This free Bible lesson is based on Mark 1:1-8 where John the Baptist prepares the people for Jesus. It is designed for children’s church or Sunday School. Please modify as best fits your ministry.
If your church follows the Revised Common Lectionary, this teaching plan would correspond to Year B – 2nd Sunday in Advent, Gospel Reading – Mark 1:1-8.
Opening Activity – Preparing for Jesus – Preparing for Christmas
Supplies – paper, drawing utensils
Give each child a piece of paper, and invite them to draw a picture of something their family has done to get ready for Christmas. (decorating the tree, wrapping gifts, setting up the nativity, etc.) Then share with the class to see how they are the same or different.
Lesson – Preparing for Jesus
I absolutely LOVE Christmas time! Do you? I thought you might!
Actually, when I think about it, I can’t think of a single thing about Christmas that I don’t LOVE.
I love watching Christmas movies. I love singing Christmas Carols. I love making gingerbread houses. I love wearing warm red and green PJs. I love decorating the tree. I love going to parties. I love hanging my stocking. I love seeing all of my family. I love wearing big hats and gloves. I love sitting by the fire. I love making a Christmas list. I love going shopping. I love wrapping presents. I love getting presents. I love opening presents.
I’m sure I left something out, but I covered the important stuff right? Fun, presents, presents, presents, and presents. That’s what Christmas is all about!
Ooh, but you know, I did leave out something. A big something. Actually the biggest something of all. I mean, what are we even celebrating?!
Christmas isn’t about presents. It’s about Jesus!
How could I have forgotten about Jesus! It’s his birth that we are celebrating. It’s even named after Him. CHRISTmas.
When I think about it that way, it makes we wonder if I missed an important part of preparing for Christmas. I mean, does Jesus care if the tree has twinkly lights on it? Or is there is a wreath on the door? Or gifts under the tree? These aren’t bad things, but we can’t let them take the place of the most important thing. Jesus’ birthday!
Did you know that Jesus’ birth was so big and important that there was actually a messenger born just before him to get everyone ready? John was a cousin of Jesus, and he spent his whole life telling people about Jesus and getting them ready to Him.
Instead of gingerbread and sugar cookies, John ate locusts and honey.
Instead of singing Jingle Bells, John recited scriptures.
Instead of wearing a fluffy scarf, John wore a ragged animal skin.
And instead of offering gifts of toys, John offered the gift of preparing for Jesus.
John helped them prepare for Jesus in their heart. He told them how Jesus came to save them. He told them how to repent, and become brand new and clean in Jesus. And He even baptized them in the river, showing them washed of the old and beginning brand new.
As it gets closer to Christmas, it gets easier and easier to forget what Christmas is really about. But we just have to remember that it is Jesus we are celebrating, and we can get ready to celebrate by preparing our hearts for.
Activity A – Preparing for Jesus – Bible Verse Challenge
Supplies – Bibles
Verse – Mark 1:7-8
Pass out Bibles to students. Bibles should be closed and sitting on the table face up in front of each child. When you say go, have the kids look up this week’s Bible verse. As each child finds the verse, have them stick one finger on the verse and quietly raise their other hand. The first one to find the verse gets to read it to the rest of the class.
Help younger kids and new kids find the verse by following these steps.
- Look in the Table of Contents for the book you are looking for. Make an effort to show them if it is found in the Old Testament or New Testament to help them in the future. Then open the Bible to the page number listed in the Table of Contents.
- Show them the large numbers in the text, known as the chapters. Flip through pages until you find the large chapter number you are looking for.
- Then scan through the text with them pointing out the smaller verse numbers until the correct number is found.
Activity B – Preparing for Jesus – A Gift for Jesus
Supplies – construction paper, scissors, glue, markers, ribbon, embellishments
- Give each child a half sheet of red or pink paper, and a full sheet of another color of their choice.
- Fold the full sheet in half (short ends together).
- Use the half sheet of pink or red paper to cut out a heart and glue it on the inside.
- Write on the heart “my gift to Jesus is my heart”.
- Glue a length of ribbon around the middle of the outside of the folded paper, leaving the loose ends above the opening and tie in a bow.
- Draw or attach a gift tag. “To: Jesus From: name“
Closing Prayer – Preparing for Jesus
Ask for a volunteer to pray for the class before leaving, and encourage them to ask God to remind them that Jesus is why we celebrate.