"The Heart of Giving" Christmas Lesson with Poinsettias

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Here is another lesson option for your children’s church or Sunday school leading up to Christmas. Much of this lesson plan is built around a popular storybook, but you could also teach the main points without the book simply using your Bible. You may find the Poinsettias craft & game useful as stand-alone Christmas activities.
We welcome your feedback and would love to hear how you adapt this materials for your home, church, or school. Simply click here to add your comments to this lesson.
Bible Lesson: The Heart of Giving
Scriptures: Mark 12:41-44
Target Age Group: 1st – 5th grade
Time: 45-60 minutes

Learning Activity #1:  Bible Lesson “The Heart of Giving”

Supplies needed:  The Legend of the Poinsettia, by Tomie dePaola ; a Poinsettia flower
1. Ask: Does anyone know what a legend is?  (Answer:  A story or myth that has been told for several generations.)
What are some well known legends?  (Robin Hood, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the Fountain of Youth, Paul Bunyan, etc.)
Today we’re going to read a popular legend that originated in Mexico.  As we read this story, I want you to think about the meaning behind it.  What does it teach us about giving gifts?
2. Read: The Legend of the Poinsettia, retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola (Check with your local library before purchasing a copy.  It is a popular book by a well-known author, so there should be multiple copies available.)
The Legend of the Poinsettia is a Mexican story about a little girl who gives armfuls of weeds to the Christ child, because it is all she has to offer.  She is embarrassed by her gift and wishes that she could give more.  However, when the weeds were presented to Jesus, they flowered at his manger and became what we know as the Poinsettia.  In Mexico, these flowers are called flor de fuego (fire flower), flor de Navidad (Christmas flower), and flor de la Nochebuena (flower of the Holy Night).
3. Ask the following questions:
What did Lucida want to give to Jesus?  (A beautiful blanket that her mom and her had made together)
Why wasn’t she able to give the blanket?  (Because her mom got sick and it wasn’t able to be finished)
Why did Lucida think that she ruined Christmas?  (Because she tangled up the blanket offering and didn’t have anything else to give.)
What did Lucida give to Jesus instead?  (Weeds)
Lucida was sad about this.  How do you think God felt and why?  (Happy because she was giving all she had, with a humble heart)
Do you think that the weeds really turned into Poinsettias right there at the manger?  (Probably not; that’s what makes this story a legend! But it is true that God often takes the tough times in our lives and turns them into something beautiful, as we follow Him.)

4. Scripture: There’s a story in the Bible that also teaches us something about gift giving.  Since it is found in God’s Word, we know that it is true; it is not just a legend.  As we read these verses, think about how these two stories are the same.  Turn to Mark 12:41-44.  (This is the story of the Widow’s Offering.)
5. Discuss the following questions:

What is a widow?  (A woman whose husband has died)
How else is she described in these verses?  (We know that she is poor)
What did the rich people give to the temple?  (Large amounts of money)
What did the widow give?  (Two coins, worth less than one penny)
What did Jesus think about her gift?  (He loved how she gave from her heart, the best of what she had.)
How are these two stories similar?  (Both talk about giving your best, even if it doesn’t seem like a lot.  God was pleased with both of the gifts given.)

6. Conclude the lesson by saying: There is no question that God looks at our hearts when we give.  From God’s Word, it seems as though He looks for three things when we give:
a. Great Attitudes (Not being upset about giving)
b. Humility in Giving (Not giving so that others can see)
c. Our Best (Not giving Him leftovers)
This Christmas season and all year long, we can give God the gifts of our time, money, possessions, thanksgiving, talents, and most importantly, our lives.  Let’s try to give with great attitudes.  Let’s try to be humble and give what we have quietly.  Let’s try to give Him our best.  Even if all we have is weeds or two small coins; if given in love, these gifts would be as beautiful as the Poinsettia flower, in His eyes.

Learning Activity #2:  Art Project, as designed by BJ Russell (our resident artist)

Supplies needed (for each child):  6 petals traced on red construction paper, 2 leaves traced on green construction paper, green markers, one small yellow square cut-out, five small pieces of yellow tissue paper, glue sticks, scissors, 5 glue dots, and only 1 crimper. (Check with art teachers or scrap bookers for acquiring this tool instead of purchasing one.  The project can still be completed without one, but it does add a nice dimension!)
1. Write name on the yellow square.
2.  Draw veins on the leaves.
3.  Cut out petals and leaves.
4.  Have a teacher or assistant roll pieces through the crimper.
5.  Glue petals and leaves to the blank side of the yellow square and to each other, in the form of a Poinsettia flower.
6.  Crumple the yellow tissue paper and glue on the front side of the flower with glue dots.

Learning Activity #3:  Game “Poinsettia Word Find!”

Supplies needed:  chalk board or whiteboard, dry erase markers or chalk, scrap paper and utensils for students, if they are working in teams
1.  Post the word “Poinsettia” on a chalkboard or whiteboard.
2.  Have the students work collectively or in smaller teams to figure out how many words can be formed out of the letters in “Poinsettia.”
Here are some suggestions to get you started:  pen, set, it, at, pat, pet, in, sin, tea, pin, tin, ton, top, tip, pit, sit, sat, pot, not, sip, sap, past, paste, post, stain, paint, pain, neat, net, ten, tape, saint, on, noise, etc!

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