Celebrate Words!

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Did you know that today is the anniversary of the debut of the Oxford English Dictionary? Not the entire dictionary – just the first part.

Seriously – what a great reason to celebrate – God’s gift to us … words!

Why not have a word party at your house today? (Alphabet pasta for dinner?  Alphabet pretzels? Cake with words on top?) Play a game of Scrabble or other word game. Or, see how many activities you can do today that start with a different word of the alphabet like  Asking questions, Ball playing, Coloring, Diving to soccer, etc.

And then share some facts about the Oxford English dictionary  with your kids.

  1. The writers thought it would take ten years to write it – but it took forty and that was just the first portion.
  2. The writers thought it would be four volumes  – but it took ten. (And later editions even more. Future editions will be found only online.)
  3. The first dictionary included more than 400,000 words – now there are thousands and thousands more.
  4. The longest word is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis – a lung disease.
  5. Much of the research was done by a man named William Chester Minor – who did his work from a mental hospital where he had been confined for inappropriate behavior and a possible murder. The dictionary committee would send Mr. Minor a list of words and he would read until he found one of the words written in a sentence for them to use as an example. He is considered one of the major contributors.

But as you’re celebrating words – take it all a little further. The largest entry in the dictionary is for the word “set” because of its multitude of meanings. (Some report that the dictionary has 464 different definitions for the word set – I didn’t count them myself.)

With your children (or class) see how many you can come up with:

For example –

Set the table.

The sun sets in the West.

I am waiting for the pudding to set.

Don’t forget to set the clock.

Set up for the party.

After he received the inheritance, he was set for life.

I bought a set of books.

The Bible also has many instances where the word set is used in different ways. Many are familiar verses. Have fun talking about them with your kids on your Word Celebration day!

Genesis 1:17 – And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. (Isn’t that mind-boggling to think of God setting the sun and moon in place? I like thinking about that. Don’t you?)

Genesis 9:13 – I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Again, a mind-boggling thought to think of God setting the rainbow in place.

Psalm 18:33 – For who is God, but the Lord?
    And who is a rock, except our God?—
the God who equipped me with strength
    and made my way blameless. 
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
    and set me secure on the heights. (God sets us in a place of security.)

Colossians 3:2 – Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (A very familiar verse – where the Lord tells us where we’re to set our minds.)

1 Timothy 4:12 – Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (A familiar verse and a great verse and a good reminder as you end your day of word celebration.)

Set up a celebration today focused on the word set! 

Thank God for the gift of words.

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