239 - The promise of a baby


15 minute Story planner

Luke 1
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 275

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

Before telling this story, introduce the characters: Zechariah and Elizabeth. Explain that when the Old Testament times had drawn to a close and the Romans were in charge of the land God had promised to Abraham, Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth lived in the hill country near Jerusalem. Zechariah was a priest and like many other Jewish people he and Elizabeth longed for God to send the Messiah. But Zechariah and Elizabeth longed for something else too… they longed to have a baby of their own. You may need to explain that in our story today the Messiah is called ‘the promised King’ because many people thought He would be a king like King David.

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Have you ever had a sore throat which changed the sound of your voice? Perhaps you’ve tried to speak and only a croak or a whisper has come out. When somebody gets a bad cold or a sore throat they might find it difficult to speak for a couple of days… but imagine losing your voice for months and months and months.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Beware of allergies, make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle the food used in this activity.

  • Cinnamon sticks*

  • ‘Don’t be frightened. God has heard your prayers.’ speech bubble (see Printables)

  • ‘How can I be certain?’ speech bubble (see Printables)

  • A pen and a piece of paper

    * The incense burnt by the priests in the Temple would be made up of many delicious-smelling spices; many people who study the Bible think that cinnamon was one of them.

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 - Something to draw
You will need: ‘what to draw’ textboxes (see Printables), a bowl, a timer, marker pens and large sheets of paper or white board.

Before the session print off and cut out the textboxes. Fold the textboxes at least once and place the folded paper in a bowl.

Divide your group into two teams. Ask one team to nominate an artist. The artist should pick a folded textbox from the bowl. Set the timer to one minutes and encourage the artist to draw the object or thing written on their paper. They must not speak or use actions. Meanwhile the other members of the team should try to guess what the artist is drawing. If the team guesses correctly before the one minute is up, the artist should pick a second textbox and start drawing a second object. After one minute, play must pass to the next team. After a couple of rounds, count how many times each team gave a correct answer. The team with the higher score is the winning team.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins

Father God, we think about Zechariah, so excited that he has been chosen to burn incense in the Temple.

Father we remember that at that time burning incense was an important part of drawing closer to you. Thank you that today we do not have to perform special duties or wait our turn; instead we can come boldly to you and know that you listen to our prayers.

Father we remember that Zechariah struggled to believe that what you said was true; Father God we pray that with the help of your Holy Spirit we learn and grow to trust you more and more each day. Amen

Alongside this story, make the craft...

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