1. HOOK: Save the Ants!
- (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:
- 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!