The birth of John the Baptist was a miracle in itself, as Elizabeth was elderly and barren. Once John was grown he prepared the world for Jesus. The Israelites had been waiting for Jesus for thousands of years so it must have been hard to believe that He was finally here. John’s role in all of this was to help create belief among the people. This lesson focus’ on the miracle of John’s birth to Elizabeth and Zechariah and his role in preparing the world for Jesus, God’s ultimate gift to us.
Lesson Title: The Birth of John the Baptist
Bible Reference: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80; Isaiah 9:6
Target Age Group: Preschool
Learning Context: Children’s Church
Target Time Frame: 1 ½ hour
Learning Aim: God sent John to prepare the world for Jesus.
Focus Verse: “Praise the Lord because He has saved His people!” Luke 1:68
- Music CD from Sunday School Hour
- Jingle Bells
- Construction Paper
- Christmas Bows
- baby doll, blankets, angel wings and halo, a cradle or box that you can pretend is a cradle, sandals, etc. for dramatic play area
- Small dolls or action figures for the block area
You say the Italicized words. Non-italicized words are directions.
Bible Story: John the Baptist Is Born
You say the Italicized words. Non-italicized words are directions.
As you read the story invite the kids to play along by showing emotions such as happiness and fear on their faces.
Say: A long, long time ago a man named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth lived. They had a normal life and they were elderly and happy (Ask the kids to show you their best happy face) but they did not have any kids. One day an Angel came to see Zechariah. He appeared out of no where! (Ask the kids to show you their best surprised face). The angel said that Zechariah and Elizabeth were going to have a baby boy! His name would be John and he was going to be a very special child. He was going to get everyone ready for Jesus! (Show me your excited face). Elizabeth was very happy to finally have a baby. (Show me your happy face).
This baby wasn’t just any baby. He was John the Baptist and when he grew up he told everyone that Jesus was coming. Also, John and Jesus were cousins! Last week we talked about how the people had to wait a very long time for Jesus to come to the earth. But now Jesus is almost here! (Show me your excited face again).
Whenever John was born, his father Zechariah praised God, saying, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” Luke 1:68. Redeemed is a fancy word that means that He saved them. Let’s practice saying the verse together. A simpler way to say this would be “Praise the Lord because He has saved His people!” Let’s say it together: “Praise the Lord because He has saved His people!”
Ok, now I’m going to ask you a few questions and you yell out the answer. Ready?
- Who was going to have a new baby? Zechariah and Elizabeth.
- What was the baby’s name? John
- Who is going to be John’s cousin? Jesus!
Very good! Let’s keep praising God all day because He has saved His people.
Jingle Bell Game
Before the Activity: You will need a jingle bell for each child. Make a simple obstacle course in the classroom. For example: Have the kids zig-zag through the chairs and then crawl under the table. Make it as simple or elaborate as you want.
Say: Zechariah was so surprised to find out that they were having a baby that he didn’t believe the angel at first. Because he didn’t believe, Zechariah was not able to speak until John was born. How would you feel if you couldn’t talk all of a sudden? As soon as John was born Zechariah opened his mouth and was able to speak again. Zechariah knew that it was impossible for his wife to have a baby because she was old but God can do the impossible and Elizabeth had a baby.
Now, let’s play a game where you cannot make any noise. It’s going to be hard so let’s see if you are up for the challenge.
To play the game give each child a jingle bell. They must make it through the obstacle course carrying the jingle bell but they cannot let the bell ring. Talk about how John couldn’t speak and tell the class that their jingle bell is like their voice; they cannot let it ring until they are done with the obstacle course. Once everyone is finish they may ring their bells and encourage them to say, “Praise the Lord because He has saved His people!” Which is the simple version of Luke 1:68.
Craft: Decorate a Baby Blanket for John
Say: Once Zechariah and Elizabeth realized that Baby John was coming they had to get everything ready for a new baby. Let’s work together to make a quilt for baby John. Everyone will color one part of the quilt and then we will put all the pieces together to make a quilt. John and Jesus were cousins so I want you to draw a picture of your family.
Give each child a piece of construction paper to decorate. While they work, talk about how John was coming to get everyone ready for Jesus. On one piece of paper write the Bible verse, Luke 1:28. When everyone is done tape or staple all the pictures together and hang the blanket up where everyone can see it.
Say: It is a lot of work getting ready for a baby. Once John was born he grew up and told everyone that Jesus was finally coming. Can you praise God for sending Jesus? What is something that you can say to praise God?
Jesus is a Gift Game
Say: Jesus is a gift from God. Do you remember our Bible verse from last week? The prophet Isaiah said, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus is called wonderful, mighty, everlasting and peace. He is the best thing that God could ever give us.
Now, let’s play a little game with gift bows. Bows like this go on the top of presents to make them look pretty. We are going to use them to play a game.
To play the game give each child a Christmas bow and have them put it on their head. Then, give them commands such as walk around the room, jump, clap, stomp, give high fives, twirl, etc. Whoever keeps the bow on their head the longest is the winner.
Dramatic Play Centers
For dramatic play centers, interact with the kids and talk to them about the today’s story as they play. You can have half of the kids play in option 1 and the other half in option 2 and then switch or just pick one activity and have everyone play together. Encourage them to act out today’s story and talk about how exciting it is that Jesus is coming. Make sure that the class understands that they need to work together and include everyone.
Option 1: Provide items for the kids to act out the story of John’s birth. A good selection of items would be a baby doll, blankets, angel wings and halo, a cradle or box that you can pretend is a cradle, sandals, etc. Use whatever you have and let the kids use their imaginations.
Option 2: Provide blocks and small dolls and encourage the kids to ‘prepare’ a home for Jesus. They could build him a stable for him and use the dolls to play.
When you are finished say: What do you think it would be like to be alive at the same time as John and Jesus? What would you say to Jesus if you could talk to Him? The good news is that we CAN talk to Jesus. Jesus is our Savior and He is alive today. We talk to Him when we pray. Let’s take a minute now and pray together. Pray or ask a child to pray to close the lesson. Thank God for sending Jesus to us!