Whenever Mother’s Day rolls around, we take time to think of all that our mothers have done for us, and to appreciate and thank our moms with expressions of love. At the same time, though, the holiday can join the negative connotation of Valentine’s Day as a day for card companies and restaurants to make money by piling guilty obligations on loving families. In this lesson, we take a peek at how much God values motherhood and women, as evidenced by some amazing matriarchs in the Bible. There are trends of miraculous conceptions in both Old and New Testaments, and this lesson looks at some of those and the women behind them.
Age Range: Elementary ages (adaptable for older or younger)
Materials Required: Card-making supplies (markers, stickers, paper, cardstock); Bibles; Baby pictures and items.
Opening: Who could it be? Start off the lesson with a little guessing game…show students pictures of several famous celebrities as babies. See if they can guess who the babies are (or were, if historical figures). Include pictures of church members and Sunday school teacher, too! Also, show students pictures of the mothers of these people, seeing if they can match the mom to her baby. Explain that in this lesson we will be learning about some mothers in the Bible and what made them quite special.
Lesson: Throughout the Bible, we see examples of God’s power and providence. God’s agenda is to make His strength known, and He often communicated His capabilities through miraculous and unexpected birth stories. Often, these involved women who had given up on having children. In Bible times, having children was extremely important to carry on the family name and way of life—not to mention helping with chores and tasks. A barren womb was viewed as a curse and condemnation of sorts. God took these hopeless women and used their faith to accomplish amazing things. Consider the stories of a few key female characters:
Sarah (Sarai): the original miracle mother, really…Sarah did not at first believe when the angels prophesied regarding Isaac’s birth; but nothing was important with God and she really became the mother of nations. (Genesis 17-20)
Rebekah: Wife to Isaac (and therefore Sarah’s daughter-in-law), Rebekah was faithful to follow Isaac’s lead and worship God with him. She too was barren, but through prayer and faith gave birth to twins. Of course, this grew to be the infamous pair of feuding brothers, but that’s another story… (Genesis 24-27)
Hannah: Another geriatric conception, Hannah was one of two wives to Elkanah, and was a devout woman of prayer in spite of her empty womb. When God blessed her with a child, she gave him back over to the Lord, who used the boy as his prophet to the kings of Israel (1 Samuel 1-2).
Ruth: While Ruth may not be known as much for her motherhood as her loyalty to Naomi and romance with Boaz, the result of Ruth’s faithfulness and dedication was extremely significant. Through her constant efforts and willingness the lineage of Christ eventually came forth.
Elizabeth: Delving into the New Testament, Elizabeth was another barren woman chosen by God for amazing things…when God promised to give her a special son, her husband’s skepticism was punished by voiceless-ness until the birth of John the Baptist. (Luke 1)
Mary: Actually a cousin to Elizabeth, Mary is possibly the most well-known and celebrated Biblical mother. As the bearer of the Messiah, Mary experienced angel visitation, immaculate conception, and the honor of bringing forth the Son of God…of course, she also experienced the “sword pierced heart” predicted, no doubt being ridiculed for her pregnancy, suffering through the journey to Bethlehem, fleeing would-be assassins, and the pain of seeing her son crucified.
All of these women were significant mothers. But all of them were also willing to trust God in spite of what seemed impossible odds. Through that trust and acceptance, these ordinary women did amazing and extraordinary things.
Craft: It’s the big day! Allow children time to make cards for their mothers (or another female role model figure, if they choose). Include a special note, pictures, stickers, and unique ways to make the card a special token of care.
Close with prayer, thanking God for motherhood throughout history and especially for our own mothers and families. Thank God, also, for being our Heavenly Father and caring for us.