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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.” 

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.

Children’s Sermon Dec. 16th 2012, Third Sunday of Advent Isaiah 12: 1-6

ffjChildrenSermonPrepare: 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.

FaithCross_ConnectALT Gather the children to the Advent wreath. Say, Last week we talked about how much God loves us. God love us so much that God sent Jesus to show God’s love for the whole world. 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 Love, this week we light the candle of Joy. How many candles do we have left to light? (Have an acolyte, or an older child light the three candles.)

 FaithCross_ConversationALTWhat is joy? What things do you do or say when you are so happy that you can’t contain it? Who show me how they act when they are joyful or really happy? Did you know that God loves being joyful with you and about you? God rejoices everyday for you and God showed that joy by sending Jesus to us. Do you think that God wants us to share joy with people around us like our friends, brothers or sisters, mom or dad, aunts or uncles, grandmas and grandpas etc.? How can we do that? (By helping to feed hungry people, hugs, helping a friend or sibling, singing songs together, etc.) Yes, there are so many ways to show God’s joy to other people.

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 each week you will get another one to add to the tree. So now you will have three. On the back is a Bible passage from Isaiah 12 to read, a prayer and a blessing. Look for all the ways that you see God’s joy in the world and tell your mom, dad, sister or brother about how shared God’s joy that day. You can do this at dinner, in the car or before bed. Let’s practice it now.

FaithCross_PrayALTGod of Joy, we sing for joy that you love us. We will sing your love to the whole world, amen.

 

 

FaithCross_BlessALTHave 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.”