The Christmas story is often so familiar to the children in our churches (and to us) that we forget about the magnitude of it. We forget that God became man and dwelt among His people. Especially when teaching children we often focus on the sheep and shepherds, the angels, and the baby in the manger, without focussing on the truth that the Baby in the manger is the King of Kings. We hear the story so often, and in the same way that the familiarity makes it hard for us to see it afresh and be amazed.
The story will allow you to tell the story in a unique way and focus on the incarnation of Christ. This story is ideal for a teaching time for elementary kids (age 6-11), but could be adapted to include younger children.
*** for the story you’ll need a Christmas tree – either an actual tree, or the shape of a tree on the wall – -and words, pictures or ornaments to hang on the tree as you go through the story. These ornaments can simply be words printed on paper or words written on large ornaments, or pictures representing the words.
“How many of you have Christmas trees or some other decorations in your house? It looks like we have an empty Christmas tree, so this morning we need to make sure it gets decorated. But, we need to be careful and decorate it with things that help us remember why Jesus came to earth. That He came to take the punishment that we deserve. And, we’re going to do this tree decorating with just a couple of verses that I know you’re all familiar with (John 1:1-2 & John 1:14 – have them displayed on posters if possible)
Use the following discussion points as you put the “ornaments” on the tree using this suggested pattern).
God– – John1:1 starts out with the same 3 words as the whole Bible starts out with… In the beginning…. If we flip back to Genesis 1:1, we see that the next word is God, reminding us that God has no beginning and that He was all there was when everything else began, because He made everything else. Now we see something else…
The Word– – In the beginning was the Word. The Word was there in the beginning, before the creation of the world. So, who is the Word? Let’s read the rest of John 1 verses 1 & 2 together. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” I know that all of you are jumping ahead to the answer here because you know it, but let’s make sure we can make sense of this truth from the Bible. This verse is telling us that in the beginning before there was anything else, when there was just God, that there was someone with God and that this someone was God Himself. We know that this verse is talking about Jesus and this verse helps us learn a crucial truth about Jesus. Jesus is God Himself and He has always been. He is fully God. Can you guys say that truth with me…Jesus is fully God.
Let’s move on and see what happened to “The Word” and how He went from being with God in the beginning to coming to earth.
Flesh– – John 1:14 says, The Word became flesh. Jesus, who we just said is fully God became a person, He put on a body like you and I have. Here’s a big word for you (turn over the flesh ornament to reveal) Incarnation– -This word means putting on a body. Jesus is the only One in the whole world who this word refers to…Jesus is the only who became a person.
So, we can say that Jesus is God incarnate or God in a body or God in the flesh. But, how did this happen? Did Jesus just appear one day walking along a road in a fully grown man’s body? Let’s listen to the familiar words of Luke 2:1-20…. (Have someone read the text clearly while you put the following ornaments on the tree….shepherds, night, angel, GOOD NEWS, joy, All People, SAVIOR, nativity scene…you’ll refer back to them as you finish the story)
Jesus became a man and took on flesh by being born as a baby. He was born as a baby who would grow up to be the Savior…the One sent by God to rescue His people. Did you catch what the angel said to the shepherds? “I bring you Good News…” What was the good news? The good news was that God had sent the messiah, the Savior, the rescuer that they had been waiting for. (add a cross over the words Good News) That’s what Christmas is all about.
Now that we’ve seen how Jesus became a man, let’s get back to John 1:14 and see what else we can learn about Him
Dwell– the verse goes on to say… the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Jesus came to live with people. Why is that such a big deal? It’s a big deal because God is perfect…Jesus is perfect….and because of sin, we are the farthest thing from perfect you can imagine. The perfect God, took on an imperfect body and came to live with imperfect people. He came to live with sinful humanity. One of the really cool things about this part of the verse is that the word dwell is the same word as tabernacle. Who remembers when we heard about God tabernacling (or living) with His people before? In the Old Testament, God had His people build a tabernacle (or a tent) for Him to live with them, but remember that God, in the most holy place, was separated from the people by a curtain. Now, He is tabernacling with them in human form.
The verse finishes by saying, We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. The end of this verse wraps up what we’ve been talking about by reminding us that Jesus is the glory of God, He is God Himself. It reminds us that He came from the Father, or as John 3:16 tells us, He was sent by God the Father. And, we’re reminded that Jesus is the truth. As He Himself will tell us in John 14:6, Jesus is the Way to the Father (being the One to have come from the Father), He is the Truth and He is the only way to have life with the Father.
Let’s pray and thank God for the gift of Jesus and for the way that Jesus came to earth to dwell with His people and rescue them from sin and death.