Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Simeon and Anna to teach kids what our greatest desire should be.
Needed: Volunteer to play Simeon, pieces of paper with phrases from Luke 2:29-30 written on them, poster board or drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils
Review Activity: Creative Storytelling
Remind students that angels appeared and told the shepherds about the birth of Jesus. Split the students into groups of three and tell them they have to tell the story of the angels and shepherds in a new way. They can act it out, make up a song or rap about it, tell a joke about it, or anything else they think of. Give them a few minutes to plan and rehearse, and then, each group will present to the class.
Ask students, If you could have anything, what would it be? What is your greatest wish in life?
Have any of you ever had to wait for something? What’s one thing you had to wait for?
(The leader should share a story of a time they had to wait for something.)
Well, there was a man in the Bible who had to wait a really long time for something. Let’s meet this man now and hear his story.
Ask “Simeon” to come in. He’ll tell the following story based on Luke 2:22-40 .
Simeon: Hello, everyone! My name is Simeon and I want to tell you about the best day of my life. It was the best day of my life because I got my greatest wish on that day. You see, the prophets in the Bible had been telling us for hundreds of years that Jesus was going to come. Oh, they didn’t call Jesus by name. They would just say the Messiah was coming or the Savior or something like that. And they kept giving us hints of what this Messiah, this Savior, this Jesus, would be like and they kept giving us hints about what He would do and how He would save us.
Well, my greatest wish was to see Jesus, the Messiah and Savior, and when I was an old man, God promised me that I would see Jesus. God told me I wouldn’t die until I saw the Savior. So, I just kept waiting. And then, one day, it happened! God suddenly told me to go to the Temple, the church of those days, and I did. And do you know what happened? In walked Mary and Joseph, carrying baby Jesus! Jesus was only eight days old, but I knew He was the one. I knew that He was the Savior.
I ran over to Him and picked Him up in my arms and I said, “Praise God! I have seen the Savior! I can die a happy man because this was my greatest wish.”
But I wasn’t the only one there that day who was waiting to see Jesus. A prophetess named Anna, a very old woman, who was always at the church, came up and started talking to all the people and telling them about Jesus and what He would do. It was a very special do for both of us.
(Have students thank Simeon for sharing his story and then review their learning with the following questions.)
What did Simeon want most in the whole world? What was his greatest wish? (To see Jesus.)
And that should be our greatest wish, too. We should want more than anything to see Jesus. And God promises that if we believe in Jesus, we will see Him one day because if we believe in Jesus, we will die and go to Heaven and then, we will see Jesus every day because we will live forever with Him and God in Heaven.
What did Anna do in this story? Do you remember? She was an older prophetess, waiting in the church, and when she saw Jesus, she did what? (She told everyone who was there about Jesus.)
Why is it a good thing to tell people about Jesus?
Because God has said that anyone who does anything wrong, anyone who sins, has to die and go to Hell for their punishment. But, if we believe in Jesus, Jesus is our Savior, who saves us from going to Hell when we die because Jesus already died for our sins and went to Hell for us when He died on the cross. Now, if we believe in Jesus, we don’t have to go to Hell when we die. Instead, we can go to Heaven and live with God and Jesus forever.
But if we don’t tell people about Jesus, then they can’t believe in Him. And they have to believe in Him to be able to go to Heaven and not Hell. So, that’s why we have to tell people about Jesus, like Anna did. We want to help people believe in Jesus and go to Heaven when they die.
Game: Finding Our Greatest Wish
Write our print out Luke 2:29-30. Then, rip them into phrases and hide the different pieces of paper around the room. Students have 5 minutes to find all of the pieces and assemble the verses in order.
Quoted here in the NIV: “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation…” Luke 2:29-30.
When students finish, explain that Simeon was telling God that he was ready to die because He had seen Jesus.
Re-hide the pieces and play again if you wish.
Optional Game: Anna Telephone or Anna Tag
If you have time, play one of the games from last week’s lesson, substituting Anna and her example of sharing about Jesus for the angels and shepherds.
If you play Anna telephone, you could start with messages, like:
- Jesus is the Teacher we all need to listen to.
- Jesus will die on the cross for all of our sins.
- Jesus will die one day, but then, God will bring Him back to life.
Classroom Craft: Who Needs to Know?
Hang up a poster board or a grouping of drawing paper sheets in your classroom. Remind students that the shepherds told people about Jesus and Anna told people about Jesus. We also need to tell people about Jesus so that they can go to Heaven when they die.
Ask them to think about people they know and maybe even groups of people they don’t know and have them write or draw those persons on the board. Suggestions could be family members, friends, neighbors, the workers at stores they go to, and people in other countries.
When they’re finished, say that you’re going to pray for the people on the board.
Lord, You are the best thing we could ever ask for. Like Simeon said, we just want to see You one day. And right now, we want to pray for anyone who doesn’t know You. Please be with the people on our board today and help us to tell them about You whenever we get a chance. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Miracle Children.