Whether it is celebrated and recognized or not, Halloween is well-known by most Americans. Yet many (adults as well as kids) are not so familiar with the holiday behind the origin of Halloween: All Saints’ Day! (After all, “Hallow’s Eve” must be the Eve to some Holy Day…).
So where did the holiday come from and what is it for? And just what is a Saint, anyway? This lesson will explore saints and how everyone can be a Saint who strives to do God’s will!
Lesson focus: We remember certain people in the church for doing great things, but anyone who loves and serves God can be great.
Passage: Matthew 5:1-12 (Beatitudes)
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Music, decorative supplies, magazines, construction paper, pictures of church leaders and “saints.”
Begin with some stereotypes of the “saint” idea. If possible, play some chanting-style music. Have children kneel and stand back up again, and display some pictures of early church leaders and saints. What is a saint? Is this what it takes to be a saint—a funny haircut, sacrificial lifestyle, and special church activity?
Explain (or remind) students that the church recognizes certain people as “saints” who have done amazing and extra special things in the church. There are many saints with which kids are already familiar, whether or not they realize it: St. Patrick, St. Valentine, St. Nicholas…many of our holidays honor these sacred people. Why? Most Saints have done something amazing and remarkable for God. We honor their memory just like we honor the memory of other family members who have passed on. Does anyone have a friend or family member (or even pet) that has been lost? Painful as that is, we can honor their memory by planting flowers, saying prayers, or just remembering. We do the same for God’s family.
The really special thing is that no special canonization or graveside ceremony is needed to be special in God’s eyes and do great things for Him. Why do we have such positive memories and treasures of our family members and friends? It isn’t how much money they spent on us or how many hours they worked; they spend time with us and communicate their love. Well, we can do that for God in all sorts of unique ways.
Take a look at the Beatitudes for some examples of what is great in God’s eyes:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
What does this mean? Go through the wording for younger students who might not understand. For older kids (and young as well), emphasize that Christ’s definition of “fame” and positive attributes may be different from our normal interpretations. Point out that Jesus looks at the heart issues, what is on the inside of our being. This may not be a new concept, but can never be stressed enough in this day and age. Brainstorm with kids how they can demonstrate these principles in their own lives.
Craft: Blessings and beauty collage. Using paper, decorations, and old magazines, find pictures of things that make you unique in God’s eyes. Try to stay away from typical ads and images of “perfection” and choose instead things that remind students of what they can do for God and how to be remembered as His servant first and foremost. Encourage students to post their collage in a spot they will see often to remind them to follow Him.
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Thank Him for giving us Jesus and for giving our lives special meaning. Ask Him to help direct our paths and show what His purpose for us is.