Gather several sheets of red construction paper and a pair of scissors. Draw a half-heart shape where you plan to fold the paper. Familiarize yourself with this devotion. Practice cutting heart and cross shapes so you can seamlessly present the devotional ideas while you cut.
If you will be speaking to a large group, think about where you can sit or stand so that everyone can easily see you. Also, gather the My Valentine from God items you plan to present to your listeners. Think about how to distribute the items easily and quickly so that each child gets one. If your group is large, you may want to ask a volunteer or two to help.
Warmly greet the children and invite them to sit down on the floor near you. Place the items you have brought nearby, perhaps in a bag or box. Invite the children to watch as you make something from the red paper. Fold the paper and cut it to make a small heart shape. Hold up the completed heart so that listeners can see and identify what you’ve made.
Getting to the Heart
Continue cutting increasingly larger heart shapes out of the same sheet of paper as you begin the lesson.
These hearts remind me of a special day that happens this month. Can you tell me what day we celebrate in February? Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day. How do we celebrate that day? (Let volunteers respond.)
On Valentine’s Day we remember special friends and family members, people we love. Sometimes we get to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a party. We may play games and eat Valentine’s Day snacks. Sometimes we exchange Valentines cards. Often the cards are shaped like these hearts. Why do people exchange Valentines? (Let volunteers respond.) Yes, Valentines let us tell other people that we love and care about them.
(Hold up a few of the hearts you have cut out.) Wow! Look at all the hearts! That’s a lot of love, isn’t it? But did you know that I can cut a different shape that shows a much, much bigger love? Watch as I make the shape to show the biggest love in the world! (Fold and cut a cross from the red construction paper. Carefully unfold the paper to reveal the cross. Hold the cross up so that all of your listeners can see it.)
Why do you think I made a cross? How does a cross show the biggest love of all? (Let volunteers respond.)
On the very first Christmas Day, God sent a Valentine to us—to you and me. That Valentine was shaped like a baby—the little Baby Jesus. Jesus grew up and did many, many kind, good things. Jesus made sick people well and sad people happy. Jesus even brought dead people back to life! Despite all this, Jesus had many enemies. They hated him, and one day they killed him on a cross!
Jesus died on that cross for you and me. He died instead of us. He died so that our sins could be forgiven. He died in our place so that we would not have to be punished for all the sins we have done.
Think about God’s Valentine as you listen to what the Bible tells us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). That’s a LOT of love, isn’t it! It’s the best Valentine we will ever get! God loves us so very much that he sent Jesus—his only Son, to be our Savior.
Jesus left his home in heaven and became one of us, a true human being. Jesus was God’s Valentine to us! Jesus obeyed all of God’s laws for us. Then Jesus died—not for his own sins, but for our sins. Jesus loved us that much—enough to die for us, so that we can be saved. But Jesus did not stay dead. God brought Jesus back to life on the very first Easter. We call that day Resurrection Day, and it’s the happiest day of all! Jesus is alive! He has risen! When we believe in Jesus, he is our friend forever. When our lives here on this earth end, Jesus will take us to live with him and with each other. Our joy will never, ever end!
I think God’s Valentine—our Savior Jesus—is the very best Valentine of all! Don’t you?!
Taking It Home
Teach the children the following song, using the tune “London Bridge.”
Jesus is my Valentine!
Jesus is my Valentine.
His cross says so!
Let’s pray together to thank our heavenly Father for sending Jesus, our best Valentine:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for loving us so much! Thanks for sending Jesus to be our forever Friend, Valentine, and Savior. We love you, Lord. Help us show your love to others on Valentine’s Day and share it every other day, too. Amen.
Distribute the My Valentine from God items to the children. As you do so, remind each child, “Jesus loves you very much!”