A Rising Star… Space-themed activities for family ministry

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I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. 
 Numbers 24:17
A guiding light…
Stars are quite fascinating things. In scientific terms, of course, they are technically big balls of glowing gas. But in history and in the Bible, they have played several significant roles. Abraham was told his descendants will be as numerous as the night stars (Genesis 12); the magi were guided by a special star (Matthew 2)… the ancients studied and mapped the stars. Runaway slaves were guided by the North Star…all of these star stories feature hope of great things to come. Stars shine brightest when surroundings are darkest.
So what stars bring us inspiration? Where do we look for joy and coming hope? We look to the Heavens. It is hard to see the stars without looking up. So we look up, up to the maker of the stars, whose light cannot be obscured by cloudy weather or city smog. We look to Christ, the central and most critical figure of all the stories of the Bible. Old Testament and New breathe His name and presence. He is the fulfillment of all prophecies, and of all our hopes and dreams.
Another scientific fact we know is that our sun is, in fact, a star as well. We see it the brightest because it is so near to the Earth. So, let us draw near to the Son. Let us dwell in the presence of His light, and allow it to shine through us. Look up!
It might be fun to include stars, or at least heavenly ideas, in your next activity for kids or family. Here are some to consider…
Consider the following Biblical references to stars…

  • God promised Abraham (multiple times) that he would increase his offspring and make them like the stars in the sky:
    I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b]all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.” -Genesis 22:15-18
  • He did away with the idolatrous priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem—those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts.
    -2 Kings 23:5
    God calls us to worship HIM, the maker of the skies…not the stars themselves…
  • God made everything in the first place!!!
    And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. -Gen. 1:14-19
  • To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. -Deuteronomy 10:14
  • “Can you bind the chains[b]of the Pleiades?
    Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
    32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons[c]
    or lead out the Bear[d] with its cubs?
    33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
    Can you set up God’s[e] dominion over the earth? -Job 38:31-33
    God has set the starry hosts in their place, and only HE controls them all.
  • He determines the number of the starsand calls them each by name.  -Psalm 147:4
  • “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:9

Here are some interesting astronomical activities:

  • Star-gazing social… this could be especially fun if there are important galactic events taking place (meteor shower, planet appearance, etc…). Have students or families meet ahead of time to look at pictures of constellations and sky charts; then use telescopes or just eyes to observe the night sky together. Ice cream sundae bar optional…
  • Star party…with or without a good darkness viewing, you can have a fun star-themed gathering, with fun crafts (see below), Bible stories (see above), decorations, and snacks!
  • Star sensory bin… create “galactic goop slime” with glue, liquid starch, and food coloring…add glitter to make for a squishy, celebratory adventure!
  • “Galaxy baking” is all the rage these days! Cookies, cakes, and even donuts have been getting galactic treatment…though low effort/low budget versions (think swirled frosting, sprinkles, Moon Pies, etc.) are just as fun and effective!

 
Starry crafts…
The sky is not the limit…it’s only the beginning! There are many fun space craft ideas for all ages, ranging in difficulty and ability level. Here are just a few to get the star twinkling…

  • Where am I in the galaxy? Make a map or flip book looking at your place in the room, town, state, country, globe, and solar system!
  • Space painting…use a paintbrush or a tooth brush dipped in paint, and gently flick it onto a dark colored paper to create a starry effect.
  • Constellation tracing and lacing: print or draw several constellations on paper or cards. Have participants connect the dots to observe the constellation, and then hole punch the “stars” element. Use yarn to string the picture together, too.
  • Use rocks and sidewalk chalk to create “constellations.”
  • Galaxy bowling: roll a “moon ball” into empty bottle “planets” or small round “stars.”
  • Use toothpicks and mini marshmallows and/or fruit to make up your own constellation.
  • Paint popsicle sticks and add glitter. Glue together in star shapes, and add a string to hang them up!
  • Mini telescopes…tape or rubber band secure small circles of black construction paper to the end of paper towel rolls. Poke tiny holes for “constellations” and look up at a light or the sun to make them shine.

Also consider: We are rather small…
The stars not only give us fun, hope, and entertaining light…they also provide perspective. In the grand scheme of things, the universe is an enormous place. The Milky Way galaxy is just a chunk of it, and the earth is but one planet, and our spot on that globe is just an itty bitty speck at the end of the day! Looking at outer space or thinking about its components helps us to remember that the world is a lot bigger than some of our felt struggles. We are a bit small, but God has put everything in space, including us. And even though He hung all of those stars…He still cares for each of us. That is really quite remarkable. Let us marvel in and enjoy His presence, as we appreciate His power and His love.

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