Does anyone know what our national bird is? (Let the group speculate.) Yes, it’s the bald eagle. I don’t know for sure who nominated the eagle for this honor. One explanation goes like this. A number of eagles nested on the heights near the place where one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War was fought. Early in the morning, the sounds of that battle awakened the eagles. They left their nests and circled over the battlefield shrieking. The American patriots shouted to one another, “They are shrieking for freedom!”
Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey instead of the bald eagle, but the eagle had too many supporters. So, in 1787, the American Bald Eagle was officially adopted as the emblem of the United States. Now the eagle appears on the official seal of the U.S., on much of our money, and in other places, too.
Getting to the Heart
The Bible mentions eagles almost 30 times! In one of my favorite passages, God talks to his people about the way he rescued them from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. God says, “I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” (Exodus 19:4). It’s as though God swooped down, lightning fast, to rescue his people from the terrible trouble they were in.
Sometimes we, too, have terrible trouble. What kinds of trouble do grown-ups sometimes have? What kinds of trouble do kids your age sometimes have?
Those are serious troubles. But even when troubles come, we can trust God to help us. We know we can trust him because he has saved us from our worst trouble of all—our sin. He did that when he sent Jesus to die on the cross. Jesus was punished for the wrong things we have done. He died in our place. Then, three days later came alive again. He will never, ever die any more. He is our best friend forever! Jesus came to help us in this way, because no one else could help.
Still today when we have troubles or are in danger, God will work a miracle to help us. But sometimes, he sends other people to us. When might he send a police officer or fire fighter? When might he send a doctor or nurse? When might he send a teacher or parent? When might he send someone from the military? (As time will allow, let volunteers answer these questions.)
On November 11, we will celebrate Veteran’s Day. On that day, we thank God for the soldiers, sailors, air force personnel, Coast Guard, and Marines who have fought in wars to keep us safe and free. Some of these people fought long ago. Some are fighting right now. All of them made big sacrifices to serve us. Let’s thank God for them.
Taking It Home
(Have the children repeat each phrase of this prayer after you.)
Lord Jesus,/Thank you for dying for us on the cross./Your service has made us free/from sin and death forever./Thank you also for the people/who serve us in the military,/keeping us safe and free./Remind us to keep on thanking them/and you/for their service./Amen.
CTA has a number of patriotic products you might want to send home with students to remind them to pray for military personnel and first responders and to thank God for their sacrifice on our behalf.
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Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.