(This children’s address is based on Luke 2: 22-40, where Mary and Joseph present Jesus at the Temple)
Theme: The Christmas spirit.
To teach that the spirit of Christmas continues throughout the year.
To teach that the joy of Christmas is the joy of having Jesus in our life.
Key Phrase: The joy of Christmas is the joy of having Jesus in our life.
A nativity set (including: a stable, animals, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and of course baby Jesus).
Two other characters, Simeon and Anna. (For convenience, I have used two felt figures which were of similar height as the knitted characters in the nativity set.)
A carry bag; big enough to hold the nativity set characters.
1. To help settle the children, begin as quickly as possible. Have the wooden stable sitting next to you as you begin. Don’t have it out on display as normal but as if it is packed up with all the characters stuffed inside the stable.
2. “Put your hand up if you had a really joyous Christmas?” “There is great joy in Christmas in receiving presents and catching up with family and friends. And as you know the real joy of Christmas is the joy of having Jesus in our life.”
3. “Now that Christmas is over, it is time to put away our Christmas decorations, pack our new toys away, and get on with our normal life until next Christmas. As I was packing away my nativity set, I wondered whether Christmas started and finished with the birth of Jesus. Does the joy of Christmas finish when it is all packed away?”
4. “Let’s go back to Christmas, back to the nativity scene and the birth of Jesus to find out a little bit more about Christmas.” Unpack the stable and set up the nativity scene.
5. “When the shepherds saw baby Jesus, they received the joy of Christmas, the joy of having Jesus in their life. And then they left to go home with joy in their hearts.” Pack away the shepherds and animals into the carry bag.
6. “When the wise men saw baby Jesus, they also received the joy of Christmas, the joy of having Jesus in their life. And then they also left to go home with joy in their heart.” Pack away the wise men into the carry bag.
7. “Mary and Joseph also had the joy of Christmas, the joy of having Jesus in their life. And now they are all alone in the stable, and so where did they go after the birth of Jesus?”
8. “At the right time, eight days later they went to church, to the temple at Jerusalem to give thanks to God for Jesus.”
9. “Since I don’t have a church or temple building with me, I’m going to turn this stable around and use the back of it. Let us pretend that it’s the church or temple building at Jerusalem.”
10. “While Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus were at the temple along came Simeon.” Place the felt figure of Simeon on the wall of the temple where Mary, Joseph and Jesus are together.
11. “When Simeon saw baby Jesus he received the joy of Christmas, the joy of having Jesus in his life. Then he praised God for the gift we have in Jesus.
12. “At that moment, Anna came along.” Place the felt figure of Anna next to Simeon on the wall of the temple.
13. “When Anna saw baby Jesus she received the joy of Christmas, the joy of having Jesus in her life. Then she praised God and went about telling everyone at the temple about the joy of having Jesus in our life.”
14. “Today, we have learnt from the shepherds, the wise men, Mary and Joseph, Simeon, and Anna that the real joy of Christmas is the joy of having Jesus in our life. Christmas is not over, it continues every Sunday in Church, everyday when we have Jesus in our life.”
15. Finish with prayer, “Our Father in heaven, thank you for Christmas, thank you for the many gifts that you have given us, and we especially thank you for the gift of Jesus. Help us to tell everyone about the joy of Christmas, the joy of having Jesus in our life. Amen.”