THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
Lesson 1: Gabriel Visits Mary
After completing this Sunday school lesson, children will learn that God has great things in store for all of us as we live lives that are pleasing to Him.
Angels, Birth of Jesus, Christmas, Mary, Pleasing God
AS KIDS ARRIVE (10 minutes)
Give an index card and pencil to each child as they arrive. Ask them to write down at least four things about themselves that make them likeable. When everyone has at least four things, collect all the cards. Then read them one by one to the class and have the kids try to guess who it is. After everyone has guessed, let the owner of the card speak up. How many did each child guess correctly?
This activity will prepare the kids to think about characteristics that are pleasing to God. They will also use this information as a reference during the scripture reading discussion questions.
OPENING PRAYER AND PRAISE (5 minutes)
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MEMORY WORK (12 minutes)
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12 NIV
Missing Vowels (Memory Verse Puzzle) Click here
SCRIPTURE READING AND DISCUSSION (15 minutes)
Many years ago in Galilee, in a town called Nazareth, there lived a young woman named Mary. She was about to be married. During those days, it was customary for girls to be promised to be given away as young brides as soon as they reached puberty, which is about twelve years old. This custom was called betrothal, or engagement. The girl's parents had a lot to do with these decisions, not like today where the man and woman decide if they want to get married. A betrothal is not a practice in our culture today, but that was not the only unusual thing about Mary's engagement. She also had a strange visitor just before she was married. This visitor gave her news that was not only surprising, but it turned out to be Good News for all ages to come. Our story today is found in Luke 1:26-38.
Read Luke 1:26-38 (Jesus' Birth Foretold)
Have the kids find this story in their Bibles. Ask for volunteers to read the passage, or if you prefer you can read it to the children.
1. Does anyone know the significance of Gabriel's visit being on the 6th month? (Refer to Luke 1:5-25 for background information. Gabriel also visited Zechariah before the birth of John the Baptist, who was to be a prophet of the most high, and a forerunner of Jesus. Zechariah's wife was named Elizabeth, who was also Mary's cousin. John needed to be born before Jesus so he could tell the people to get prepared for the arrival of Jesus. The angel visited Mary about six months after John the Baptist was conceived.)
2. How did Mary react when Gabriel greeted her? (She was troubled at the greeting.)
3. After telling Mary not to be afraid, what was the Good News that Mary received? (She will give birth to a son named Jesus. He would be great, and called the Son of the Most High.)
4. Why was Mary chosen to be the mother of Jesus? (She found favor with God. See Luke 1:28.)
5. God was pleased when Mary surrendered to His Will and became obedient to Him. What other characteristics do you think Mary may have had that were pleasing to God? (The kids may want to refer to the list they created when they arrived.)
6. How about you? In what ways can you be pleasing to God, your parents, or your friends? Will others see you as a good person with these characteristics? (Allow for discussion.)
CLASS EXERCISE (15 minutes)
Knock-Knock (Game) Click here
APPLICATION (2 minutes)
There are many words in the English language that mean "pleasing to God". Virtue, goodness, holiness, righteousness, honor, uprightness, integrity, and morality are a few. When these characteristics are missing, the person is not complete. Just like a memory verse with missing vowels. But a person who is pleasing to God and pleasing to others can be used in a mighty way. That's how God used Mary above all the other virgins to be the mother of His only Son. How wonderful! Who knows what great things are in store for all of us as we live lives that are pleasing to God.
Do you know who your grandfather is? How about your great-grandfather? How about your great-great-grandfather? Next week, we will discover who the great-grandfather of Jesus was, with great said 38 times. Any guesses?
CLOSING PRAYER (2 minutes)
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TAKE HOME PAGE
Give one copy to each child at the end of the class to take home. Click here for NIV or KJV [PDF]