238 - Hoping and praying


15 minute Story planner

Luke 1
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 274

Messiah means ‘anointed with oil’ or ‘chosen one’. Jesus is the ‘chosen one’. Jesus was born in the land that had been called Israel; the land that God had promised to Abraham. Many armies had invaded the land but at the time when Jesus was born the Romans were in charge. The Romans were tough; they wanted the Jewish people to follow their rules and pay money to their leaders. It was difficult for the Jewish people to live under the rule of the Romans.

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about 'The life of Jesus FlashCards' cards one to two

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Do you have an advent calendar at home? Does it feel like a really long wait until Christmas day?

Many, many years ago the Jewish people had a long wait too. They were waiting for the special person God had promised. Nobody knew exactly when the special person would come or what he would be like. The Jewish people thought he might be a soldier or a king like King David. ‘Will He be a warrior king?’ they thought ‘or a good and just king?’ They called the special person they were waiting for the Messiah.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • ‘A warrior king!’ thought bubble (see Printables)

  • ‘A good king!’ thought bubble (see Printables)

  • A picture of a Roman soldier from a library book or the internet (beware of copyright regulations)

  • A Roman soldier dressing-up outfit - optional

Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Take a look at an advent wreath
You will need: pictures of advent wreaths from the internet (beware of copyright regulations) and/or some unlit candles and green foliage.

Some children will be familiar with advent wreaths. Talk to the children about where they might have seen an advent wreath before. If you have one in your church ask the children to describe what it looks like. Briefly talk about the meaning of the advent wreath. Explain that the circle of the wreath reminds us that God’s love goes on forever; just like a circle God’s love does not have a beginning or an end. The red candles are for the four Sundays in Advent. The first Sunday is the nearest Sunday to 30th November. Each Sunday one of the candles will be lit. Usually somebody will say a prayer and read a passage from the Bible. If you light advent candles in your church try and find out the readings that will be used this advent.

Advent is about waiting and getting ready. It is about the past, the present and the future. The time of Advent reminds us that in the past people waited and waited for the Messiah; they longed for the day when the special person God had promised would come. Today the time of Advent helps us to think about our own preparations for Christmas. It helps us think about our friendship with Jesus and His importance in our lives today. Finally the time of Advent is a reminder that Christians all around the world believe that one day Jesus will come back to earth as the triumphant King.

The last candle of the wreath is lit on Christmas Day; it reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the world.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins

Father God we think about the story. We imagine the Jewish people waiting and waiting, year after year for the special person to arrive. We think about the questions they may have asked one another: ‘What will he look like?’ ‘Will he be strong and mighty or will he be gentle and kind?’ Father we thank you that we know that the special person is Jesus. Father, thank you for sending Jesus to live among people.

Father we love to hear about the Christmas story, we love to hear of the surprise, the joy and the excitement that surrounded the arrival of your Son. As we wait for Christmas Day this year help us to remember the waiting that took place thousands of years ago. As the excitement builds help us to think again about the wonderful joy that knowing you as our close friend brings. Amen.

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.

Alongside this story, make the craft...

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