Focal verse

“God created humans in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).


I recently taught a confirmation class on the creation story. To dig into it, I invited the youth to write down all the things they could think of that were good. I told them to keep writing, not to lift up their pens, and to list as many things—big and small—that felt good to them. When it was time to share our lists, many good things overlapped: family, friends, being outside, sports, food, the fall leaves. Once we finished sharing, I asked one question: Did anyone include themselves on the list? I met their eyes and saw surprise and many heads shaking. Not one had added their name to their list of good things.

We continued with our reading of Genesis 1, and when we got to the verse where God creates humans in God’s image, I stopped and reminded my students that this is our story. We are made in God’s image, and we are declared good. No matter how we feel about ourselves or what others tell us, God created us good. This truth forever belongs to us. My students and I ended our time together blessing one another with the sign of the cross and the reminder that we are created in God’s image and God loves us.

As a parent, I want my children to know their goodness and to see the goodness of others too. Created in God’s image, we don’t need to do anything to earn God’s love or goodness. We are good. Our children are good. God is good. Tuck this truth into your hearts and share it with your children—blessing them in the morning and evening, writing notes of love to them and sharing over and over that they are created in God’s image.


  • Read the creation story together as a family.
  • Make your own “good” list as a family and be sure to include yourselves.
  • Read together books that lift up creation and God’s love for people. Two great recent board books are Glenys Nellist’s Good News! It’s Creation! and Good News! God Loves You! (Our Daily Bread, 2022).

Service opportunity

Make “good news” baskets for friends and family. Invite friends to help you fill a basket with notes of encouragement, baked goods, books and written prayers. Leave them with neighbors, church members or anyone going through a hard time.


We pray for peace across the world and for peace in our hearts.

We pray for youth who feel bullied and alone.

We pray for counselors and teachers.

We give thanks for the beauty of creation.

We give thanks for friends and family who remind us we’re good.

We give thanks for tables at which we can gather and offer our gratitude.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers. Amen.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, spouse of an ELCA pastor and co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is

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