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Zephaniah 3.14-20; Isaiah 12.2-6 (Canticle); Philippians 4.4-7; Luke 3.7-18

Children's session

John tells those who have come to be baptized that their faith needs to make a difference to their everyday living. He shares a warning to the crowds not to rely on their religious pedigree, advice on some simple ways to live justly, and a promise about the greatness of the one who is to come. His listeners ask what they need to do. John’s response is not without cost to the individual. He speaks directly to the situations of those asking the questions – and of how they can relate to others.

This week we explore being a sign of the good news in our everyday lives.

Extra ideas including resources for very young children can be found by using the Jump to this week's menu on the right.

Prepare
Childrens Session

Read Bible notes on Luke 3.7-18

We may feel ‘off the hook’ when we read about John challenging the religious authorities. Yet, here he is, talking to people like us. How easy do you find it to allow your faith to influence your everyday life?

As you share the passage with the group, help them to see that, 'What should we do?' is a question all of us can ask ourselves, as we aim for our faith to influence our choices.

Gather

Use the song, prayer and activity to gather the group and introduce the theme. (5 mins)

Childrens Session
Very young childrens Session

 Gathering song

Sing to the tune: One more step along the world I go

One door open on my calendar,
one step closer now to Jesus’ birth.
Stir your hearts, adventure’s near,
travel with the story through the year.

Childrens Session

A gathering prayer for children

Creator God,
today, may we know your good news.
Fill us with the joy of knowing Jesus.
Amen.

How can we be ‘good news’?          W E A

  • ‘How can we be “good news”?’ Invite the children to answer this question for different situations, e.g. if you see someone who is homeless; if you see someone alone in the playground.
  • Talk about how John gives answers for what certain groups of people can do. What do the children think his answer would have been if a group of children asked, ‘What should we do?’

Share the Word
Childrens Session

Read the story and pause at the  to share these points with the children (see Stop and share below). Then use the activity to explore the passage together. (10 mins)

Luke 3.7-18

Click on the image to view a PDF.

 

 Stop and share

  • Tax collectors were unpopular and often charged too much, keeping money for themselves.
  • Explain that the Messiah was the ‘anointed one’, someone chosen by God to save the Jewish people, also a title used for Jesus.

 

Key words          W

  • Read the first section of the passage, then, after the people have asked John, ‘What should we do to live a new life with God?’, ask the children to listen out for some key words about how to do this in the second section of the passage.
  • At the end, ask the children to share what they heard/thought about as you read. What key words have they come up with? E.g. share, honesty, respect.
Explore and respond

Use these ideas to help the children make connections between the Bible passage and their lives. (20 mins)

Childrens Session

Hot seat          W E A

Find out how someone lives as a sign of good news

You will need: pens and paper.

  • Invite one of the young people or young adults to talk to the children about being a Christian in their everyday lives.
  • Help the children to decide on one question each they would like to ask about how they can be a sign of good news, i.e. how they show God’s love to others in work/school. Encourage the children to write down their question, and then, one at a time, to ask it.

 

Good news timetable          E A

Think about how we can be good news to others

You will need: paper, pens, stickers.

  • Encourage the children to think about being a sign of good news in their everyday lives. Help them to think about the way they treat others, the things they do and the words they say.
  • Ask them to draw a timetable of their normal week, marking out each day and writing in where they will be and what they will be doing.
  • Provide different coloured pens or stickers and ask the children to mark four different points during the week where they could be a sign of good news. Challenge them to take these home and be God’s good news this week.

 

Sing

Preview song, then buy online and download.

We can do good, Fischy Music

Find more suggestions on the Hymns, songs & music page.

 

Talk together and talk to God

Use these questions to discuss the Bible passage and then bring your thoughts together by praying to God.

 

Talk together

  • Can you think of a time when someone told you to change the way you behave? How did that feel?
  • How do you think the people felt when John answered their questions?
  • How can you make the things you do a sign of the good news?

 

Very young childrens Session

Talk to God: What should I do?          E S A

Pray about taking the good news everywhere

You will need: signs that read 'school', 'home', 'church', 'park', 'sports', 'afterschool clubs'.

  • Place the signs around the room and say that you are all going to walk round the room, stopping in each place to pray.
  • Walk to each sign in turn. Stop and pray: ‘When I am at XXX, help me to be a sign of the good news. What should I do?’ Pause for a moment, allowing the children to pray quietly.
Childrens Session

Activity sheet

Go with God

Consider together what you have explored, what that means for each of you and how it might influence your daily lives. (10 mins)

Childrens Session
  • Place a small branch or mini Christmas tree in the centre of the group and give everyone a bauble or other tree decoration.
  • Ask the children, in their own time, to go and hang the decoration on the tree or branch and, as they do, to think about how they can be a sign of the good news this week, as many Christmas activities are happening.

 

A sending out prayer for children

Holy Spirit,
thank you that you are good to us;
help us to be good to each other.
May our lives proclaim your good news.
Amen.

Go with God 24/7

Encourage the children to put their faith into action

Do one thing differently this week to live for God and be a sign of the good news.
E A

 

Before you finish, give out the ROOTS at home resource to encourage faith at home.

Childrens Session
Very young childrens Session

Sing

To the tune: Hakuna Matata (chorus)

The season of waiting, what a wonderful chime.
We think of the prophets, Mary, John and signs.
We’ll wait for Jesus, make the most of this time.
These are special days, to sing God’s praise,
enjoy your Advent!

Spiritual styles abbreviations
WWordEEmotionSSymbolAAction
Read our Spiritual Styles articles
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