Week 1 objectives: to discover that Matthew and Luke wrote about the birth of Jesus and to find out who Matthew was.
Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play a Christmassy game and discover that the Christmas story is told in both the Gospel of ‘Matthew’ and the Gospel of ‘Luke’.
You will need: the matching pairs pictures (see Printables), ‘How to set out the pictures’ (see Printables) and a stop watch (optional).
If you have fewer than five children, include the helpers and teachers in the game. Print two sets of the pictures. Cut out the pictures as indicated and lay them face down on the floor. Set out the pictures as suggested or allow the children to arrange them themselves. Encourage a volunteer to turn over two pictures. If the volunteer turns over a matching pair they should place the pictures by their side. If the pictures do not match they should return them face down to the same position.
When a child has either collected a matching pair or returned their pictures to the floor, play passes to the next child. Continue playing the game until all the pairs have been selected. Count the number of pairs collected by each child.
For older children see how long it takes one child to find all the pairs. Encourage the children to take it in turns. The child should work as quickly as they can, turning over two cards at a time. If the cards match they should return them to their position but leave them face up. If they do not match they should return them face down to their positions. Use a stop watch and record how long it takes each child to find the pairs. Mix up the pairs before allowing another child to have a go. When all the children have had a turn, announce who took the shortest time to find all the pairs.
Spend some time talking about which pictures relate to the Christmas story and which don’t. Ask the children what the names ‘Matthew’ and ‘Luke’ have to do with the Christmas story.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: the pictures used in the game, a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, Bibles and marker pens.
Write the verse on the sheet of paper or whiteboard.Read the verse aloud and explain that this verse will help us lean more about the Christmas story.
Show the children the pictures with the names ‘Matthew’ and ‘Luke’. Explain that there are four Gospels in the Bible. Tell the children that the Gospels are the books that tell the story of Jesus’ life. Ask the children if they know who wrote the other Gospels. Briefly show the children the Gospels in a Bible. Explain that they are named after the people who wrote them: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Explain that both Matthew and Luke wrote about the birth of Jesus in their Gospels.
Underline the reference to the verse. Tell the children that this verse can be found in the Gospel of Matthew. Draw a stick person next to the verse and write the name ‘Matthew’ underneath. Matthew used to be a tax collector; he worked for the Romans collecting money. One day Jesus asked him to become one of his disciples. Matthew travelled with Jesus; he watched him and listened to him, then wrote down what he saw and heard. Everything he wrote down has been put into the book of Matthew. Explain that because ‘Matthew’ is the first Gospel it is also the first book in the New Testament.
Tell the children that when Matthew wrote this verse he was writing about the Christmas story. Explain that next week we will talk more about the verse.
Song - 2 mins
To the tune of ‘Once in Royal David’s city’
She will have a baby son,
Name him Jesus ‘cause he’ll save,
He will save all of his people,
From the wrong that they have done.
Matthew one verse twenty one,
Matthew one verse twenty one.