Thursday, November 18, 2010
- Gather your children and present a large wrapped box with a removable lid (keep the lid on for today, unless you want to show them wrapped gifts inside the box).
- Explain that each day in December you will get a present out of this "Christmas Adventure Box" and talk about how that present reminds us of Jesus.
- Tell them that this large wrapped present reminds you of the Greatest Gift ever given.
- Read John 3:16.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
- Talk about the biggest gift in the history of time, God's gift to us in Jesus.
- Tell about when you received Jesus as a gift and made him Lord of your life.
- Share the gospel story with your children, giving them a chance to receive this Greatest Gift.
- Pray with your children, thanking God for the gift of Jesus. Thank God for the season of Advent and the anticipation of the celebration of Jesus. Ask Him to bless each day as you experience this Christmas Adventure Box!
- Read Luke 2:1-4.
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David."
- Let your children unwrap the Skittles.
- Divide the candy so that each child has a handful. Make extra groupings if you are working with one or two children.
- Explain that Caesar Augustus, in the time of Jesus, wanted to have a "census" to simply count the people.
- Have each child count the pieces of candy in their own pile(s).
- Label your piles with names of cities if you like...giving one the name of "Bethlehem."
- Label each color of Skittles a city name as well, using the same city names given to the piles.
- Instruct all the green colored Skittles to travel to the city designated as "home" to the green candies. Separate all the colors, having them "travel" to their own cities until the candies are all separated into piles or "cities" of the same color.
- Now, count each pile again, noting how many more or less each "city" has.
- Explain that the census was Caesar Augustus' way of counting the people in his country. Also explain that this census played an important role in orchestrating the birth of Christ to take place in Bethlehem, as promised.
- Thank God for making special plans to keep His promise. Thank God for Joseph and Mary's safe trip to Bethlehem. Ask God to keep you safe as you travel over the holidays.
*Wrap the stable and animals (except the sheep...save those for December 6) for today's gift.
- Read Luke 2: 5-7.
"He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them."
- Pass out the gifts to be unwrapped and let the children open them.
- Remind your children why Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem (The census discussion from December 2nd should help.)
- Ask your children, "Where would we have to travel if we were told to go to the hometown of our dad?"
- Talk about how busy the town would be today if you actually had to travel back with everyone else from that same town. (Equate it to a festival there, or a time when many go back to visit.)
- Ask your children where everyone would stay if that were to happen. We don't have stables today, but would Joseph and Mary's situation today mean they would have stayed in their car in a hotel parking lot or in someone's garage?
- Discuss that Joseph and Mary were back in Joseph's hometown and it was very crowded.
- Talk about their situation and the open stable that was offered to them. Discuss the sights, sounds and smells of such a place.
- Pray with your family. Thank God for giving Joseph and Mary a place to stay. Thank God for Christmas and ask God to teach you more about Him this season.
*Today's gifts are the unbreakable nativity figurines of Joseph and Mary.
- Read Luke 1: 30-33.
"But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.'"
- Give your children the gifts to open.
- Explain how God's people were given promises about a king who would "reign in the house of Jacob forever." (This phrase is also found in Isaiah 9:7)
- Explain also how Old Testament prophets told of the birth of this King through special circumstances (by a virgin, Isaiah 7:14).
- Talk about the way God kept promises through the birth of Jesus. He kept his promise with Mary too.
- Think of a time when you knew God kept a promise to you (Duet. 31:6 will help).
- Pray with your family, thanking God for always keeping His promises.
- Read Luke 2:6-7.
"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them."
- Choose a child to unwrap the figurine of baby Jesus.
- Remind your children about the activity surrounding the stable from a few days ago. Talk again about the sights, sounds and smells of a stable.
- Ask the children how Joseph and Mary must have felt, knowing that the promised King would be born in a stable.
- Share the stories of the births of each of your children and how they were different from the birth of Jesus.
- Pray with your family. Thank God for the birth of Jesus Christ, the promised King. Thank God for the birth of each child in your family.
*For today's gift, wrap the shepherds, sheep and angels from your unbreakable nativity set.
- Give the children the figurines to unwrap.
- Read Luke 2:8-20 and let the children use the figurines as puppets to "act out" the events of this passage.
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people
13 Suddenly a great company of
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread
- Afterward, talk about the excitement the shepherds felt about this big news they were able to share.
- Think of a time in your family when you were excited to share some big news (perhaps the news of a new baby).
- Use the example of your excitement to share "big news" to help understand how excited the shepherds were to share the news of Jesus' birth.
- Pray with your family. Thank God for the shepherds and the angels and all the excitement surrounding the birth of baby Jesus. Thank God for the feelings of excitement your family has experienced. Ask God to give your family excitement to share the story of Jesus with others.