Christmas delights children with flickering lights, brilliant Christmas tree decorations and all the brightly wrapped gifts. Sunday school teachers channel children's natural anticipation for Dec. 25 with lessons to recall the true spirit of the Christmas season. Christmas Sunday school lessons can emphasise the most humble and the most extravagant gift of all -- the gift of God-made flesh. As children eagerly wait to open their gifts, divert their attention with the mystery of the Incarnation.
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Advent Wreath Prayers
Advent occurs over the four Sundays before Christmas. As Christians prepare for the first coming of Christ, introduce a new sense of anticipation to Sunday school students. On the First Sunday of Advent, place an Advent wreath in the Sunday schoolroom. Gather students around the wreath. Ask a student to place a violet candle in the boughs of the wreath. Recite an Advent prayer expressing the ideas of anticipation, celebration and continued prayers throughout the season. Add candles and pray each Sunday. As the weeks pass, include students in responses after reading Bible passages of praise and preparation for the Incarnation event.
The angel of God announces to Mary that she is going to conceive a child who will rule a kingdom with no end. Mary replies with a prayer known as the Magnificat. Introduce older Sunday schoolchildren this prayer, which exemplifies Mary's humility, praise and gratitude. Take turns reading Luke 1:26-48, stopping to discuss the mystery of the event. Teach children the opening lines of the Magnificat, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my saviour. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed."
Young children understand the ideas represented in the Nativity scene. Include parents in a Sunday school Nativity lesson suggested by the website DLTK. Read John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." Give the children handouts to share with their parents. Include family discussion items, such as why Jesus was born and who visited the Christ child. Encourage children and parents to find their answers in the Bible.
The Christmas season does not end on Dec. 25. Introduce Sunday schoolchildren to Epiphany on the Sunday before Jan. 5. Provide closure to the Christmas experience by teaching a Sunday school Epiphany lesson. Bring handouts with the words and the symbols of the song. Sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with your Sunday school class. Discuss the symbols in the song as you snack on King's Cake.
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