It’s the time of year for Christmas crafts and Christmas plays and Christmas carols. Our lessons are packed with tinsel and glitter. We’re making clay nativity scenes. We’re pretending to be wise men traveling to see Jesus.
Use this activity for a teaching moment for children ages 7-11.
In many ways, teaching children’s ministry at Christmas time is easy. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The story is familiar and it’s easy to teach. And yet, at the same time we need to ask ourselves, are we stuck in the manger? The manger is crucial to the story of Christmas. It reminds us that Jesus came fully God and fully man. The manger reminds us that Jesus came and tabernacled (John 1:14) with us.
But let’s make sure that we’re stepping back from the manger long enough to make sure the kids in our classes know why Jesus came as well as that He did.
Collect 3 pieces of paper and write the following instructions on them…
(1) WHO? Read Philippians 2:5-11 and answer the following question… Who is Jesus?
(2) WHAT? Read Philippians 2:5-11 and answer the following question… What did Jesus do?
(3) WHY? Read Philippians 2:5-11 and answer the following question… Why did Jesus come to earth?
And, make sure that all kids in the group have access to Bible and pencils
Start out by asking one of the kids in the group to briefly share the Christmas story. Then, ask if anyone can tell you why Jesus came to earth. Remind kids of sin and how sin was separating God from His people and how amazing it was that a perfect and holy and righteous God would choose to life among His sinful people.
Divide your group into three teams and explain that they’re going to do some research to figure out why Jesus came to earth as Emmanuel- God with us. Give each team one of the three “Who, What, Why?” pages, a Bible and something to write with. Don’t tell the kids that they’ll all be reading the same verses. Tell them to work together as a team to read the verses and answer the question on their page as completely as they possibly can.
After giving teams a few minutes to work through this activity, bring all three groups back together. Have one of the kids read the passage to the whole group and then give them a chance to present their findings to the rest of the group and talk through the various things that the groups found.
AFTER GROUPS HAVE PRESENTED:
SAY: “At Christmas we are reminded that Jesus is Emmanuel- He came to live with us. You guys just discovered the reason why Jesus came in the first place. He didn’t come to be a cute baby. He didn’t come to teach people how to be good and morally upright citizens. He didn’t come to heal people’s sick bodies. Jesus came to heal hearts and bring people back to a relationship with God by dying on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for sin so that God would be glorified.”
GET TO THE HEART OF THE GOSPEL: Read and talk through Philippians 2:5-11 again as a group and have kids point out all of the truths they see about Jesus in this passage. Then, have kids flip over to Revelation 5:9-13 and review why Jesus is only One worthy of all praise and worship~ He is to be praised because He died in our place. Remind the group that Jesus came to die on the cross and that’s the point of the Christmas story!
Optional: Use our free “Jesus” in the manger coloring page to add some bonus time to this lesson plan.