Why do we give and receive gifts at Christmas? How can we glorify God through Christmas presents? In this lesson, “Christmas Presents and Jesus,” children will learn that it’s more important to give than to receive because God gave us the best gift of all: Jesus! Children will also identify spiritual gifts that can be given in exchange or alongside physical gifts and be challenged to give freely to others this Christmas.
TARGET AGES: 10-14
OBJECTIVE: To help the students recognize that Christmas is about giving to others because God gave us eternal life through Jesus Christ.
MAIN IDEA: While physical gifts are good, spiritual gifts are even better! God gave us the best gift of all through Jesus, so we should share his love when we give to others.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Romans 6:23, Acts 20:35, Matthew 2:10-11
MATERIAL(S): white board, two different colors of large paper or small poster board, small prizes (optional)
Introduction (5 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “Lord, change our hearts to be more like you. Help us give to others as you have so freely given to us. Amen.”
ICE BREAKER QUESTION: Ask, “What is the best gift you’ve ever received? Why did that gift mean so much to you?” Explain that today’s lesson will teach us to be more concerned with giving than receiving this Christmas.
Lesson (20 minutes)
- Ask, “Does anyone know why we give gifts at Christmas?” After allowing some time for answers read Romans 6:23. Say, “Because God gave us the gift of eternal life through his son, Jesus, we should give the very best of ourselves to others.” Read Acts 20:35 and discuss why giving is better than receiving (because that’s what God did for us, giving draws others to him, it changes our hearts to be more like Christ, etc). Then read Matthew 2:10-11. Ask, “What physical items did the wise men give to Jesus (gold, frankincense, and myrrh)? What spiritual things did they give him (honor and worship)?” Clarify that the wise men combined amazing physical gifts with spiritual gifts. Say, “Christmas presents should be about more than just material possessions. We honor God when we also give spiritual gifts.”
- Apply the lesson by using the white board to list both physical and spiritual gifts we can give to others this Christmas. Ask, “How can we honor God through each of these gifts?” (For example, if a child suggests giving his friend a video game he could also invite the friend over to his house for an afternoon of fun and tell him more about Jesus.) Help the students realize that physical gifts have the most value when we combine them with spiritual gifts such as love, sacrifice, and humility.
“Gift of Eternal Life” Game (15 minutes)
Write Romans 6:23 on two different colors of large paper or small poster boards. Then cut each passage into 10-12 pieces and hide them throughout the room. Split the class into two groups and assign each group a color. Say, “To remind ourselves why we give gifts to others, search for your group’s pieces and put together Romans 6:23. The group who finds their pieces and puts them in the correct order first is the winner!” Consider bringing prizes for the winning group.
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is why we give gifts to others, so we bring glory to him when we use gift-giving opportunities to speak of his love.
CLOSING PRAYER: “God, remind us that it’s more important to give than to receive and help us share your love with others this Christmas. Amen.”