Have the children come forward and stay standing up for this time. Say “Look around our worship space. What do you see?” (Accept all answers.) “Yes, we see people, the piano/organ, the font, the table, bread, wine, water, pews, carpet, etc. We see all kinds of things in here that tell a story! What story do you think that all of these things and people tell? They tell the story of God’s love. They are telling us to remember to look around to look for love, which is always a sign of Jesus in our world. Do you ever see things in your day or on tv that scare you? Yes, I do too. But I remember to look for signs of love around me when I feel scared.
In our Bible story today, Jesus says that we will see things in the world that we won’t understand or might even scare us. But he says “stand up! Look for signs of love and hope!” Jesus tells us that when it seems that things are scary or sad, that he is with us forever. Nothing can make Jesus go away. He also says that there is something that we can do to help us to look for signs of God’s love and new life everywhere we go: pray. Praying is not just about asking God for what we need or a friend needs but is also about just talking to God and listening for where God might be telling us to look for signs of love. Sometimes we say words when we pray and sometimes we can be silent when we pray. Doesn’t matter what kind of prayer you say or do, all prayer connects us to God and helps us to see signs of God’s love in the world. Let’s practice that now.
(Start by saying “Dear God” and then telling the children that we will be quiet for a minute.) Dear God, (silence is kept) we see things that we don’t understand. Open our eyes to see more of your love, more of your hope and more of your grace. May we stand up to be signs of your love in the world. Amen.
Have someone draw a tree on butcher paper or use a large plant or indoor tree that you may have in your church. Have leaves cut out for people to write signs of God’s love and new life to tape on the paper tree or have string to hang the leaves on the real plant/tree. Invite people to take their leaves home to place on their Christmas tree.