Editor’s note: CTA has a brand-new children’s theme for Christmas, God’s Promise Came True. You can order books, ornaments, goodie bags, magnets, Advent calendars—everything you need to draw children and families closer to our Savior this Christmas season! Today’s devotion is one of four FREE devotions that accompany the Countdown to Christmas Children’s Activity.
(Bring a small, plastic toy with you, wrapping it attractively in a large gift box with a bow. Prepare a toy catalog or advertising circular featuring toys. Create a description of your toy that wildly exaggerates what it is like, what it can do, and the fun kids will have playing with it. Tape your description to a catalog page and be prepared to read the ad to your group as though it belongs in the catalog.)
This time of year, lots of kids like to look through catalogs and ads like this one. Some kids like to look online, too. When you do that, what are you looking for? (Accept reasonable answers. We look for toys we might like to receive from Mom, Dad, or grandparents. We may also look for ideas of gifts to give siblings or friends.)
This catalog has a gift I would really have wanted when I was your age. Listen! (Read the exaggerated description you have created.)
What do you think? Wouldn’t that be a great Christmas gift? I really think so! In fact, I ordered one for us and wrapped it up. It’s not Christmas yet, but I think it would be okay to open just one gift today. Do you want to? (Build the group’s excitement as time will allow. Then have a volunteer or two unwrap the trinket and give it to you.)
Is there anything else in that box? (Nothing.) Are you sure? Well, this (sigh) is really disappointing! I can’t think of a time when I was more disappointed! Is this toy (hold it up) anything like the advertisement I just read to you?! The promises in the ad were BIG promises. Did the toy company keep those BIG promises? Not at all!
Long, long ago, the first people sinned. They disobeyed God. God had made them and he cared for them. In fact, he loved them very much. But they disobeyed him. Their sin ruined the beautiful home God had given them—the Garden of Eden. But God did not stop loving them. He could have, but he didn’t.
Instead, he made a BIG promise—the first promise of a Savior from sin. After that, again and again, God made even more promises, even bigger promises, about the Savior and what he would do. For many centuries, God sent prophets who wrote down more and more promises about the coming Savior who would wash away our sins.
Then, one day, the angel Gabriel came to a little town called Nazareth to see a young woman. Who knows her name? Yes, it was Mary. Gabriel had come from God to make more BIG promises about the Savior. While I read, listen for some of those promises. (Read Luke 1:32–33.)
Mary would be Jesus’ mother. What BIG promises about Jesus did you hear? (Accept volunteer responses.)
Yes, Mary’s Baby would be a great King—the King of Love. He would be God’s Son. He would rule his people, forgiving and protecting them forever! He would suffer and die in our place. He would make us friends of God, members of God’s very own family!
Those are BIG promises. Did God keep all the BIG, BIG promises he made? Or were his people disappointed? God kept every one of his BIG promises! Jesus was the very first Christmas gift. Jesus is the very best Christmas gift. He is our Savior—and we receive every one of God’s other BIG, BIG promises because of Jesus. Those who trust in Jesus need never, ever be disappointed!
Let’s pray: God, our heavenly Father, we thank you for keeping every one of your BIG promises, especially the promise to send a Savior. Thank you that, by faith in Jesus, every one of our sins is forgiven and you are our forever friend. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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