Editor’s note: This devotion is the second in a series of four we will share on this site during December—one each Tuesday in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Each devotion was written to be used by families and children’s ministers in connection with CTA’s new Good News, Great Joy Family Activity Kit for 2013. All four devotions can be downloaded for free from our website and distributed to the families in your church. We pray this resource will draw many children closer to their Savior.
Familiarize yourself with today’s devotion. Mark your Bible at Luke 2:1-7 so you can find it quickly during your presentation.
If some children did not receive the Good News, Great Joy puppet kits and family devotions last time, have some available to give them.
As you begin, slip the Mary puppet on one finger of your right hand and the Gabriel puppet on one finger on your left hand.
Most of you recognize these finger puppets from last time, don’t you? Who remembers these puppets’ names? (Invite volunteers to respond.) Yes, the angel’s name is Gabriel and the woman’s name is Mary.
How did Mary and the angel Gabriel meet? Yes, God sent Gabriel to earth to share some good news with Mary, the good news that she would have a baby. It would be Baby Jesus, our Savior.
What did Mary say when she heard this message? Yes, she said she was God’s servant. She would do what God had asked.
Getting to the Heart
Gabriel brought a simple message. It was a wonderful message—a wonderful, simple message about the very first Christmas ever.
Christmastime today isn’t so simple, is it? Sometimes, it isn’t even so wonderful! In fact, our Christmases nowadays can get busy, busy, busy, very busy! Our families have lots and lots and lots to do! With all the busy-ness and all the stuff to do, we can easily forget about the first Christmas and about the Baby Jesus. We can forget about the Good News and the Great Joy Jesus brings.
What keeps families so busy at Christmastime? (Let volunteers answer.) Yes, we may shop and shop and shop. We may go to party after party after party. We may bake and bake and bake. We may spend days and days finding just the right Christmas tree and decorating it. We may practice, practice, practice for special Christmas concerts and other events.
These are not bad things. We have fun doing most of them. Some of them bless us and many other people, too. But whose birthday is it, anyway? Yes, it’s Jesus’ birthday. What if it were your birthday, and all your friends got so, so busy getting ready, they forgot all about you!? That wouldn’t be so good, would it?
At Christmastime, Jesus wants us to think about him most of all. In wanting that, he is not being selfish or mean. Instead, he knows it is best for us! When we think about Jesus and his love for us at Christmastime, when we remember what a very, very, very good friend he is, that Good News brings joy to our hearts. Great joy!
I’m going to read part of the Christmas story from God’s Book right now. Listen, and be ready to tell me the part that brings great joy to you. (Read Luke 2:1-7. Use as much expression as possible, reading as though the children were hearing it for the first time. Some of them might be!)
What part of this story brings great joy to you? (Let volunteers respond.)
Why did Baby Jesus come to earth? (Again, let volunteers respond. Jesus was born to be our Savior.)
Baby Jesus didn’t stay a baby, of course. Like you and me, he grew up. Mary and Joseph cared for Jesus as he grew. Jesus became a great teacher. He did many miracles. He made sick people well and sad people happy.
Then one day, Jesus’ enemies arrested him. They killed him on the cross! Jesus died for our sins—for the bad things we do and for the good things we fail to do. Jesus took our punishment so we wouldn’t have to take it. That’s Good News!
And here’s the best news of all: Jesus didn’t stay dead. God brought Jesus back to life. Jesus is alive, and he will be our friend and Savior forever!
Last time, we learned a cheer about the Good News that brings Great Joy. If you remember it, join me. If not, listen and then join in when you know what to say:
(Clap on each X below.)
Good news! XX Great joy! XX
For every girl XX and every boy XX,
Older kids XX and grownups too—XX
Come, see what God has done for you! (Point at all the children and smile.)
Taking It Home
(After each line of the prayer, pause while the children repeat your words.)
Dear Jesus,/ thank you for Christmastime!/ Thank you for being born as a baby./ Thank you for dying for us/ and for being our Savior!/ Teach us to love you more and more./ Teach us to obey you more and more./ Let your great joy fill us/ today and always. Amen.
(If some children did not receive a Good News, Great Joy! Puppet Set and copies of the family devotions last week, send these home with them today. As you do so, remind each child that God wants them to know the Good News and have the Great Joy that Jesus brings.)
© 2013 CTA, Inc. Permission to make photocopies or reproduce by any other mechanical or electronic means is granted only to the original purchaser and is intended for use within a church or other Christian organization, but not for resale.