Christmas 1 Year B Luke 2: 22-40

Scripture: Luke 2:22-40

Faith+Open: Gather the children around the baptismal font.

Faith+Share: Ask: Does anyone know what this is? What do we do here? (baptize babies, children, adults) That’s right! We baptize people of all ages and promises are made to them. God’s promise of eternal life and love is stated, parents promise to teach their children about God both at home and at church and we as a congregation promise to also teach them about God and be willing to help them in their faith. All of these promises were also given to you!

How can we teach people about God? (Reading the Bible, praying, singing, talking about God with them, someday teaching Sunday school, etc.) Who teaches you about God? ( Accept all answers)

In today’s Bible story we hear about two people Simeon and Anna. They were special people who lived in the temple praising God all day and all night. One day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to church just like your family brought you this morning. Simeon and Anna held the baby Jesus and gave him a blessing and told his parents how special Jesus was, just like at your baptism. We are so blessed that God gives us people in our lives to tell us how special we are to God!

Faith+Blessing: Make sure that there is water in the baptismal font. Dip your hand in the water and bless each child by saying: “God I thank you for ______(this child) bless them forever.”

Faith+PrayerGod, thank you for giving us people who tell us how much you love us! Help us to tell others that you love them too! Thank you for your son Jesus, Amen.

Faith+Home Connection January 2012

Faith + Open: Gather and light a candle. Open with a favorite hymn (maybe “Go Tell it on the Mountain”). Prayer: God, while Christmas has come we are still waiting for you. Every day we praise you. We know that you keep your promises and will come again. In Jesus name, amen.

Faith + Share: read Luke 2: 22-40. Have a narrator and someone read Simeon.

For Adults: Simeon and Anna blessed Jesus and spoke to Mary about the importance of this baby. In a way they were helpful and supportive voices for these young parents. Who has been this voice for you in your life whether it is in parenting or other life circumstances? What was it that they said that was the most helpful or supportive? Have you offered words of blessing and encouragement to someone?

For children: Simeon and Anna were so excited to see Jesus when Mary and Joseph took him to the temple (church)! Who are you excited to see when you go to church? Who is excited to see you? Why do you look forward to seeing them?

For all: Simeon and Anna gave a blessing to Jesus. Can you write or say a blessing that you could give to a friend, family member or someone at Church? Or can you write a poem of praise to God for people who love us?

Faith + Serve: Many communities have a significant number of elderly people who may be lonely. Find an assisted living facility, or get a list of elderly who can no longer leave their home and write cards of blessings. You can either mail them or hand deliver them for a nice visit!

Faith + Blessing: Take the hands of the person that you are going to bless and say “God cares for you and so do I!”

Christmas Day Year B John 1:1-18 Children’s Sermon

Scripture: John 1:1-18

Preparation: small birthday candles.

Faith+Open: Gathering children. Start humming “Happy Birthday to you”… when kids arrive say, There are so many good Christmas songs, I wish we could sing them all. Like my favorite one, can you guess what it is? Hum “Happy Birthday”  Kids should recognize it and may even tell you it’s not a Christmas song. Yes, I’m humming Happy Birthday to you… such a great Christmas song… 

Faith+ShareDo you think it’s a good Christmas song? No/Yes.. take answers and go either way with it. Well, it may not be exactly a Christmas song and it doesn’t do a good job of telling the story of Jesus. But it is a song to sing together today to help us remember what we are celebrating. Let’s Sing. Sing Happy Birthday together. How do you celebrate a birthday? Take answers. Comment on what is the same or different. I was thinking about the ways we celebrate Jesus’ birth–we have candles (point to advent wreath or other candles), we give gifts of offering (show offering plate), we sing to ether and we have a meal that Jesus gave us (point to altar/bread/wine). Our gospel story today says that God become flesh and lived among us and that Jesus was the word and the light for us to know God’s love. One of the ways we know each week is when we gather for the bread and the wine. The bread and wine are ways that we can touch and feel and know the low of God who came to be with us. They help us to feel God’s presence here. 

I have hear a small birthday candle for each of you. I would like you to take this home and find a time to light it and try to put it in a piece of bread so we remember the words that Jesus came to be with us.  Gather your family to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus or another favorite song. Then thank God for the light of Christ in the world and in our lives. 

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for coming as real person. Thank for the word of life in Jesus. Help us to share our bread and our story of your love. Amen

Faith+Christmas Blessing: May your days be filled with the peace, joy, hope, and love of God +

All intellectual property rights apply. This may be used in a home or ministry setting but not sold or used for profit. Authors: Leta Behrens, Brigette Weier, Gus Brockmann

Christmas Eve Year B Luke 2:1-20 Children’s Sermon

Scripture Luke 2:1-20

Supplies: Large Christmas stocking, eight little cardboard boxes (about 2 x 2) or seven legal size envelopes. You will need the following items or pictures in the boxes or envelopes:

 

  1. A scroll
  2. A picture of Bethlehem
  3. Manger or stable scene or small animal figure (to make manger cut a toilet paper tube in half. Then cut one of the halves about an inch shorter than the other one and staple them curved sides facing out, to each other. Glue hay/straw or yellow raffia or yarn to it.)
  4. Baby Jesus (To make baby Jesus to fit the manger, use a popsicle stick or a clothes pin wrapped in cloth and draw a face.)
  5. Small candy cane (shepherd staff)
  6. Gold pipe cleaner in the shape of a halo
  7. Small color page of the Nativity-or a small crèche
  8. A heart with a cross
  9. A coloring page to hand out at end of children’s sermon (optional)

Faith+Open: Gather the children to where you would like to do the children’s time. Show them your stocking and talk about how you always find presents in your stocking on Christmas morning. Ask if they have a stocking as well. Then explain that THIS stocking has the best present ever.

Faith+Share: Have the boxes or envelopes numbered 1-8 for ease of telling the story.

Pull out #1: This box/envelope has the start of the best present ever. Pull out a scroll with Joseph     and Mary’s name on it. Tell how Joseph and Mary had to take a trip to check-in with the emperor to sign their names. Mary was expecting a baby so it was a hard trip.

Pull out #2This box/envelope has a picture of Bethlehem. This is the city of King David, where he was born and where Mary and Joseph had to go to be registered.

Pull out #3: This box/envelope has a manger in it  When Mary and Joseph got to Bethlehem all of the hotels or inns were full. The only place they found was a barn where animals live.

Pull out #4: While they were staying in the stable Mary had her baby! What was the baby’s name? Jesus! Pull out a baby Jesus.  Place the baby in the manger.

Pull out #5: There were shepherds near by watching sheep. Doesn’t the candy cane look like a shepherds staff?

Pull out #6:  Suddenly angels appeared the shepherds saying don’t be afraid! A very special baby has been born! Glory to God in the highest and peace to all people on earth!

Pull out #7:  So the shepherds went to where the baby Jesus was and were so happy! They had found the best gift ever! God’s love given to us in Jesus!

Pull out #8Isn’t this the best present that you have ever seen in a stocking? God loves us so much that God sent Jesus to be with us and to show us that God loves us no matter what we do. God wants us to love and talk to God through prayer, songs, dancing and everything that we do. That’s what the cross reminds us of!

You each get a color page just like in box #7 to work on and you can hang it in your room to remind you of your best Christmas gift ever!

Faith+Prayer: Dear God, thank you so much for the gift of your son Jesus. We are so glad that you love us so much and we love you too! Amen.

Faith+Christmas Blessing:  May your days be filled with the peace, joy, hope, and love of God +

All intellectual property rights apply. This may be used in a home or ministry setting but not sold or used for profit. Authors: Leta Behrens, Brigette Weier, Gus Brockmann

Advent 4B Luke 1:26-38 Children’s Sermon

Scripture: Luke 1:26-28

Preparation: a newspaper
Author note: Adapted from a children’s sermon by Pastor David Barber which was adapted from a Sundays and Seasons idea (Augsburg Fortress)

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Good morning! Anyone know how many days until Christmas? Allow for answers (you might get some funny ones!) Yes we are waiting for Christmas and while we wait in Advent we share the good news of Jesus coming. How many of you read the paper? Show the newspaper you brought with you and take some responses.

Faith+Share: What kind of stories do newspapers tend to have? Allow for responses.There are some news stories that tell of good things but a lot of news we hear or read in our paper is bad news. We read about wars and children who are hungry or people who are hurting. (Use some current, appropriate, examples).  I’m wondering, are we people of bad news or good news? Allow for responses. We are people of good news! When the angel Gabriel came to Mary and to the Shepherds, he was bringing them good news about Jesus birth and we bring good news to others. What is the good news we have to share? Yes our good news is that Jesus is coming and what is Jesus bringing? Jesus is bring light and love and peace and joy and we share this with others–because we are messengers just like the angels were messengers so long ago when Jesus was born we are messengers now that tell others the Christmas story so they know that God is with us all the time. We can live and enjoy the good news for ourselves but we also share the good news with others so they can experience the love of God as well. 

Faith+Prayer: Loving Jesus, Thank you for this advent season. Thank you for the angels that bring good news. Help us to be messengers of Jesus light and love. Amen

Faith+Blessing:May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Advent 3B John 1:6-28 Children’s Sermon

Scripture Focus: John 1:6-28

Preparation: Simple nativity set or picture

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Show them the nativity set or scene. Ask them to tell you who they know about in this scene. Name the different people present.

Faith+Share: Is there anyone that is important to the Christmas story that is not here? See what they say. There could be several answers… or they might just say no… or they might look at you blankly!
Our Gospel today comes from the Gospel of John. And we heard/will hear about a man named John the Baptizer. Has anyone heard of him? Well he was a cousin to Jesus, Elizabeth is his mom and Mary went to visit her while they were both pregnant, Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John. John knew about Jesus, he know that his cousin was one who would come to bring light into the world, to show people just how loved they are by God. John wanted everyone to know this as well so he did all he could to tell the people to get ready for Jesus to come—not just be born but to show up and walk with them and talk with them. John was so serious about this that he started baptizing people to help them get ready. He wanted them to hear that their sins were washed away and that were loved by God. So, John was not in the manger when Jesus was born, he was just a baby himself, but John is an important part of our Christmas story because he reminds us that while we wait in Advent we are not just preparing for Christmas, we are telling the world this great story!

You know, I think someone else is missing from this nativity scene too. Each one of you. Because the Christmas story is not just John’s story and it’s not just Jesus’ story, it’s your story too because you are loved by God and Jesus came to show you the way too. 

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, we watch and we listen and we wait for Christmas. Help us to tell our story about Jesus birth and about your love to our family and our friends and our neighbors. Amen

Faith+Blessing:May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Advent 2B Mark 1:1-8 Children’s Sermon

Scripture: Mark 1:1-8

Preparation: You will need to prepare one volunteer–it can be a child or youth or adult. They will be the one to go behind the altar (or other designated space) and try to get a message to the child volunteer you ask for during the children’s sermon.

Faith+Open: Gather the children to you. Today we hear in gospel that John the Baptist was one of the people who was trying to get the message out that Jesus was coming and to prepare the way of the Lord. So, I was thinking, getting the message can be really important and we in advent can listen for the message of love and hope in Christmas. 

Faith+ShareSo, I want to try something, kind of like telephone but ‘whole church telephone’. I need a volunteer, anybody here think they are good listener? Pick a child who you think can go to the back of the church comfortably. Ok, you look like a good listener. Can you go to back of the church (say something like by the baptismal font, or last row, or by doors to indicate where you would like he/she to go). Send your other volunteer to the opposite end, like behind the altar for example. Great, now I’m going to ask ___________ (your prepared volunteer) to say a message to you from across the room. I want you to listen to the message and repeat it back. But first, I think we need everyone’s help. I need the whole assembly to talk too. Just turn to your neighbor and have a conversation for a few moments while ___________ sends his message. Once people are talking look at volunteer to give his/her message. It can be something like “prepare the way of the Lord” or “Christ is coming”. This person should not scream it or use a microphone. The point is that the other person CAN’T hear them. After a moment get everyone quiet again.
Ok, so what was the message? What, you can’t hear? I thought you were a good listener! No, you’re right, there was so much noise and talking going on that you couldn’t hear the message. Let’s try again but this time without people talking. 
What was the message? (child should be able to repeat this time)

So come on back. In Advent we are waiting and preparing for Christmas. Sometimes though there is so much noise and so much distraction that we forget what we are preparing for. John the Baptist wanted people to prepare and to know that God was coming to be with them. And that is what we are focused on now, how God comes to us as a baby and as a kid and as a grown up and how God walks with us even now and wants us to hear the message that God is with us and loves us. That is what we always watch for in our daily lives, for Christ to be present in the world. 

Faith+Prayer Let us pray together or repeat after me: God, we watch for you and hope for you. Help us to see you and prepare for you each day and in this Advent time. Amen. 

Faith+Blessing: May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Advent 1B Mark 13:24-37 Children’s Sermons

Scripture: Mark 13:24-37

Supplies: a pair of binoculars

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Hold up your binoculars and start using them to look around the sanctuary. Oh wow! Look at that–the colors are new! Oh my there are new candles and a wreath and a tree. Hhhmm, I heard it is Advent and I’m supposed to watch for something. Do you know what I’m watching and waiting for? Pause and take responses. Keep looking through your binoculars and pondering what you see.

Faith+Share: I read in the gospel of Mark that we are to keep watch and waiting. And it’s Advent so we watch and wait for Jesus. So, do I need these binoculars for what we are watching for? You don’t think so? But I want to see God right away and isn’t God far away? …. It seems like in Advent we watch for God we also know that God is near. So maybe I don’t need these binoculars to see God. Hhhmmm, what are the ways we know God is around us? Take responses. Focus in on how we can see God working in the acts of love around us in the world. And while we wait for Christmas, we can focus on how we see the light of Christ around us during this time when it’s dark longer. At this time of year we say Christ is our Light because we think about God being the one that gives us light and hope.  In our Gospel today and in all of Advent we talk about how we are waiting and watching for God’s light. We can call those Godsightings–like when we see or hear stories of people helping others or acts of love. God is all around us and working in our world today. Where can you watch for God this week?  Take responses.

Faith+Prayer: This week, watch for God in all you do. Keep a list or tell your family at dinner what you saw. 
Prayer with me: Christ our light, shine us while we wait. Help us see you  each day and know that your love is with us always. Amen

Faith+Blessing:
May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Extended Ideas: 
Have a candle cut out (or binoculars) with Christ written on it and have kids take it back to their seats and write where they can watch for God this week.

December Faith+Share

Scripture Focus: Luke 2: 1-20

Faith + Open: At this time of year we are all focused on how we show friends and family how much we love them. We do this by buying or making and giving gifts. Yet, some of our greatest gifts have not been things. God’s greatest gift to us was born in a barn surrounded by wandering shepherds and loud, smelly animals. What was the best gift that you have ever received that was not a thing. Share with one another and then open in prayer and sing either Away in the Manger(LBW 67, ELW 278) or Joy to the World (LBW 39, ELW 267)  together.

 

Faith + Story: Read Luke 2: 1-20 or pages 212-217 in the Spark Story Bible.  If you have a Nativity set, use the pieces to act out the story.

Faith + ShareFor Adults: God comes to us in unexpected ways. Think about the shepherds faithfully doing their work with the sheep when an angel, declaring that God was doing a new thing in the world, interrupted them. These shepherds then immediately had to go and check it out! Have you ever been interrupted by God? Share a time when God seemed to put you on a different course. How did you react? Were you as excited as the shepherds or a bit more cautious? Did you tell anyone about this?

For families: Angels told the shepherds about Jesus being born and where to go and see Jesus. We can be messengers about Jesus too! Who tells you about Jesus? Who can you tell about Jesus? What would you tell a friend about Jesus?

Faith + Serve: We can use our words to tell people about the love of God in Jesus and we can use our actions as well! In the month of December as a family decide if there is someone in your neighborhood that you can help. Maybe shovel the walk when it snows. Maybe take over a hot meal if you know that they are sick. Make and give Christmas cards with the message of the birth of Jesus to neighbors.

Faith + Ritual: At the daily meal where everyone is gathered ask how each one showed or told someone about Jesus. Doesn’t have to be directly but even a kind act or word is showing Jesus to the world. Then at the end of the meal sing the chorus to Go Tell It on the Mountain (LBW 70, ELW 290) to celebrate how our whole lives tell about the love of God in Jesus Christ!

Faith+Share Monthly: November

Scripture: Matthew 25: 31-46

Faith + Open:  Gather together and light a candle. Ask someone to pray. If you would like use this prayer: Gracious God, you pour out your love to us in so many ways. We want to share that love with those around us. May we be a fountain showering the love and grace of your son Jesus Christ to those we know and those we don’t know, amen.

Faith + Share: Read Matthew 25: 31-46 or on page 318 in the Spark Bible. Have someone read the narration, Jesus’ part and the part of the disciples.

For adultsThis text is challenging as it seems to indicate that some people will get into the flock (sheep) and some won’t (goats). But this passage is not about who is in and who is out. Jesus is pointing out to the disciples that yes, they have clothed the naked, fed the hungry and visited the lonely, but just as many times they have not. We have the capacity to be both a sheep and a goat. In the Lutheran tradition we explain this as being both saint and sinner simultaneously. Jesus redeems us and we have he ability to follow God and serve God’s world, yet, we sometimes do not do what we know we should. Jesus wants the disciples and us to be aware of our need for God in our lives and our ability to be either a sheep or a goat! How might it change you to see everyone around you, neighbor and stranger as Jesus? Would your actions/thoughts/feelings about them change? What would be one thing that you could add this month to reflect serving your neighbor as if they were Jesus?

For children/youth: Have you ever forgotten your lunch money for school or maybe a coat on day that turned out to be cold? Did someone help you by giving you lunch money (or the school letting you eat) or by giving you a jacket or sweater to borrow? How did that make you feel? They were serving you or taking care of you the way that Jesus would! When we help someone who is hungry or cold or lonely, Jesus says that we are taking care of people the way we would take care of Jesus if Jesus were right here right now needing something. God wants us to be as nice to each other as we would to Jesus!

Faith + Serve: There are many hungry and lonely people in our communities. Here at Bethel we collect food for the holidays to help people who cannot afford to buy enough to feed their family. Please consider donating food items so that we can serve even more families than last year! BUT let’s also let them know that we are praying for them and care for them as our brothers and sisters in Christ. Christmas cards will be available on November 20th at both services for you to write a note of Christian love and encouragement to those who will receive a food basket from us. Children are welcome to write a card or draw a picture as well! There will be a basket to collect the cards for a couple of weeks following. Please only sign with your first name.

Faith + Close: As you gather for a meal remember in your prayers those who do not have enough to eat both in this country and all over the world. Sing as a family “This little light of mine” to help us to remember to be the light of Jesus in the world!

Words: This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

All around my world, I’m going to let it shine, All around my world, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine let it shine, shine!

Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine, Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine let it shine, let it shine!

Let us walk with you on the journey of faith. Whether your feet are big or small, fresh or worn, running or crawling, God's love goes with you and you stand on holy ground.