stand with his arms around you to teach you how to ride your bike or how to swing a baseball bat?  Does your teacher at school ever need you and your friends to gather in around her to look closely at an object during a science experiment?  Sometimes in order to learn something new, we have to get up-close and personal to the one who is teaching us.
The Great God of the Universe used a small group of very special people to gather us in and teach us. We’re going to take a closer look at some of those people, but before we do, I want to give you a challenge.  It’s easy to get caught up in the loud sounds and lights, the bells, and activities of Christmastime.  So stop.  Stop and listen closely to what God did in these men and women who took themselves off of the center stage of their own personal stories in order to allow a baby in a manger to be the main attraction.  You will learn by their examples that God has the same power to do great things today in the people who will put His story before their own.
A Great and Powerful God wanted all of us to draw close, and not be afraid.  A baby was born and who is afraid of a baby?  Can you imagine what it might have been like to look into the eyes of God through a tiny infant King?  Most people did not expect God to show up in that humble way.  The people who recognized Him in those little newborn eyes were the people whom He would use to change the world! 
In fact, by looking in, you’ll see how you can draw nearer to your Heavenly Father too.  It’s like when your best friend has a secret to tell you.  What do they do?  They draw you in closer.  Allow the LORD to invite you in, listen and learn of His Personal plan, and then go!  Share His Great News!  This news was never meant to remain a secret!
Brainstorm Session
·       Tell each other about a time when someone stood close beside you to help you.
·       Have you ever held a little baby?  What was that like?
·       Why do you think that God would come to the earth as a baby?
·       If you were to write a story for your life with you in the center, what might it be like?
·      How might that story change if your story became a small part of God’s BIG Story?
As you are rehearsing, learning these songs and practicing your parts, be sure that you really, really stop and listen to the Story.  God wants more than anything else to become personal to you and He just may have something extra-special to teach you.  iHope you will be listening.
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