Week 4 objectives: to discover what Jesus’ name means and to think about what Jesus came to save people from.
Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play a game about names.
You will need: paper plates (Christmassy plates would make the game more festive), a thick red pen, a thick green pen, a pillow case or a large Christmas stocking.
Stick a strip of masking tape to the floor of your teaching space – this will be the ‘start line’. Write the first letter of each child’s Christian name on the back of a paper plate using the red pen. Write the first letter of each child’s surname on the back of a paper plate using the green pen. If more than one child has a name that begins with the same letter only put the letter in once. Place the paper plates in the bag. Each paper plate should have one letter on it.
Stand as far away from the start-line as your teaching space allows. Place your hand in the bag and pull out a plate. If the letter is written in red pen all the children whose Christian name begins with that letter should take a step forward. If the letter is written in green pen all the children whose surname begins with that letter should take a step forward.
Place the plate back in the bag. Pull out a second plate and call out the letter. Repeat as above. Continue playing until one of the children has reached you. If you have time play the game again.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, a baby names book, Bibles and marker pens, box of crosses (see Printables) and sticky tac.
Print and cut out the box of crosses. Write the verse on the sheet of paper or whiteboard. Read the verse aloud and explain that this verse will help us learn 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 in a dream.
Underline the phrase ‘name him Jesus’. Remind the children that an angel told Joseph to call the baby ‘Jesus’. Explain that, just as each of our names have a meaning, the name ‘Jesus’ has a meaning too. Show the children the baby names book. If the children haven’t done so before, spend some time finding out what their names mean. Tell the children that the name ‘Jesus’ means ‘Saviour’. Ask the children if they know what a saviour does. Respond positively to the children’s answers. Explain that a saviour rescues people; he/she saves people from the trouble they are in. We sometimes like to hear stories about ‘saviours’ like Superman or Spiderman – but Jesus is the real Saviour; he came to earth to save everybody everywhere.
Ask the children what they think Jesus came to save people from. Underline the phrase ‘He will save his people from the wrong things they have done’. Read the phrase aloud. Explain that the wrong things people have done spoil and separate them from God. You might like to explain that God calls the wrong things people do sin. Draw a stick person next to the verse. Write the word ‘God’ next to the stick person. If you are using a whiteboard draw lots of tiny crosses between the stick person and the word ‘God’. If your verse is written on a sheet of paper stick the ‘box of crosses’ between the person and the word ‘God’.
Explain to the children that it makes God really sad when people do wrong things because the wrong things spoil and separate. God loves people and wants to be close friends with them. Father God sent his Son Jesus to save people from the wrong things they have done. Jesus made a way for people to be forgiven; Jesus made a way for the wrong things that separate people from God to be taken away. Rub out the crosses or remove the box of crosses. Now, because of Jesus everybody everywhere can say ‘Yes’ to God’s love and forgiveness and become close friends with him.
Explain that this is great news – God sent His Son Jesus to live with people. He came to earth as a baby and grew up to be a man. The angel told Joseph to call the baby, ‘Jesus’, which means Saviour, because one day he would save everybody everywhere from the wrong things they have done; they would be saved from a life without God. Today Christians believe that Jesus is the Saviour of the world.
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.