Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent for Kids: December 14- The Three Wise Men

Which two candles are we lighting tonight and what do they symbolize? Yes, the Prophesy candle symbolizing the hope for Jesus that the prophesies brought and the Bethlehem candle symbolizing our humble obedience to God’s big plans

This week we’ve talked about Zechariah, Elizabeth, John, Joseph, Mary, the Shephards, Simeon, and Anna. In addition to these special people, three wise men, also called “the three kings” or “the magi” noticed something strange when Jesus was born: they saw a star appear and knew that meant a new king had been born! So they began a long long journey to Jerusalem looking for a new king. When they got there a year or two later, they asked,

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” …  And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!  They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.           Matt 2:2, 9-11

When we give gifts to someone, we usually try to think of things they’d want or would use, right? Well, the gifts the wise men brought were significant: Gold is the perfect gift for a King, Frankincense is the perfect gift for a Priest and Myrrh, used in burials, is a perfect gift for someone who will die soon.  Jesus is our King and our Priest and he had to die on the cross to save us from our sins.

What gift can you give Jesus? (trust him, serve him, obey him, worship him…)

What gifts are you going to give other people at Christmas time?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent for Kids: December 13- Simeon and Anna

Which two candles are we lighting tonight and what do they symbolize? Yes, the Prophesy candle symbolizing the hope for Jesus that the prophesies brought and the Bethlehem candle symbolizing our humble obedience to God’s big plans

Most people didn’t know anything significant was happening when Jesus was born, but God told some special people about it. When Jesus was still a tiny baby, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem for the consecration ceremony, like God required for all first born boys. A man named Simeon was at the temple to. The Holy Spirit had told Simeon that he would not die until he had seen Jesus and the Holy Spirit told him to go to the Temple that day. (Luke 2:21-28) When Simeon saw baby Jesus, he prophesied, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”        Luke 2:29-35

A prophet named Anna was also at the Temple:

She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem. When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. Luke 2: 38-39

God had told both Simeon and Anna that Jesus would be born soon and they both believed God and waited patiently. They both got to play a role in Jesus’ birth because they listened for God's voice and obeyed when God spoke.  The Holy Spirit can speak to us and show us things that others cannot know or understand if we prepare listen and obey God.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Advent for Kids: December 12- The Shepherds

(photo by Rachel Miller)

(Here's a little bonus photo of my kids opening the advent calendar. They love it so much and I've been really impressed with how much my 4 year old is remembering! Let me know your experiences and suggestions!)

Which two candles are we lighting tonight and what do they symbolize? Yes, the Prophesy candle symbolizing the hope for Jesus that the prophesies brought and the Bethlehem candle symbolizing our humble obedience to God’s big plans

The last 4 night we read about Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Mary. Did you know other people got to be part of God’s plan to save the world?  Let’s read more about the day Jesus was born:

 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.  Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.     Luke 2:8-20

The shepherds trusted what the angles told them, even though it sounded a little strange. So they went to the sable and got to see the baby Jesus in the manger!

After the shepherds saw Jesus, they told other people what had happened and worshiped God for everything He had done. What wonderful things has God done for you? God wants us to tell everyone about the wonderful things God has done, just like the shepherds.

Advent for Kids: December 11- Jesus is Born

Which two candles are we lighting tonight and what do they symbolize? Yes, the Prophesy candle symbolizing the hope for Jesus that the prophesies brought and the Bethlehem candle symbolizing our humble obedience to God’s big plans

Do you remember the last three days’ stories? When Zechariah questions the angle, he became mute, but when he was obedient in naming his son, he was able to speak again. When Mary trusted God, God blessed her. There’s another important person who had to choose to be obedient: Joseph.

Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Joseph, her fiancĂ©, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” … When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. Matt 1:18-21, 24

Soon afterwards, the ruler of the land, decided to count how many people were living in his land, so he made a law that everyone had to return to the town of their ancestors while they were counting. Since Joseph was a descendant of King David, he took Mary, who was pregnant, and obediently traveled to Bethlehem. (Luke 2:1-5) Let’s read what happened when they got there:

 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. Luke 2:6-7

Joseph was humbly obedient to the instructions the angle gave him and as a result he got to be part of the birth of Jesus Christ!  Joseph and Mary were both obedient to the new law of their country, even though it meant Mary had to give birth in a manger

What is a manger? It’s a feeding trough. The manger was Jesus’ bed and we assume it was inside a barn or stable. Does that sound like a comfortable bed? Where do you think Joseph and Mary were sleeping? (in the hay maybe?) Does that sound comfortable?  Sometimes God asks us to do uncomfortable things. We may not really like it at the time, but later we’ll always be glad we did what God said.

Advent for Kids: December 10- John is Born

Which two candles are we lighting tonight and what do they symbolize? Yes, the Prophesy candle symbolizing the hope for Jesus that the prophesies brought and the Bethlehem candle symbolizing our humble obedience in His big plans

Do you remember the last two days’ stories? Yes, Gabriel Zechariah that he and his wife would have a baby, but when he didn’t respond with a spirit of humble obedience, he became mute. Then Gabriel told Mary she’d have baby Jesus. When she trusted God, God blessed her. Let’s read what happened next:

When it was time for Elizabeth’s baby to be born, she gave birth to a son. And when her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had been very merciful to her, everyone rejoiced with her. When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!” “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God. Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way. John 1:57-66

Was Zechariah obedient in naming his son? (yes) What happened when he was obedient? Yes, he could speak again and he began praising God and all his friends and neighbors were filled with awe! When we obey God, we sometimes get to be part of his big plans and experience miracles that fill everyone with awe! What miracles have you seen?

Advent for Kids: December 9- Gabriel talks to Mary

Which two candles are we lighting tonight? Yes, the Prophesy and Bethlehem candles. Do you remember what the Prophesy candle symbolizes? Right, hope! What helped the people in the bible to have hope? Yes, the prophesies.  Do you remember what a prophesy is? Yes, an announcement about the future. Good job!

Do you remember what the Bethlehem candle symbolizes? Right, humble preparation. This week we’re talking about humility and obedience.  God uses our obedience in small things to carry out his big plans

Do you remember yesterday’s story? Yes, an angle told Zechariah that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a baby! But Zechariah didn’t respond with a spirit of humble obedience, so the angle made Zechariah unable to talk.

A few months later, God also the angle Gabriel to tell Mary that she would soon give birth to baby Jesus, who would save the world from sin, just like God promised. Let’s read about what happened:

 Gabriel appeared to [Mary] and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. Luke 1:28-38?

A few days later Mary went to visit Elizabeth and Zechariah. Elizabeth told her:
 “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.  Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Luke 1:42-45
Just like Zechariah, Elizabeth, and their son John were part of God’s plan to save us from our sins, Mary was also part of the plan. Did Mary respond to Gabriel with humble obedience? (Yes) What happened then? (God blessed her)

Being Obedient to God makes us happy and joyful. What things were you obedient to yesterday? What will you be obedient to today? Doesn’t it feel good to be obedient?

(Optional: Read Mary’s song in John 1:46-55)