Children’s Sermon Christmas 1C Luke 2:41-52

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Find three people to help you tell the gospel story: a man, a woman and a boy. Go to this link at Worshipping with Children for the reading: Jesus as boy in Temple

Faith+Gather: Invite the children forward. Ask, “What does the Christmas story tell us about Jesus?” Accept answers, “Right, that he was born as a baby, just like you and me! Today we here another story about Jesus growing up, this one he is older, maybe about 12. Are any of you 12? Well I have some people here to tell us the story. A father like Joseph, a mother like Mary, and Jesus as a boy.”

Faith+Share: Have the three people you found tell the story using the provided script or your own. Then ask, “How do you think it felt for Mary and Joseph when they couldn’t find Jesus? How do you think Jesus felt when he was found?” We don’t have many stories of Jesus growing up, in fact this is about it but what’s important here is that we remember that Jesus was born and he grew up like you and I do, he had experiences with his family and friends and community that were about being lost and found and happy and sad and all those human things. And it says here that Mary kept these things in her heart. What do you think that means? I think your moms and dads and people who love you keep things about you in their hearts, like remembering what you were like or when you teach them something about love or God just like Jesus as a boy taught his parents about the importance of being close to God. And I also know that God keeps you close to God’s heart because just like Jesus grew up like we do, Jesus is also God and able to know us and love us fully. This is why we keep stories of Jesus in our hearts and why we come to worship, so that we can remember all the time that we are loved and kept close to God’s heart.

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, we are glad for your birth, we are glad for you being a child, we are glad that you know us and keep us in your heart in love. Amen.

Faith+Blessing: God in our head, God in our heart, God on our left, God on our right. (say these words while making the sign of the cross and have the kids do this with you)

Christmas Day John 1:1-14

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: advertise that children are welcome to come in their pajamas and bring a gift they received. You can also ‘plant’ some children and encourage them to come with gifts or bring your own, A stocking or box or bag filled with small candles, a children’s Bible or this book is recommended: The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children by Katherine Paterson 

Faith+Gather: Gather the children up front or near the tree or creche–where it makes sense in your setting. What gifts did you bring with you? Let the children share what gifts they have with them and ask about who they received the gift from.

Faith+Share: As they are sharing who gave them the gift, comment on those relationships and how part of the gift is that the person giving it to us is sharing themselves and what they have with us. When the kids are done sharing their gifts show them that you have a gift bag/stocking/ as well. There is something pretty simple in my bag but also an important part of Christmas. Last night you heard the story of Mary and Joseph and how they went to Bethlehem… do a quick retell or have kids help you. And the gift that was born was Jesus. Today in our Gospel we are also going to hear a story about how Jesus came into the world told in a different way from the Gospel of John. John says that in the beginning–the very beginning at creation Jesus was there as the word and as the light and then he came into the world to bring God’s word and God’s light to people. And do you know why God did this? You have received gifts from people who love you and care about you and want to share themselves with you. God loves you and cares about you and wants to share hope and love and joy and peace with you.

**here read part of the gospel or read from a children’s Bible or book. “The light of the World” book mentioned in preparation is a good one to use in this section to help tie the stories of Christ as light together. Adjust for your time and setting.

We know Jesus came as a baby to be with us and that he is the word of God come to bring love to us and that Jesus is the light–that no matter what happens in our lives Jesus is with us and promises that one day the light of God is stronger than any darkness that we might see or feel or hear. So can you guess what is in my bag? (let them guess, leading them to think of things that make light)

Yes! A candle, a very simple white candle because candles can help us remember that Jesus is with us all the time, even if it’s a just a little bit of light from this candle. we know that Christ is here. (option: Light one of the candles or point to the candles that are lit) Give each child a small candle. (option: you can also give them a label sticker and markers or a cross sticker to put on the candle. Or if you have an interactive time in your worship you can invite them to take their candle to that station and decorate it. I will be using label stickers and letting them draw on them and then wrap them around their candle.)

Faith+Prayer: Ask children to hold their candles as you prayer together: Jesus, light of the world, come be a light in my heart and help me see you everyday. Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Children of God, you are lights for the world today and always. Amen.

Faith + Home Connection January 2013 Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22 (Isaiah 43: 1-7)

FaithCross_ConnectALT Gather the household in a comfortable space. Light a candle and have everyone share a high and a low from their day or week. Then pray for those joys and those challenges.

FaithCross_ConversationALT Have someone read Luke 3:15-17 and 21-22. (Isaiah 43: 1-7 is optional but beautiful!) OR read about the baptism of Jesus from your favorite children’s Bible. My two favorites are the Spark Story Bible (page 242) or the Jesus Story Bible (200).

For children: tell them about the day that they were baptized if they have been. If not tell about your own baptism, a siblings baptism or one that you have seen. Who was there? What words were said? God loves you the same no matter what both before you are baptized and after. God’s love is forever and always. In baptism, we are publically proclaiming that God holds us our entire life and is always with us. We also publically proclaim it is God’s grace and love in Jesus Christ that saves us and nothing that we do. We are so joyful about that love though that we can’t keep it to ourselves and so often a candle is given to the family and the following words are said, “Let your light so shine before others so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” How can you let your light shine? What are ways that you can share God with friends at school or in your neighborhood?

For youth/adults: The words of Isaiah 43: 1-7 are clear reminders of what God declares about God’s relationship with us. We are called by name and loved forever. Luke 3:17 echoes verse two in Isaiah 43-the chaff will be burned and we will walk through fire and not be burned. While this imagery of being on fire is strong and seems final and frightening (who can survive being burned?), fire is also a purifier. God loves us too much to leave us alone! We all have things that we need God to purify in our lives and the good news is that through Jesus Christ all of those things God takes care of and leaves us whole! We are not consumed but restored. We were created in for God’s glory!  (Isaiah 43:7) We don’t need to fear. When was a time that you really needed to hear “do not be afraid?” When have you been that voice for someone else? How does knowing that we are not alone, God is with us and that we are created for God’s glory impact how you live every day?

FaithCross_PrayALT God, you call us each by our names and we are created just who are supposed to be by you. Let us hear those words, “Do not fear, I am with you and I love you” loud and clear in my life. May all people hear those words, those who are hurting, lonely or scared. We are grateful for your love made real to us in Jesus. Amen

FaithCross_BlessALT Make the sign of the cross on one another and say: “Receive the sign of the cross, a sign of God’s endless love and mercy for you.” ELW page 233

Faith + Serve: Serving does not have to look like a big trip or being a missionary in a foreign country. Living into our baptism means that every day we look for ways large and small to serve our neighbor-those we know and those we don’t know. As we begin the new year, let’s look for ways that we serve each other in our daily lives: shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor, helping a brother or sister with their homework, carrying groceries in for mom or dad, getting a cup of coffee for a coworker, letting someone in line ahead of you at the grocery store, etc. Bring these examples to worship-they are all ways to be the light of Christ in the world. We will write them down on candles and put them by the baptismal font.

Children’s Sermon Christmas Eve (Or Christmas Day)

Prepare: This one takes some preparation time. You will need about six 2×2 (or so) boxes and three large Christmas card sized envelopes, a large Christmas stocking and the supplies to make the below objects that tell the story of the Nativity. Disclaimer: This retelling combines the Matthew and the Luke narratives. It does not follow just one gospel.

Faith + Gather:  bring the children up to either the tree in your sanctuary or to the crèche. Show them the stocking and ask if they have one similar at home. What do they find in their stocking? Presents! Well in your stocking is a present as well, and a story about the best gift of all.

Faith + Connect: Have the boxes/envelopes marked #1-8 for ease of getting the order correct. Begin by pulling out

#1-Have a child open the box. Have a small scroll tied with a gold ribbon. The scroll can say something like-“Name: Joseph From: Nazareth Family Line: David Report to: Bethlehem. Tell this part of the story. Tell why Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem.

#2-Have a printed of picture of Bethlehem (a clipart version is available). Tell the children about how when they got to Bethlehem there was no room to be found at all! You can also use a picture of a stable if you prefer.

#3-I use a large envelope for this one. I made a “manger” by cutting a toilet paper tube in half the long way and stapling the two halves together-one is the base and the other holds (in #7) the baby Jesus. I glued yellow felt for hay an used small popsicle sticks for the base of the manger. Tell how Mary had to put her baby in a feeding trough. No crib, no hospital-just the animals and Mary and Joseph!

#4-I have use a picture of Mary, Joseph and the animals in the barn. You can have younger children name barn animals.

#5- Put a small candy cane in the box. This is to talk about the shepherds who were in their fields watching sheep (the candy cane is the shepherds hook.)

#6-I made an angel “halo” out of gold sparkle pipe cleaner. The angels appeared to the shepherds proclaiming the birth of Jesus. You could sing “Gloria” here.

#7-The shepherds go to the stable and find the baby Jesus in the manger. I made a baby Jesus out of a small clothes pin. I drew a face and just glued white felt around the “baby.” Have a child put the baby Jesus in the manger from #3.

#8-I have a cross ornament that says Love on it. (I also use and envelope for this one.) I then talk about how Jesus is God’s love that has come down to be with us and to make sure that nothing ever separates us from God. This the best gift that we will ever get. While we may get fun things in our stockings this year or from under the Christmas tree, Jesus is the only gift that we need.

You can sing one verse of Away in a Manger here or Jesus Loves me.

Faith + Pray: Dear God, thank you for this story of love. You love us so much and all of the time and it is the best gift that we could ever get. Amen.

Faith + Bless: (Make the sign of the cross on one another): You are a gift from God. 

Children’s Sermon December 24th , 2012 First Sunday of Christmas Luke 2:1-20

Prepare: This series of children’s sermons in Advent will utilize your Advent wreath in your worship space. Each week the as the candle is lit you will explain what the candle means and then give them a take home. Please see the attached sheet.  The sheet has an ornament to print and the devotion to print on the back of it. The devotion will change each week. Have a copy made on card stock for each child and household.

Faith + Gather: gather the children by the Advent wreath. Perhaps at a “children’s worship service” you could read the gospel from a children’s story Bible. Spark Story Book Bible and the Jesus Story Book Bible are two of my favorite.

Faith + Connect: (If you have been following the children’s sermon series from this blog this will be a natural continuation. If not, please feel free to alter as needed!) So we lit one candle a week for four weeks on our Advent wreath. Here it is Christmas Eve! We are gathered to hear the story of Jesus’ birth and to celebrate that day. What do you see that is added to the wreath? That’s right a white candle in the middle. It is called the Christ Candle. It’s kind of like Jesus’ birthday candle.

Besides being fun, why do we celebrate Jesus’ birthday? (Accept all answers) We celebrate Jesus’ birthday not just for presents but to remember that Jesus was a gift from God to us! It’s Jesus’ birthday but we get the gifts!! God wants to give us what we need. Do we NEED new toys? No,but it’s special when we get them. Do we NEED new clothes? Sometimes  we do but not all the time.  Do we NEED candy? No, but candy is a nice treat isn’t it? God wants us to have what we need which is to be close to God. By sending Jesus as a baby, God tells us that God is with us always, forever and ever. God know that this is what we really need. God does want us to have clothes, food, toys, candy (just a little), friends, and family-Just like your parents want you to have all that you want and need so does God. But most of all God knows that you need love and gives that to us all the time. How are some ways that you know that you are loved by God?

The shepherds heard the angels sing of God’s love. They went and found the baby Jesus and then when they left they praised God telling people of God’s love. Let’s make sure that everyone we talk to knows God’s love too!

Faith + Prayer: God, we are amazed at the great love you                                         

have for us. Let us, like the shepherds, praise you all the

time for the gift of Jesus, amen.                                                              

Faith + Blessing: : (make the sign of the cross on each other)

Child of God, do not be afraid. Jesus is with you.




Children’s Sermon Dec. 23rd 2012, Fourth Sunday of Advent Luke 1: 46-55

Prepare: This series of children’s sermons in Advent will utilize your Advent wreath in your worship space. Each week the as the candle is lit you will explain what the candle means and then give them a take home. Please see the attached sheet.  The sheet has an ornament to print and the devotion to print on the back of it. The devotion will change each week. Have a copy made on card stock for each child and household.

Faith +Open: Gather the children to the Advent wreath. Say, Last week we talked about joy and how we can share the joy of God’s love with everyone we meet. Who remembers why we light a candle each week? (Accept all answers) That’s right to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world and that Jesus will come again to us. Last week we lit the candle of Joy , this week we light the candle of Peace. How many candles do we have left to light? Yes they are all lit! Christmas Eve is tomorrow! Who’s excited? (Have an acolyte, or an older child light the four candles.)

Faith +Connect: We are so excited for tomorrow! We heard in today’s Bible story about Mary going to visit her relative Elizabeth. They were both going to have a baby! Elizabeth would have a son named John and Mary’s baby name was….(have the children guess! J ). That’s right Jesus! They were both so happy! Mary was so happy that she sang a song that we call the Magnificat-it means magnify. Mary’s song is about God bringing peace to the world. Who knows what peace is? (No fighting, quiet, calm, getting along, etc.) Yes, peace can be all of those things but God says that peace is more than that. Peace is also when everyone has a enough to eat, when everyone has a place to live, clothes, and friends. Can we bring God’s peace to people? Yes! We can help build houses, we give clothes to the Action center, we can give hugs and be a friend. We are part of God’s peace! How cool is that?

Each of you will get this candle ornament that you can take home and color blue (or purple if you do purple in Advent). You can hang it on your Christmas tree and now you will have four for the four weeks of Advent. On the back is a Bible passage from Luke 1 to read, a prayer and a blessing. You can do this at dinner, in the car or before bed. Let’s practice it now.

Faith +Pray: God of Joy, we sing for joy that you love us. We will sing your love to the whole world, amen.

Faith+ Bless: Have everyone in the congregation turn to one another and say this blessing while making the sign of the cross on their forehead or hand: “Child of God you are free in God’s love.” 

Weekly Devotions – December 30, 2012 – 1st Sunday of Christmas

Here is the Weekly devotion for the 1st Sunday of Christmas – December 30, 2012

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

Notice something different about on the back page? Dinner Devotions are now called “Faith on the Go!” It’s the same great household Bible study, but formatted to work with “Faith Five” from Faith Inkubators.

December 14, 2012

As I write this, my heart is breaking. My heart is breaking for parents who will not be tucking their child into bed tonight or any night. My heart is breaking for a school that should be a place of fun, learning, curiosity, love, friendship and safety but is now a sign of how fragile security can be as well as a sign of the reality of darkness in our lives. My heart is breaking for a community that is shattered and will need love and support to grieve and journey toward healing. My heart is breaking for our world: for people who live in their own hell and feel that taking another life, as well as their own, manifests itself as a viable option; for the deep brokenness of our own humanity that doesn’t reach out to those in need of help; for families that are now forever altered; and for the pervasive feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that permeates our souls.

These are feelings that have flooded me before. My own personal grief from the death of my youngest child almost eight years ago finds the crack in my armor on a day like today and invades my being. My child’s life was not taken by human violence but from the violence of disease. On a day like today, I am transported back to the moment when I was told my son was dead. The vivid memory of being cold, numb and wailing all at the same time flashes in me as if it happened yesterday. I am saddened that, while thousands of miles apart, I am now connected to those parents in Connecticut. Not that I know their specific loss but as parent, I am tethered to them by bonds of grief, loss of dreams of tomorrow and the shattering of our souls. To lose a child is to lose a piece of your own being.

But as I write this and my heart is breaking, my heart is also being pieced back together and swaddled. My heart, and all of our hearts, is in God’s loving and compassionate hands. God weeping with us, lamenting with us and railing with us gently uses clothes of love, peace and healing to swaddle us when we need it the most. Swaddling clothes of a friend’s hug and compassionate words, swaddling clothes of prayers lifted up, swaddling clothes of a friend who can hold our words of grief, brokenness and devastation, the swaddling of the interconnectedness of all of humanity as people of God.

God just doesn’t understand our grief, suffering and brokenness but fully experiences them with us . God’s own son, wrapped in swaddling clothes, was born into a world of brutality, poverty, suffering and death. In the manger we see don’t see a perfect world but a world that God is deeply concerned about, loves and wants to make new. In the swaddling of baby Jesus comes the swaddling of God’s unconditional and forever love and grace- no matter how bad it gets, no matter how we question our world, God’s presence or our own humanity-for all people and all of creation. Jesus lived in our suffering, diseases of the body and mind and died in the reality of brutality and violence. But God declares that death and sorrow are not the last words, neither for Jesus and the disciples nor for us. God had the last word on Easter morning in the exclamation point of the empty tomb. God offers this in our sorrow, God who raised Jesus and overcame suffering and death, that death, suffering and sorrow will not win. Dawn comes after a long, dark night, new life springs from a dead seed, and resurrection is the gift that God offers to all. This is God’s promise now and forever and this is my hope and help not just for me but for all people of God. Amen.

Weekly Devotions – December 24/25, 2012 – Christmas Eve/Day

Here is a special Weekly Devotion page for December 24/25, 2012

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

Notice something different about on the back page? Dinner Devotions are now called “Faith on the Go!” It’s the same great household Bible study, but formatted to work with “Faith Five” from Faith Inkubators.