Ladies and gents, we have arrived at the third Sunday of Advent. Over the past few weeks, we have covered the themes of repentance and proclamation and now we will spend time on the theme of preparation as we explore Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and Jesus’ birth. This Sunday will be unique as we have the privilege of having a young group of puppeteers with us. They have made their own puppets and will be sharing the Christmas story with the kids, using Scripture passages from Matthew and Luke as their script. I’ve seen one of their rehearsals and look forward to seeing the final production this Sunday!
Goal: Today we will learn that God keeps his promises.
Key Scripture: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” – Micah 5:2
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Puppet stage (or fabric draped between two chairs)
- Nativity sticker sets (similar to this one), one for each child
Introduction: Read Luke 2:1-2 aloud. Explain that Mary and Joseph had to travel very far to participate in the census. Tell the children that a census is a way to count people and find out information about them. Say: “Let’s have our own census right now! You’ll have to travel a little for our census too. I’ll give you some choices and then I’ll point to a section of the room. You’ll travel to the section that describes you.”
Read the following directions, telling kids a different way to ravel each time, such as pretending they are an airplane or galloping like a horse. Point to a different side of the room for each option.
- If you have three or more siblings, go to this side. If you have two or fewer siblings, go to that side.
- If your trip to church is less than five minutes, go to this side. If it’s more than five minutes, go to that side.
- If your birthday is in January through June, go to this side. If it’s July through December, go to that side.
- If you’ve always lived in the same house, go to this side. If you’ve ever moved, go to that side.
- If you have ten or more cousins, go to this side. If you have nine or fewer cousins, go to that side.
Gather the kids back together. Ask:
- What made our census tiring like Mary and Joseph’s journey?
- What made our census easier than theirs?
Explain that when we do a census now, we don’t have to travel. But Mary and Joseph’s trip was really important because it made something God promised long ago come true. Read Micah 5:2 aloud. Explain that long before Jesus was born, the prophet Micah said he’d be born in Bethlehem. And because of the census, that’s where Jesus was born! Review the trumpets that the kids made last week. Remind them that just like the angel promised Mary and Joseph that they would have a son, Jesus, so God had been promising for many years that Jesus would come to earth. Emphasize that God keeps his promises.
Lesson: Have the children gather for a puppet show of the Christmas story. Throughout the show, point out promises that God makes or has made and how those promises are fulfilled.
Conclusion: Present each child with a nativity sticker set. Review the story as each child recreates the Christmas story using the stickers.
Note: Some of the content for this lesson was taken from the November/December 2012 edition of Children’s Ministry magazine.