I don’t think I could ever tire of Advent. It is such a unique time of year in the church, full of traditions, remembrance, and songs that remind us of our Savior’s birth. I trust that your Advent started off as well as ours did here at Fillmore. Last week, our theme was “Repent” and we talked about preparing our hearts for Christmas and for Jesus’ birth here on earth. This week, our theme is “Proclaim.” This is where we’ll delve into the traditional Christmas story, starting with the angel’s messages to Mary and Joseph. Though these verses are ingrained in our memories from years of hearing it told, the angel’s message must have been pretty confusing to Mary and Joseph, at least at first. This lesson focuses on that message and obeying, even when what God is telling us seems confusing.
Goal: Today we will learn that we should always obey God, even when His message seems confusing.
Key Scripture: “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.’” – Luke 1:30-31
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Device to play a YouTube video
- 2 Bibles
- 2 large cut-outs of trumpets
- Slips of paper
- Paper horn template for each child
Introduction: Ask the children if they have ever felt confused. Talk about what it feels like to be confused. Explain that sometimes directions can be confusing, like the directions that a girl named Cayti’s received one morning. Show this video of Cayti, a girl whose parents wake her up early one morning, show her a video, then ask her to read and follow clues out to the garage, where they reveal that they are taking her to Disney! After the video, talk about what might have happened if Cayti decided not to listen to the confusing directions her parents gave to her. She might not have gone to Disney! Explain that there are some people in the Bible, Mary and Joseph, who received some confusing messages from God and chose to obey anyway.
Lesson: Form two groups and give each a Bible, a large cut-out of a trumpet, and some markers. Have one group read Luke 1:28-35 and the other read Matthew 1:20-24. Have each group sum up the angel’s message and how Mary and Joseph reacted to it on their trumpet. Have each group share what they have written on their trumpet.
Ahead of time, write the following sentence with each word on a separate piece of paper (make two sets, one for each group): You are going to do an amazing thing that will help the world love God. Seal each piece of paper in a separate envelope. Say: “The angel’s message may have sounded confusing at first to Mary and Joseph. Let’s see how we feel when we get a message that’s a little confusing.” Pass out the envelopes. Have kids open the envelopes and work together to make a sentence out of the words. Don’t offer any help unless several minutes have gone by and kids are still struggling.
Discuss the following questions as a group:
- What was confusing as you tried to put together the message?
- What do you think made the angel’s message to Mary and Joseph so confusing?
- Which rules in your life or commands from the Bible seem confusing to you?
Say: “Mary and Joseph both seemed a little confused by the angel’s message. But both obeyed anyway. Mary and Joseph show us that even when we’re confused, we still obey God, because He has incredible things in store!”
Conclusion: Distribute a paper horn template to each child (These are readily available online). Explain that this paper horn can serve as a reminder for what they have learned today. Explain that they should decorate the horn with pictures or words that help them to remember what we learned today (i.e. an angel, the word “obey,” etc.). After coloring, the children can cut out the horn and tape it into shape. As the children are decorating their horns, talk about the reminders that different children have chosen to include on their horn and how those reminders can be helpful to everyone.
Note: Some of the content for this lesson was taken from the November/December 2012 edition of Children’s Ministry magazine.