Preparation: paper hearts cut out of map paper, a box wrapped that you can open easily, supplies for worship station if you choose to do that.
Gather the children up front. Have a present wrapped up with you. Say, “Look! I have a present! I am so excited!” Shake the gift. “Hmmm, I really wonder what it is… do any of you know?” “Have any of you ever gotten a present? … have you ever known what was in the box??… Were you really sure exactly what it was? I think I may know what is in here… but I am not sure I totally know.. it is pretty light… does not make much noise… hmmmm..”
“You know this is like the gospel story we heard today. Mary knew she was having a baby and she went to tell Elizabeth. And when she got there Elizabeth knew she was having a baby too because her baby leaped for joy in her womb! Have any of you had a mom or an aunt or friend who was going to have a baby? And did you see how her tummy got bigger and after awhile she could feel the baby move? Elizabeth must have felt a big movement! So both these women knew that Mary would have God’s son but they also did know all of what that meant–didn’t know what he would look like or smell like, did not know how he would act or what it would mean exactly. They knew Jesus was a going to be gift for not just them but the world too, but they also did not know exactly how God would give this gift to us. Kind of like my present… I have not looked in the box, I have guess that it has something that will show me about Jesus…. but I am not sure exactly what it is…”
Open the box. “I was right! It is about Jesus!” Show the paper hearts you have in the box and tell how they are on map paper. “This present is to help us remember God’s big love in Jesus is for the whole world and it is for you and me. Even when are unsure about all that we know, we can know for sure that God loves us. I want you all to have heart and you can write your name on this heart to help you remember God’s love for you and for the world.”
Have more paper hearts cut out of map paper or the supplies for people to cut them. Have magnets with sticky back on them and have them out for people to attach to their heart. Invite people to write their names and/or a prayer on them.