Usually, I don’t post my lesson plans until I have already tried them out. After all, I wouldn’t want to steer you wrong with a flop of an activity or lesson! This Advent season, though, I’ll be doing something a little different. Sometime mid-week I will post the lesson that I plan to teach on Sunday, because I’m sure you’ll be looking for Advent lesson ideas too! We can do a little learning together and see what works well and what might need some tweaking. With that being said, here is a lesson idea for the first Sunday of Advent under the theme “Repent.”
Goal: Today we will learn to ask for forgiveness of our sins as we prepare our hearts for Christmas.
Key Scripture: “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” – Isaiah 40:3
- Several ribbons of various colors, tangled
- Poster with lyrics to “We Are Ready”
Introduction: Display the mass of tangled ribbons and say: “I have lots of Christmas presents to wrap, but look at this mess!” Ask: “Why won’t the ribbons work like this?” Briefly discuss. Have the kids work as a team to untangle the ribbons, then lay the ribbons in straight lines on the floor.
Lesson: Explain that Isaiah was an Old Testament prophet who announced events and helped people prepare for what was coming. Read Isaiah 40:3 aloud. Explain that just they had untangled and straightened out the ribbons, but Isaiah was talking about “straightening” out our hearts to prepare for Jesus’ arrival on earth. Explain that sin can tangle up our hearts.
- What are some ways your heart can get tangled up like these ribbons?
- How can we untangle our heart from sin?
Using a ribbon, create a straight line about 6 feet long. Have the children stand in a circle around the ribbon and ask them if they think they could walk along the line in 10 seconds without stepping off. Ask a volunteer to try it out. As the volunteer comes forward, explain that there is a trick – before attempting to walk across the line, the volunteer must spin around 10 times. Carefully spin the first volunteer, then allow him or her to try to walk across in the allotted time without stepping off the line. Let each child have a chance to try.
After everyone has had a turn, discuss the following questions;
- What did you think when I first asked if you could walk on the line?
- How did your thoughts change when I told you that you would have to spin around first?
Explain that just like we cannot walk on the line after spinning around without falling off, we also cannot earn God’s forgiveness. Read 1 John 1:9. Explain that all we have to do to be forgiven is to ask God. Then, He can help us straighten out our hearts.
Conclusion: Pray with the children to ask Jesus to untangle our hearts and prepare us for Christmas.
Sing the song “We Are Ready” to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?” Have a poster with the lyrics available.
We are waiting, we are watching
(Put hands around eyes like goggles)
For Jesus to be born, for Jesus to be born
(Pretend to swaddle a baby)
In a manger, in a stable
(Pretend to place baby in a manger)
Hope and pray, hope and pray
We are ready, we are ready
(Hold hands with one another)
For Christmas Eve, For Christmas Day
(Point hands together in a tree shape)
Come, Lord Jesus; come, Lord Jesus
(Fold hands over heart)
For us all, for us all
(Extend hands out to one another)
Note: Some of the content for this lesson was taken from the November/December 2012 edition of Children’s Ministry magazine.