Week 3 objectives: to discover that the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and to talk about ways that God might speak to us today.
Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play a game about sleeping.
You will need: masking tape, a pillow, a blanket and a number of items you might find by someone’s bed: a book, a torch, a packet of biscuits, a drink of water, two or three cuddly toys and of course a Christmas stocking.
Before the session mark out a large rectangle on the floor approximately 1.5 x 2 metres in size. Place a pillow and a blanket inside the rectangle. Explain to the children that a volunteer will pretend to be asleep. While they are ‘sleeping’ the other children need to try and steal their belongings.
Ask for a volunteer and encourage them to lie down within the rectangle with their head on a pillow. Arrange the items next to, or on, the pillow. The stocking will need to go by the volunteer’s feet. One at a time encourage the remaining children to sneak up to the ‘sleeping’ volunteer and try and take one of their items. The volunteer should keep their eyes closed until they think someone is right next to them.
When they are sure somebody is nearby they should open their eyes. If, when they open their eyes, one of the children is within the rectangle that child is ‘out’ and needs to sit to one side. If however, nobody is within the rectangle the volunteer looses one of their three lives. Keep playing the game until all the items have been removed, all the children are ‘out’ or the volunteer has lost all three of their lives. If you have time repeat the game with a different volunteer.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, Bibles and marker pens.
Before the session 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.
Point to the reference. Remind the children that this verse comes from the Gospel of Matthew. Quickly show the children where to find the book of Matthew in a Bible. Point to the verse and remind the children that an angel said these words to Joseph. Remind the children that Joseph was engaged to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and they were about to get married. The angel told Joseph that Mary was going to have a baby. He told Joseph to call the baby Jesus.
Next to the verse draw a stick person and a very simple picture of an angel. For the angel, a stick person with triangular wings would be sufficient. Write the word ‘Joseph’ under the first stick person and ‘zzzz’ next to his head. Explain that the angel appeared to Joseph while he was asleep. Talk about the game the children have just played; ask the children if they sometimes have dreams that they can remember when they wake up. Point to the verse and explain that the angel said these words to Joseph in a dream. Read the verse aloud.
Ask the children why they think God sent the angel to speak to Joseph in a dream; why did the angel not appear to Joseph as he had to Mary? Explain that there is no right answers to these question as the Bible does not tell us why. Discuss the children’s answers. Tell the children that on two more occasions we hear that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream (Matthew 2:13,19). Talk about God giving people messages or speaking to them in a way that is best for them to hear and understand. Talk about the different ways God spoke to people in the Bible: through prophets (Jeremiah 8:11), through a voice that could be heard (Acts 9:4), through the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:12). If you have time find other examples in the Bible to share with the children.
Ask the children if they know of examples of God speaking to people today. Respond positively to the children’s answers. Talk about ways that we might hear from God. Explain that reading the Bible or having the Bible read to us is a great way to find out more about God’s love and how he wants us to live. The Bible is described as God’s Word as it says what he wants it to say. If possible give examples of experiences people in your church have had of hearing from God, or maybe your own experience of knowing God’s guidance.
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.