Theme: Jesus gives hope, peace, joy, and love.
(On Sundays during the season of Advent the Gospel readings are at times the ones involving John the Baptist and his work. He is the one going about telling the people of the coming Saviour. And all the people come to him revealing that they have a need for a Saviour. The following aims stem from the message of advent.)
1. To encourage the children to tell others about Jesus.
2. To teach the children that Jesus brings hope, peace, joy, and love into people’s lives.
Materials: A large pin-up board or something similar to hold a number of cut-out pictures.
Large labels with the words: hope, peace, joy, and love.
Pictures of people that show they need peace in their life. (perhaps, a picture of soldiers at war.)
Pictures of people that show they need hope in their life.
Pictures of people that show they need joy in their life.
Pictures of people that show they need love in their life.
1. After the children are seated and greetings exchanged remind the children that they are in the season of Advent. “Today is the first Sunday in the season of Advent, a season that leads to Christmas, a season to tell others about Jesus, because he has come and we celebrate his birthday on Christmas Day.”
2. “Some of the good things that Jesus brings into our life are: hope, peace, joy, and love.” As you mention them pin up the words on the pin-up board. They will be used as headings for the various pictures. I pinned them up at various angles and at random positions on the board to give later a visual effect that the themes of peace, hope, joy, and love overlap each other and are all needed in our life.
3. Hold up the first picture of people and ask the children to comment about it. I had a picture of children in an orphanage and another of children in prison. My audience of children were surprised that these places existed. That gave the opportunity to talk to them about the orphan’s needs; for example love of parents. Ask for a volunteer to pin the picture on the board under the heading of love, or somewhere near it.
4. Work through the other pictures in the same way. In the end the pin-up board will be full of pictures under their various headings. The pin-up board with the collage of people makes a very powerful image of people throughout the world in need of Jesus.
5. Conclude with prayer: “Dear Jesus, thank you for coming at Christmas. Fill our life with the good things that you bring of hope, peace, joy, and love. Help us to tell other people about you so that they can also have hope, peace, joy, and love in their life too. Amen.”