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As a One New Man Believer, you want to teach kids about Shavuot and what it means for them. Shavuot was one of the three pilgrim feasts when the Lord instructed Israelite men to go and worship at the Temple (Passover and Sukkot are the other two). This tells us that Shavuot is an important time on God’s divine calendar. Pentecost was the day the Holy Spirit came.
Shavuot and Pentecost | The Relationship
Shavuot is the birthday of the nation of Israel. It was when God gave Israel the Torah. His divine instruction was given on Mount Sinai as to how His nation should respond to and have a relationship with Him. It was a gift that released many blessings.
Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. This happened on the same day in history, more than 1,300 years later. It was the day Jesus told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promised gift. This gift of promise was the Holy Spirit. Again, the Spirit of God was released upon a group of people who awaited instruction—similar to the event at Mount Sinai.
Why Teach Kids About Shavuot?
When you teach kids about Shavuot and Pentecost, it helps them connect to their spiritual heritage and see God’s divine hand in all of creation. They can see that nothing is by accident, and all things align with His Word and promises.
Teaching kids about Shavuot and Pentecost brings the reality of their heritage and past into the present. It brings God’s Word and His promises alive in a way that they begin to see and experience the God of the Bible rather than only reading about Him as a distant King in a far-off land. They understand Him as a personal God who wants a personal relationship with them.
7 Ways to Teach Kids About Shavuot
Now that you know why it is important to teach kids about Shavuot and Pentecost, let’s look at a variety of ways to do that…
- Eat fun foods!
- Traditionally, dairy foods are eaten at Shavuot—foods such as cheesecake and fresh fruit, ice cream, and cheesy lasagna. Other fun foods include challah bread (see below), cakes and cookies, and cream-filled crepes or blintzes. Since Shavuot and Pentecost are “birthdays” for the nation of Israel and the Church, have fun making a birthday cake and let the kids decorate it, using it as an object lesson to talk about the historical events.
- Make challah bread!
- Challah bread is a traditional braided yeast bread. Many people eat it at Shabbat dinner. You can make it and eat it during Shavuot too. The braid, being in three parts, represents the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Challah bread is an excellent way to get your kids involved in an activity that teaches them about the triune God who continues to provide direction and instruction for our lives.
- Stay up all night!
- This might not be a parent’s favorite way to observe Shavuot, but it is part of the Jewish tradition. It is customary for Jews to stay up all night studying the Torah. For Believers, this could be a night of staying up and playing games that focus on God’s Word, reading scriptures, and worshipping.
- Focus on the Word.
- Whether you decide to stay up all night or not, focusing on God’s Word is always a wonderful way to teach kids about Shavuot. Shavuot and Pentecost were turning points for Israel and the Church. Focusing on how and when God provides His instruction helps kids better understand His voice and how He desires to be active in their lives. Teach kids about Shavuot’s connection with Pentecost by reading and discussing Acts 2.
- Speak blessings and the Word!
- “Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has set us apart by Your commandments and has commanded us concerning the counting of the sheaf,” is a common blessing spoken during Shavuot. Jesus spoke about the promised Helper who would come and remind His followers of truth and teach them about God. Take Jesus’ words in John 14:15-16 and turn them into a blessing prayer to speak over your kids.
- Talk with them about blessings following God’s instruction.
- As parents, we know instruction and direction provide protection. This makes sense to us, but not always to our kids. When we teach kids about Shavuot, it is an excellent opportunity to talk about the blessing of God’s protection and provision. Use Peter’s example in Luke 5:5 about following Jesus’ instruction to lower the nets. This is a passage that can open up the conversation. You could make a game from this, too. Have your kids cover their eyes and follow your instruction that will lead them to a prize or a certain room in your home.
- Read a children’s book about Shavuot.
- We know kids need a variety of ways to learn and consume information. When we read a children’s book about Shavuot that tells the story at Mount Sinai and connects it to the Spirit’s empowerment at Pentecost, it takes the guesswork out of it for parents. Books that contain crafts about both moments in history help them see the power of Jew and Gentile coming together as One New Man in Yeshua.
3 Bible Verses to Teach Your Kids About Shavuot and Pentecost
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a noise came from heaven. It sounded like a strong wind blowing. This noise filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw something that looked like flames of fire… They were all filled with the Holy Spirit…”—Acts 2:1-3,4 (ICB)
“Mount Sinai was covered with smoke. This happened because the Lord came down on it in fire. The smoke rose from the mountain like smoke from a furnace. And the whole mountain shook wildly.”—Exodus 19:18 (ICB)
“You came down to Mount Sinai. You talked to our ancestors from heaven. You gave them fair rules and true teachings. You gave them good orders and commands.”—Nehemiah 9:13 (ICB)
To teach kids about Shavuot, you need ideas and resources. When you dive into a journey that connects them to their spiritual heritage, the harvest will be abundant! Helping your kids see the connection between Shavuot and Pentecost, getting them actively learning by engaging their mind and body, and using God’s Word as the foundation will set the stage for them to grow in deeper knowledge and understanding in the years to come.
Teach kids about Shavuot and leave a legacy that lasts.