****Memory verse: Luke 2:11 (NKJV) For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Remind the children of the special day approaching on the 25th of this month-Christmas!!
*What is the first thing that you think of when you hear the word Christmas?
Allow time for children to answer.
*What special gift have you asked for this year?
Discuss and allow them to elaborate.
*What are some gifts you plan to give to others?
*What is the most favorite gift that you have ever received?
Why? Give each child an opportunity to answer and explain.
Today, I want to tell you about the most precious, wonderful gift. That gift was given over 2,000 years ago…Can anyone tell me what that gift is?
Listen closely as I tell you about the most wonderful gift.
The Nativity: The Most Wonderful Gift
The Appearance of Angels
An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel told Joseph that Mary would have a baby from the Holy Spirit. He told him to marry Mary and after the baby is born to name him Jesus, because He would save the people from their sins. Joseph then woke up from the dream. (Matthew 1:20-25)
An angel named Gabriel appeared to Mary. Gabriel told Mary that she was “truly blessed” and that the Lord was with her. Mary was confused and wondered what the angel meant. The angel told Mary, “Don’t be afraid! God is pleased with you, and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make Him king, as His ancestor David was. He will rule His people of Israel forever, and His kingdom will never end.”
Mary asked the angel how this could happen because she wasn’t married yet. The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you. So your child will be called the Holy Son of God.” Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-38)
Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in a book. So, everyone had to go to their hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem. Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown and Joseph was from David’s family. In Matthew 1:24-25 it is explained that Joseph and Mary soon married after he had the dream where the Angel spoke to him about Mary and baby Jesus, so he and Mary traveled to Bethlehem together.
The Birth of Jesus
Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed Him in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn. (Luke 2:6-7)
That night near Bethlehem, some shepherds were watching their sheep. All at once an angel in bright light came down to talk to them. The shepherds were afraid. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid!” “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord- has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12 NLT)
Suddenly, the angel was joined by many other angels from Heaven and they praised God. They said, “Praise God in Heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.” (Luke 2:14 CEV)
After the angels left, the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a manger. The shepherds told Mary and Joseph what the angels had said to them. (Luke 2:17-19)
As the shepherds left to go back to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about Him. Eight days after the baby was born, Mary and Joseph named Him Jesus, just as the angel had told them. (Luke 2:20-21)
The Wise Men
When Jesus was born, Herod was the king. He had heard about Jesus going to be the King of the Jews, so this worried him. King Herod was looking for Jesus, so he could kill Him. King Herod asked the priests and the teachers, where was the place this Jesus was supposed to be born? They told him that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem just as the prophets had written and said.
Now during this time, some wise men from the east came and was asking were the child born to be King of the Jews was. They explained they saw His star in the east and had come to worship Jesus.
Herod secretly spoke to the wise men and asked them when they had first seen that star. He told them to let him know as soon as they found Jesus. King Herod lied and said that he wanted to go and worship Jesus too.
The wise men followed the star until it stopped over the place where the child (Jesus) was. When they went inside the house and saw Jesus and Mary, they knelt down and worshiped Him. They gave gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. This was about two years after Jesus was born. The wise men did not tell Herod where Jesus was, and they even went back home a different way. (Matthew 2:1-12, 2:13, 2:16)
Discuss the true reason that we celebrate Christmas. The birth of our Savior-Jesus Christ!
Take time to reflect that Christmas isn’t about getting all the presents on your Christmas list, lights, trees, elves, Santa, reindeer, etc. It really is about God sending His most beloved, most valuable to us…
Christmas is about giving, just as the wise men and most important like God, who gave His best to us. There is nothing wrong with accepting gifts, and it is natural to want things too, but it is important to give as well.
Discuss ways the children can give to others: time, love, talents, handmade gifts, cards, missions, charity, etc. Also, discuss the attitude in which to give any gift.
For the Teacher
*A star was a symbol for a king.
*There is no mention of the number of wise men. It is assumed to be three because of the three gifts mentioned.
*Matthew mentions that Mary and Joseph wed prior to the birth of Jesus and Luke states they were engaged when Jesus was born.
*The Nativity story is neither in the Gospel of Mark nor John.
*Jesus was named after the circumcision at eight days old