‘But the Lord will still show you this sign: The young woman is pregnant and will give birth to a son. She will name him Immanuel.’ Isaiah 7:14

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Week 3 objective: to discover what the word ‘Immanuel’ means.

Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play a game that involves lowering a balloon to the ground before talking about God coming from heaven to earth.

You will need: ‘Immanuel’ textbox (see Printables), at least one helium filled balloon (available from some stationary and craft shops), sticky tape, metallic ribbon or string and lots of paper clips.

Before the session print the ‘Immanuel’ textboxes and tie a long piece of metallic ribbon to the helium balloon/s. Each balloon will need to touch the ceiling while the end of the ribbon is approximately one meter from the ground and can still be reached by the children. Use sticky tape to fasten a textbox to the ribbon just below the balloon.

Explain to the children that they need to attach paper clips to the bottom of the ribbon so that the balloon slowly floats to the ground. If the balloon starts to descend too quickly one or two paper clips should be removed. If you have more than one balloon, divide your group into two teams. The team which manages to get the balloon to float down the slowest (but at a speed which can still be observed) is the winning team.

Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens and a Bible.

Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper.

Remind the children that over the last few weeks we’ve started to learn more about Jesus’ birth as we’ve looked at this verse. Underline the reference. Remind the children that we learnt that many times Isaiah spoke about the Messiah . Draw the letter ‘M’ next to the verse. The Messiah was the special person God had promised to send to his people. Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah; they believe Isaiah was talking about Jesus’ birth. Write the name ‘Jesus’next to the verse.

Underline the sentence ‘The young woman is pregnant and will give birth to a son’. Remind the children that in this verse Isaiah is talking about Jesus’ mother, Mary.

Underline the sentence ‘She will name him Immanuel’. Ask the children what name Mary gave her baby in the Christmas story. Explain that the angel told Mary and Joseph to call God’s Son ‘Jesus’. However this verse tells us that Jesus had another name. Underline again the word ‘Immanuel’.

Explain that ‘Immanuel’ is like a title for Jesus rather than a name. ‘Immanuel’ describes who Jesus is. Draw a line between the ‘u’ and the ‘e’ in the word ‘Immanuel’ separating ‘Immanu’ and ‘el’. ‘El’ means God and ‘immanu’ means ‘with us’. The word ‘Immanuel’ means ‘God with us’.

Jesus was called ‘Immanuel’ because God came to be with mankind when Jesus came to earth. Another way of saying this is: when Jesus came to live with people God lived with people too. This is because Jesus is God, he is God the Son.

Remind the children that during the game the balloon floated down from the ceiling. Explain that today as we think about the title ‘Immanuel’; we are remembering that just over 2000 years ago God came down from heaven to be with people on earth.

Spend some time talking to the children about why it is so amazing that God came to live among people. Talk about how for thousands of years God had spoken to people through his prophets, but now when Jesus came to earth he was actually among people, speaking with them face to face. If appropriate encourage one of the children to read aloud Hebrews chapter one verses one and two.

Song - 2 mins
To the tune ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’, traditional version

The Lord will show this sign to you,
A woman will have a Son,
She’ll name the Son Immanuel,
For God is with us now.

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