Needed: A puppet (one can be made from a lunch sack, moveable eyes and yarn for hair); a simple stage which the puppet can hide behind (a large box can be used or a card table turned on it’s side).
Activity: Let the children take turns “teaching” the Bible verse to the puppet. The puppet repeats the verse correctly and then everyone in the class says together: “That’s right!” Boys and girls can take turns both “teaching” the puppet and being the puppeteer.
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"Mary Rice Hopkins and Puppets with a Heart" is the newest children's program being aired on TBN (or view online). This show deals with tough issues kids are facing today and will change children's hearts for a lifetime. Click here for a sample of program.
Read together the Christmas story (Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 2:1-11) from The Living Bible, The Message or Contemporary English Version, if possible.
~~ Family Discussion ~~
1. If you could be something or someone in the Christmas story, what or who would that be? Why?
2. How would you have felt if you were one of the following:
a. A shepherd when the angels appeared to you?
b. A wise man seeing Jesus after two years of journey?
c. Mary, the mother of Jesus?
d. The innkeeper after finding who was born in your stable?
e. Joseph, the father of Jesus?
3. If you were one of the wisemen, what would you have brought Jesus?
~~ Possible Projects ~~
1. Select pictures from old magazines that represent something you would like to give each member of your family, if money was no object.
2. If you were a newspaper reporter when Jesus was born, what headline would you have written in the Bethlehem Daily News?
3. On a large sheet of paper, have each family member draw different parts of the Christmas scene, such as: manger, Mary, Joseph, animals, shepherds, and baby Jesus.
~~ Prayer Time ~~
1. Have each family member select a Christmas card, and pray for the sender.
2. Sit in a circle with hands joined and pray for the person on your right.
3. Sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and pray thanking Him for His love.
4. Write a Christmas prayer with everybody in the family contributing one sentence. Read the prayer.
Scenic Background ~ Art
Needed for Each Child: 1 sheet of light cardboard or heavy construction paper, crayons, glue, sand or oatmeal.
Activity: Fold the paper in half. The top half becomes a backdrop for the craft activity with the children drawing a background scene of trees, bushes, sun, clouds, etc. The bottom half is the ground where the house from the craft activity will sit. Have the boys and girls put glue on this half and then sprinkle with sand or oatmeal.
Playdough House ~ Craft
Needed for Each Child: A chunk of playdough approx. 3” x 1” x 1” in size; 2 drinking straws, scissors.
Activity: The children can create a biblical house from the playdough which has steps on the outside leading to the roof. (If possible, show a picture of a house in New Testament times.) The straws can be cut to fit on the roof for tiles. The houses are then placed on the scenic background the children made during art.
BIBLE STORY: “Jesus Tells About Heaven” (based on John 14:1-7; Acts 1:9-11;
1 John 2:28)
Instructions: If your situation allows, have the children walk with you as you tell the story to a predetermined “Mount of Olives” location where they will sit. Explain prior to the story they will be walking quietly as they listen to the story.
Story: Jesus and His disciples were going on a walk. What a great time they were having together! Jesus had risen from the dead. His friends were so excited to be with Him again.
As they walked along together, the disciples asked Jesus questions. There were still many things they did not understand.
“How long are you going to be with us?” they wanted to know.
“Don’t’ be troubled,” Jesus said to his disciples. “Just trust in Me. There are many homes in heaven, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so you can be with Me where I am.”
As they continued walking, Jesus led the disciples along a road that wound around the side of a hill called the Mount of Olives. They climbed until they came to the top. There Jesus stopped. (Ask children to sit.)
Lifting up His hands, Jesus blessed His disciples and then He began rising into the sky and went on to heaven. Up, up, up Jesus went until a big cloud covered Him from sight.
The disciples just stood there staring at the sky. They were hoping to catch one more glimpse of Jesus. As they were straining their eyes for another look, two angels suddenly stood right alongside them.
“Why are you staring up into heaven?” the angels said. “Jesus is coming back again. Don’t you remember what He told you? He’s coming back exactly the same way you just saw Him go.”
Someday Jesus will return to take all those who love Him to live with Him forever in heaven.
PRAYER: “Thank You, Jesus, that you are in heaven preparing a place for everyone who loves and trusts You. Help us to ‘stay in happy fellowship with You so when You come we will be sure all is well’ (1John 2:28, TLB). Amen.”
SONG: “Jesus” by Mary Rice Hopkins from Miracle Mud album.
BIBLE STORY REVIEW GAME:
Preparation: Cut 7 cloud shapes. Number the front sides 1-7. Write the questions on the backs. Attach to blue poster board with tape, numbers facing out.
1. What were Jesus and His disciples doing? (Taking a walk)
2. Where did Jesus take them? (To a hill)
3. What was the name of the hill? (Mount of Olives)
4. What happened on the Mount of Olives? (Jesus rose into heaven)
5. After Jesus went into heaven, who came alongside the disciples? (Two angels)
6. What did the angels say? (Jesus is coming back again)
7. Where is Jesus today? (In heaven)
Activity: Choose children to take down the shapes in order from 1-7. Read the question. On a 3-count, ask the boys and girls to give their answer in unison.
BIBLE VERSE: “Behold, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:7).
Directions: Cut out 6 cloud shapes from construction paper. On each one write a word from the verse and the reference. Hide around the room.
Activity: Ask the children to raise their hands when they see a piece of the verse. Have one child at a time get a cloud and attach it to the bulletin board in the right order.
MAKE ‘N TAKE CREATIVE ACTIVITY: Jesus Going to Heaven Collage Picture
Needed for Each Child: Construction paper, crayons, markers, glue, scissors, cotton balls, cloth scraps, construction paper scraps.
Activity: The children draw a picture of Jesus going to heaven and turn it into a collage by adding cotton clouds, putting clothes on the people, etc.