Animal Christmas Tales

Categories: Children's Church

christmas

A 3-week Christmas series adapted from Children Ministry Deals’ “Manger Tales”.

Topics include:

  • Week 1: Donkey’s Story – Mary & Joseph (Matt 1:18-25)
  • Week 2: Cow’s Story – Jesus’ Birth (Luke 2:1-7)
  • Week 3: Sheep’s Story – Angels & Shepherds (Luke 2:8-20)

 

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Star Watch: Our Faith Awakens

Categories: Children's Church

Our children church 2016 Christmas presentation … with the flavour of the month.

Enjoy!

 
Star Watch: Our Faith Awakens

Christmas: Simeon and Anna meet Jesus (Luke 2:22-40)

Categories: Children's Church

1. STORY: Simeon and Anna meet Jesus (Luke 2:22-40)

  • We’ve learnt of how prophet Isaiah foretold the birth of Jesus, and how shepherds and wise men came to worship Him.
  • Shepherds and Wise Men aren’t the only ones who got to meet the baby Jesus and experience the love and power of God face-to-face. There were others.
  • The Bible recounts that when Jesus was still a baby, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated to the Lord, in accordance with Jewish custom.

2.  LESSON:

  • God Promised a Saviour
    • God’s Word teaches us about His promise to send the Savior and how His promises came true.  The Bible gives us the rest of the story of this baby.  Jesus grew up and lived a perfect life obeying God’s laws.  He died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day.  When a person believes by faith that Jesus died in his/her place their sins are forgiven.
    • Just as Simeon had faith that God would keep His promise that he would see the Savior before he died we have faith that what Jesus did to save us from our sins over 2000 years ago is true.  None of us were living when Jesus did this for us.  We believe it even though we didn’t see it. Once we believe by faith that Jesus is our Savior we need to live our lives day by day by faith.  We need to read and obey God’s Word so we can know how to live and trust His promises even when we don’t understand.
  • God Promised Jesus will come again

    • Did you know that if you are a follower of Christ, we are waiting for something God has promised but has not happened yet?  God has promised that one day Jesus is going to come back and take all who believe in Him back with Him to heaven.  This is an exciting promise for those who believe in Jesus because at any moment believers could hear the trumpet of God and in a twinkling of an eye go up to meet Jesus in the air and live forever with Him. (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
    • Simeon and Anna both believed that God would send the Savior and waited for Him to keep His promise.  All who believe God’s promise for Jesus’ return believe He will come back one day and are waiting for that promise to come true.  How are you and I going to wait for that promise?
    • Let’s be like Simeon and Anna and live with an attitude of worship and obeying God every day.  Let’s have an attitude of praising Him and thanking Him for all that He has done and will do for us as we believe Him by faith.  (Hebrews 11:13)

3. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

I’m gonna shout out

I’m gonna not cry

I’m gonna sing loud

I’m telling you why

Jesus Christ is coming again

 

He’s written my name

In His book of Life

Died for us all, the naughty and nice

Jesus Christ is coming again

 

He loves you when you’re sleeping

He loves you when you’re awake

He loves you when you’re bad or good

So be good for Jesus’ sake.

 

  • Memory Verse: Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” 
  • Sharing: Get kids to take turns sharing what they can thank God for this past year

Christmas: The wise men bring gifts for Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12)

Categories: Children's Church

1. STORY: The wise men bring gifts for Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12)

  • Last week we learned about how the angels told the shepherds about the birth of baby Jesus. They brought good news of great joy! And the shepherds went joyfully to welcome the baby.
  • Today, we learn about how some people came all the way from far, far away to meet the child Jesus, bringing very special gifts. 
  • Let’s read together Matthew 2:1-12 
  • Paraphrased version for younger kids:
    Far away in the East, three clever men saw the very same star. The star that God had put in the sky when Jesus was born. They knew it was a sign. A baby king had been born. “He’s here!” they shouted. At dawn, they packed up their camels and wrapped gifts for the baby. They brought their most precious treasures of all: frankincense, gold and myrhh. The three wise men rode their camels, across the endless deserts, up steep mountains, through raging rivers, over grassy plains, night and day, day and night, for hours that turned into day, that turned into weeks, that turned into months and months until at last, they reached … Jerusalem. They went to see King Herod. Surely he’d know where this baby was. But he didn’t. In fact, he didn’t like the sound of a new king — it made him angry. He didn’t want anyone to be king, except him. But Herod’s advisors told the three wise men what was written in their books – what God had said about the baby king. “Go to Bethlehem. That’s where you’ll find him.” Suddenly the star they had seen in the East started moving again, showing them the way, Sure enough, the star led them to baby Jesus. The three men knelt before the little King.

 

2. LESSON:

  • How many wise men came to visit Jesus? Allow kids to answer
  • Actually the Bible doesn’t say how many there were. But there were 3 gifts mentioned, so it’s commonly assumed that there were 3 wise men.
  • The gifts that the wisemen gave Jesus were not the typical baby gifts, e.g. diapers, milk powder, clothes. In fact, they were very, very strange gifts — gold, frankincense and myrrh.
  • These gifts were prophetic in nature. Even though the wisemen may not have realized it then, but the gifts spoke about Jesus’ life and death.
    • Gold: symbol of Kingship — Jesus is KING and GOD
    • Frankincense: used in temple worship — Jesus lived a HOLY and RIGHTEOUS life
    • Myrrh: used to embalm the dead — Jesus was born to DIE for us so that you and I can live! 
  • Conclusion:
    • The wisemen brought gifts for Jesus. We all love to receive gifts at Christmas, don’t we?
    • That first Christmas day, we had the biggest and greatest gift in the world! His name was Jesus.
    • Jesus came to die and give us His life. When we have Jesus, we have all that He has to offer — His peace, His love, His joy, His health, His favor, His goodness, His holiness. When we have Jesus, we have everything!
    • This Christmas season, with all the beautiful and wonderful presents we’ve received, let’s take some time to remember that it’s all about Jesus — the best present of all!

 

3. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

  • Song: Best present of all 
  • Related Craft with words “Jesus is the best present of all”
  • Game: Pass the parcel with various tasks/rewards and the word JESUS in the present box. You can put cards/bookmarks with the words “Peace”, “Love”, “Joy”, “Health” etc in the various layers, and summarise by saying “When you have Jesus, you have everything”.

Christmas: The angels bring good news of great joy (Luke 2:4-20)

Categories: Children's Church

1. STORY: The angels bring good news of great joy (Luke 2:4-20)

  • Last week we learned about how, 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah already told the people of Israel about the coming King.
  • Today, we fast forward to the day when Jesus — God the Son — came to earth as a tiny, helpless baby.
  • This long-awaited Savior — the Forever King — has been born in the sleepy little town of Bethlehem.
  • Let’s read together Luke 2:4-20
  • Luke 2:4-20 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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 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.
  • Song: Away in the Manger
  • And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
    Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
  • 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.”
    So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

 

2. LESSON:

  • Two thousand years ago, the angels invited the shepherds to meet this newborn king. The shepherds accepted the invitation: laying down their staffs and leaving their flocks behind. They knew that what awaited them was more important than anything they were leaving. They went to see a baby lying in a manger, born to give His life for the world.
  • Today, we are given a similar invitation to meet Jesus. This time to see a Risen Saviour, who died on the cross for our sins and who rose again, victorious over death!
  • Jesus is the reason for Christmas — He is the most important present of all! Jesus came to give us life, hope and joy. He came to give us victory over sin and death. He came to give us good news of great joy!
  • The Holy Spirit calls to us to meet Jesus. Let us go!
  • Give kids opportunity to accept Jesus into their hearts. Pray with them.

 

3. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS

  • Memory Verse: Luke 2:11-12 Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
  • Activity/game or related craft with memory verse

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Christmas: Isaiah tells of the Coming King (Isaiah 9:2-7)

Categories: Children's Church

1. STORY: Isaiah tells of the Coming King (Isaiah 8:2-7)

Christmas is coming soon. When we talk about Christmas, some people think of gifts under the tree, some think about Santa Claus and his reindeer, some think about Christmas carols or twinkling lights or holidays.

All of those things are great, but most of us know that the real reason for Christmas is Jesus. Christmas is where we celebrate and remember the birth of Jesus. It’s a time where we can stop and think about how much God must love us if he was willing to send us his Son. That’s a pretty great thing to think about.

Today, we’re going to go back a long, long, long, long time ago to the city of Jerusalem — about 700 years before Jesus was born.

We live in city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem used to be the main city in the powerful kingdom of Israel. We’ve been learning about a famous king of Jerusalem. What’s his name? David

King David loved God. When he was king, Israel followed God’s way. But after King David, there were many, many other kings who weren’t so good. They stopped following God; so the people also stopped following God. And they got into all kinds of trouble. They were attacked by their enemies and the nation split into 2.

So … Jerusalem at that time was not a happy place to live. The people’s hearts were frozen and hard. They were sad and scared. They felt like they were alone. It seemed like God had abandoned them.

But the good news is, God never abandons His people … even when they reject Him and don’t want to listen to Him.

God sends a prophet named Isaiah to us. A prophet is a man or woman who delivers a message from God. And the message Isaiah gives us is this: God loves you. And because He loves you, He wants you to have hope. He wants you to turn your frozen heart into a heart of love. And the best news of all: God will send the world his Son, a new king who will rule forever. The Savior of the world.

That’s Jesus. Here are some of the words Isaiah spoke describing Jesus to the people who had never met him:

Read Isaiah 9:2-7.

 

2. LESSON:

Isaiah tells us that we have been walking in darkness (like a cold, frozen land, where there’s no sun light). It’s hard to know where to go when the way is dark. But he describes meeting Jesus as “seeing a great light.” Isaiah uses many words to describe Jesus. He calls him a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

  • The people of Judah were looking for a new king. A strong and powerful King who would protect them from their enemies. God had promised David that He will give Israel a forever King. Jesus was this forever King. God let the Israelites know, through Isaiah, that Jesus would be their Prince of Peace.
  • In most kingdoms, the regular people can’t just go up to the king anytime they want. But Isaiah tells us that Jesus is our Counselor. That means we can come to him anytime we want and talk to him, share our troubles, seek his help.
  • Isaiah also tells us that Jesus is our Mighty God. Jesus is a strong king who can handle any problem we bring to him and can help us through every scary time that we face. The words Everlasting Father remind us that we are God’s children and Jesus’ love for us will never end.
  • Isaiah delivered a pretty terrific message to the people. It was a message that they really needed to hear. The people were sad and afraid. They needed hope. They needed to know that God loved them. They needed to know that Jesus was coming.
  • Sometimes we’re sad and afraid too. We might feel hopeless. We might need reminding that God loves us. When those times come, we can always turn to Jesus for comfort, strength, love, and peace. Jesus can turn our frozen hearts into hearts of love.

Dear God, Thank you for sending people into our lives that tell us about Jesus. May the message of Christmas give us hope and peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

3. Activity Suggestion

  • Memory Verse: Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
  • Game: Print out 2 sets of the memory verse on 2 different neon coloured paper. Cut them up  and hide around the hall. Divide kids into 2 groups. Turn off lights and give each group 1 flashlight. They have to search for their group’s coloured paper then arrange the memory verse in correct order.
  • Christmas-themed craft with memory verse. E.g. Stick the words “Counselor”, “Mighty God”, “Everlasting Father”, “Prince of Peace” on a Christmas tree picture.      

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Jesus is the best present

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK: Christmas present

  • Can anyone tell me what is special day is this coming Wednesday? Yes, it’s Christmas! How many of you are happy or excited that it’s Christmas? Ask the children to share why they look forward to celebrating Christmas.
  • (You may also wish to wrap up one gift which you plan to give the children and say that “I have a present for all of you – can you guess what it is?”. Let them guess, and distribute after the lesson.)
  • For those families who celebrate Christmas, the children usually also look forward to Christmas because they like receiving presents. How many of you like receiving presents?
  • But whether people celebrate Christmas or not, whether they know Jesus or not, there is one present that has been given to everyone, old or young, no matter what background, race or religion which is the BEST present of all. Can you guess what it is?
  • The Bible says that God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Who is the one and only Son whom God gave to us? Jesus. The best present is Jesus!!

 

2. LESSON: Jesus is the best present

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  • Jesus is the best present we can have because:
    • He gives us eternal life. Anyone who believes in Jesus will not die but will have eternal life (John 3:16). We don’t have to worry where we will go after our life on this earth is over. We know that for those of us who accepted Jesus as their saviour, when we leave this earth, we will go to heaven, a wonderful place that Jesus has prepared for us.
    • He gives us life to the full. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” We can have a good life because we have Jesus with us. He is our joy, peace, protection, healing, provision, Saviour, God. No matter whatever situation we are in, whether there are problems at home or in school, we don’t have to be afraid or worry. Jesus is always with us and in us. No one is greater than Jesus and no one loves us more than him. He even gave his life for us. We can trust that Jesus will take care of us as he has promised.
  • God gave Jesus to the world. This means you, me and everyone else. Have you received Jesus as your Saviour? If you haven’t received, today would you like to receive the best present of all? Pray with together with those who indicated they want to receive Jesus.
  • This Christmas season, whatever presents you may get, remember that you have the best present of all – Jesus.

 

3. Activity Suggestions

Jesus God with Us

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK: Save the Ants!

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  • (Show toy ant or picture of ant) Let’s say that for some strange reason, you really loved ants with all your heart. Let’s say that there was an ant colony near your house. You were careful not to step on those ants, and you would even leave food out for them. Let’s say that you loved each individual ant and wished that they could know that you loved them.One day, as the ants are venturing out in a line to forage for food, you notice that they are heading directly into a large pool of water, left behind by the thunderstorm. That would mean death for the ants! They would drown!How would you warn them? How in the world could you talk to an ant? (Let children offer their ideas.)Even if you waved your hands wildly, even if you got down on your belly and tried to look a teeny ant in the eye, you couldn’t make the ant understand.

    The only way that you’re going to get through to those ants, is to become an ant yourself. Can you imagine being an ant? Especially a very tiny one? It would be a dangerous experiment. You could get squashed.

    Maybe you would go through all that trouble to become an ant and they wouldn’t even listen to you. The ants that you love might drive you away. You might try to warn them about the pool of water and explain to them that you became an ant so that you could save them. Some might listen to you and others might not. But becoming an ant would be the only way to really communicate.

    A human becoming an ant? What a ridiculous story. But not as farfetched as a story about the Creator of Heaven and Earth becoming a helpless little baby, which is what happened 2,000 years ago, one Christmas day.

 

2. LESSON: Jesus God with Us (Matthew 1:22-25)

  • Matthew 1:22-2522 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
  • In the past few weeks, we learned a few identities of Jesus. The angel Gabriel appeared to Joseph and told him about the baby Mary was carrying. He would be:
    • King
    • Saviour
    • And as we learn today, Emmanuel — God with us!
  • All of us were like the ants. We were in danger. What were we in danger of? Death — the punishment for our sin.
  • But thankfully, we had Someone who loved us so very much and who wanted us to know how much He loved us. And this Someone wanted not only to warn us of danger but to save us from sin and death.
  • Who is this Someone? God! The Almighty Creator and Lord of everything.
  • Through the years, God sent people (prophets) to tell His people how much He loved them. But that was not enough. The prophets couldn’t save the people from sin.
  • So God had to make Himself as tiny and helpless as a baby, to be born a man, Jesus. He came so that He could talk to us, and tell us how much He loved us, and to give His life for us. He became Emmanuel — God with us!
  • Only a perfect man could take our punishment and die for our sins. And only God was perfect. He came to earth, to live a perfect, sinless life, to prove that He qualifies to be the sacrifice for our sins.
  • And after He died, He rose again and went to heaven. He sent His Spirit to come to live inside each and every one of us so that every moment, every day, wherever we are, God is with us! We are never alone anymore. He is truly Emmanuel!
  • God came to earth at Christmas and that is why we celebrate. Merry Christmas everyone! Dear Lord, thank you for sending your son, Jesus to our earth to show us how very much you love us. And thank you for being with us every moment, every day!

 

3. Activity Suggestions

Jesus Saviour

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK: Lifesavers

  • Prepare paper plate lifesaver rings (cut a hole in the middle of the paper plate) for about half the number of children in your class.

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  • Divide the kids into 2 groups — each standing on each side of the room. One side is the shore. The other is the ocean.
  • Kids standing on the shore hold the lifesavers. And they have to throw the lifesavers like a Frisbee to those in the ocean. Whoever catches the lifsaver gets to be “saved” and come on shore. (practice with the plate to make sure it can fly etc)
  • How did the lifesavers help you play the game? <save us and bring us back to shore>
  • What’s the importance of lifesavers when you’re swimming? <help you to float and not sink>
  • Do you know you have a Life Saver who’s with you every day? <Jesus>
  • Jesus is our Life Saver. Our Saviour.

 

2. LESSON: Jesus Saviour (Matthew 1:18-21)

  • Matthew 1:18-2118 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
  • The angel told Joseph to name the baby Jesus. The name Jesus means “God is Salvation”, that means Jesus is the Lord who saves, our Saviour.
  • What is a Savior?A savior is a deliver and preserver. For example, if you were sleeping in a burning house, and a fireman comes in and carries you to safety, he is your savior.
  • The word “save” comes from “sozo”, which also means to heal, protect and make whole. When Jesus saves us, He doesn’t just save us from our sins but He also makes us whole in every way.
  • How can Jesus be our Saviour?
    • The angel told Joseph that Jesus will save His people from their sins. How is that possible?
    • Even though Joseph was his earthly father, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin — miracle birth. He was both man and God — a human birth through Mary, but divine nature through Holy Spirit.
    • Babies are born to have life. But Jesus was the only baby born to die. His sole aim in coming to earth is to give His life for you and for me.
    • In the Old Covenant, people would bring animals to be sacrificed at the temple for their sins. The animal had to be perfect without any blemish. Jesus was the perfect man … He lived a sinless life, and only He could save us from our sin. (If He had His own sin, He couldn’t pay for our sins; just like if someone can’t swim himself, he cannot save a drowning swimmer).
    • We all have sinned. We have all missed God’s mark of perfection.
    • <can play a simple target shooting game to illustrate, if time permits>
    • We deserve the punishment of death. But in His great love, Jesus, the perfect man, took our place in death and punishment on the cross.
    • But He didn’t stay dead. He rose from the death to show that He had final victory over death and sin. He paid the full price that we couldn’t pay!
  • Jesus saves forever!
    • Jesus’ work on the Cross was complete. He cried out, “It is Finished!”
    • Jesus’ death on the Cross paid for ALL our sins — past, present and future. What we did in the past, and what we do today and tomorrow and the years to come.
    • When we accept Jesus, His life and Spirit lives in us. We are a NEW Creation. We are born as a Child of God. And God never, ever lets us go. We are His children FOREVER.
    • This Christmas, let’s remember and celebrate the little baby Jesus that was born to save all of us from our sins and give us new life in Him forever!

 

3. Activity Suggestions: