Week 1 objectives: to discover that this verse comes from the book of Luke and to take a look at the angel’s special message.
Game - 7 mins
Aims: to play a game about babies before talking about announcing the birth of a child.
You will need: baby photographs of people that the children know well, printable photo frames and answer sheets (see Printables).
Print enough photo frames for the number of baby photographs you have. Spread the frames out on a table and place a photograph on top of each. Photocopy sufficient answer sheets for one between three or four children. Divide the children into groups of three or four. Encourage them to work together to work out who the babies are. When they think they know, encourage them to fill in their answer sheet.
An alternative game…
Play a game of ‘Bring me...’ using store catalogues
You will need: a large sheet of paper, shop catalogues that includes baby equipment (enough for one per group), scissors and a glue stick.
Draw a score chart on the large piece of paper with a column for each group. Divide the children into groups and encourage them to sit on the floor. Give each group a pair of age-appropriate scissors and a catalogue (or pages from a catalogue - making sure the pages include a variety of equipment). Sit slightly away from the groups but make sure each group is an equal distance from you. Call out the following items one at a time for the children to find: something to help a baby sleep, something to take a baby for a walk in, something quiet for a baby to play with, something noisy for a baby to play with, something to help keep a baby safe and something to keep a baby warm.
When they have found an item that fits the description the children need to quickly cut it out and bring it to you. Stick the first picture that is given to you onto the score chart, sticking it in the column of the team that cut it out. When you have asked for all of the items count up the number of pictures in each column. The team with the most pictures is the winning team.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a whiteboard or a large sheet of paper, marker pens, a Bible, a ‘message sign’ and ‘Messiah sign’ (see Printables), a piece of A4 card, glue stick, a baby announcement card and a photograph of you, or someone you know as a baby.
Before the session stick the ‘message sign’ to one side of the piece of card and the ‘Messiah sign’ to the other. Write the verse on a sheet of paper or whiteboard. Circle the word ‘Luke’ in the reference.
Explain that this verse comes from the book of Luke. ‘Luke’ is one of four Gospels that tell the story of Jesus’ life. Quickly draw a smiley facenext to the verse and write the name ‘Luke’ under it. People that have carefully studied the Bible think Luke was a doctor. They think Luke probably didn't know Jesus but he talked to people that did and wrote down what they told him.
Explain that when Luke wrote this verse he was writing about a group of shepherds. Tell the children that an angel suddenly appeared to the shepherds and said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy.” Point to the verse as you read it aloud.
Circle the word ‘message’. Ask the children if they know what the message was the angel was about to give to the shepherds. Respond positively to the children’s answers. Explain that the angel was about to tell the shepherds that Jesus had been born – the angel was about to announce the birth of Jesus.
If you have time quickly show the announcement card and the baby photograph. Talk about how parents tell their friends and family that their baby has been born.
Show the ‘message sign’ and read the message aloud. Explain that the angel called Jesus the Messiah. This made the message very exciting.
Spend a couple of minutes talking about the Messiah. Turn the message sign over and show the ‘Messiah sign’. ‘Messiah’ means ‘chosen one’. Hundreds of years earlier God had promised his people that he would send someone special to them. They called the person they were waiting for the Messiah. Nobody knew exactly when the Messiah was going to come or what he would be like, but they knew he was going to be special. Later the shepherds would find the baby the angel had spoken about. They would discover the baby was Jesus. They would discover that Jesus was the Messiah the people had been waiting for.
Song - 2 mins
To the tune of ‘The big ship sailed through the alley-alley-o’.
The angel said ‘now don't be afraid’,
‘Don't be afraid’, x 2
The angel said ‘now don't be afraid,
I have some good news for you.’
It’s a message that will fill everyone with joy,
Everyone with joy, x 2
It’s a message that will fill everyone with joy,
Fill everyone with joy.
You could do some simple actions: wag your finger as you sing ‘don't be afraid’. Hold your hands to receive a gift as you sing ‘good news for you’. Squat down then jump up as you sing ‘fill everyone with joy’.