Journal Offering wisdom and encouraging words

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Journal entries focus on the heart and motivation for World Christian parenting. Monthly articles written by key authors and ministry leaders offer wisdom and inspiration as you disciple your children and pursue intentionality in the midst of family life. Additional thoughts and devotionals written by Weave team members encourage you to draw near to Jesus for wisdom, strength, and grace as you navigate everyday realities and encounter situations you don’t feel equipped to deal with. Enlarge your vision for what God can do with ordinary families whose hearts and lives are yielded to Him.



Exploring traditions from other cultures is one way to expand your family’s view of the world and cultivate a heart for the peoples God loves. Learn about Setsubun (SEHT-soo-bun), an important annual holiday in Japan.

Setsubun is a popular festival celebrated across Japan. This year, it falls on February 3. Similar in its cultural association to the Lunar New Year in other Asian countries, Setsubun marks the beginning of the spring season. Most rituals and traditions focus on driving away the previous year’s bad fortunes and ushering in good fortune for the coming year.

Many Japanese people believe that misfortunes are caused by demons called oni (OH-nee). On Setsubun, people attempt to rid their homes of evil spirits by throwing open windows and doors. To prevent these spirits from returning, some families decorate a “holy tree” in front of their house with a head of a sardine, clove of garlic, or an onion. 

On Setsubun, families eat special sushi rolls, called eho maki (AY-hoh MAH-kee). These usually contain seven ingredients, representing the seven deities of good fortune. According to custom, you must eat the entire roll in one sitting, and never cut it into bite-sized pieces. This might cut into your good luck for the coming year.

Setsubun is commonly known as the Bean-Throwing Holiday. Beans, especially soybeans, are believed to be effective against evil spirits. At Buddhist temples during Setsubun, the monks shower crowds with soybeans. At school, the principal or teachers might wear a scary demon mask. Children laugh and pelt them with soybeans, chanting, “Out with the demons! In with good fortune!” 

A similar ritual takes place at home. In the evening, parents and children toss soybeans into the air while chanting, “fortune in and demons out.” Then, each family member eats the number of beans corresponding to his or her age, plus one additional bean. This is to ensure good luck and health in the coming year. Afterwards, all the beans are gathered from the floor since it is considered unlucky if a bean is forgotten and sprouts.


Compare beliefs associated with Setsubun to the truth of God’s Word. You will need:

-any type of dried beans

  1. Give each child a few beans to hold and inspect.
  2. Ask your children about them. What do they notice about these beans? What color are they? How do they feel and smell?
  3. Talk together about the purpose of beans. Can beans drive out evil spirits? Can they bring good luck? What can these beans do for people?
  4. Read two Bible stories where Jesus encounters demons/evil spirits: Mark 1:21-28 and Mark 5:2-20.
  5. Answer these questions together. Why were the demons afraid of Jesus? What did they call Jesus? What did Jesus say that caused the demons to leave a person? Why did the demons obey Jesus?
  6. Explain how Jesus’ actions in the two stories prove that He has power over demons. Discuss how Jesus uses this same power today, removing our sin and allowing us to be made new.
  7. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and spend time thanking God for Jesus’ divine power over sin and for how we are made new through faith in Him.
  8. Pray that Japanese families would come to trust in Jesus to take away their sins and give their lives a new beginning, not just on one special day, but every day.
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  1. Alicia,

    This is a great piece! So good to see what you are doing. I love it! May I suggest you attach a picture of yourself to the newsletter? People would like to see your lovely face and remind them of a person attached to this great information.

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