Saturday, November 26, 2011

From Turkey to Baby in 2 Easy Steps - Thanksgiving to Advent Easy Sunday School Lesson Plan

This lesson plan does not teach a strong foundation for Thanksgiving, but rather relies on a secular understanding of thanksgiving, and transfers that feeling of gratatude and happiness from things of the world to the the advent of the Messiah, the reason for the season of Christmas, so to speak.

Materials Needed: Notepad and pen, or note cards. 

Drills / Games:  Gratitude Charades & Hide and Seek.


Part 1: Thanksgiving

Have all the children gather around you or an assistant, and ask them how thanksgiving was.  Then ask them what they have to be thankful for.  For example, you will hear the standards answers they have been taught or heard, like: Jesus, mother, father, God etc.  Record each one, and work them toward deeper answers from thier lives, even if you have to tell stories to get them to notice things like: freedom to worship, life, clean water, transportation and the like.  Once you have a list of items, divide the class into 3 or 4 teams, and play Charades.  Once team is given something from the gratatude list, and they have to act it out.  Time how long it takes them to get the other teams to guess the answer without talking, writing it down, or pointing to it.  We are looking for acting it out.  The team that gets the other teams to guess the right thing the fastest wins.  Limit the time they get to 2 minutes, or you could be about this one game forever.

When you have a winner, make a big deal about it, have the others cheer, clap, dance etc.

Sit them all down, and read them Luke 12:48: "But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more."

After reading the verse, ask them what they think it means.  When they are all done, read them the Teddy Roosevelt Quote in the picture here.  Explain that thanksgiving is more than just saying thank you, praying thank you, and knowing what you are thankful for.  For sure, if you do that, you have done more than most people will do, but if you are a follower of Christ, the very fact that we have been given much demands much from us.  Thanksgiving is more of an action than it is a feeling. Like the game we just played, thanks is an action.

Ask them, "What have you done to act our YOUR thanks."


Praise / Worship / Offering


Part 2 - The Advent of the Christ.

Have all the kids gather around again, and ask them if they know how to play hide an seek.  When they are done telling you how awesome it is, how great they are, begging to be first etc, tell they you are going to play a different type of hide and seek.  These are the rules.

1) Instead of hiding people we are going to hide a piece of paper - hold up a piece of not paper, and write on it, "This is the Prize you are Looking For."  Fold it in half.  Tell them you are looking for this piece of paper rather than any paper, because we don't want any fake paper being created by the players to pretend they have won. 

2) Four people are assigned to "Seek" the paper, and one to hide it.  Have the 4 seekers go somewhere where they can not see what is going on, and have the person assinged to hiding "it" hide the paper.

3) The paper has to have some of it clearly visable to someone who is looking at it.  In other words, it can not be buried undersomething 100%.  Exclude unsafe places.

4) Call the seekers back in, and have them look.  Every 60 to 120 seconds call all he seekers back in, and ask them what type of clue they want.  THE CLUES ARE THE POINT - WE USE CLUES THAT ONLY YOU AND THE ONE WHO HIDE THE PAPER CAN UNDERSTAND.  We give them the choice of: Musical, Humorus, Nature or Food, as well as Place (Place is : Rug, tile, wood, wall, high, low etc.)

When you give them the clue, it should shed no light on the hiding location where the paper is hidden.  For example, if the paper is hiden under a basket, and they pick humor, then you might say; "If you look high, you will see the sky, if you look low, you will see the floor, but if you look at me, you will be carried away." (As in - carried in a basket.)

Play it for as long as you can, making sure those who are watching begin to understand that the clues are useless if they do not know what you are talking about.

Photo Credit:
When you are done playing the game, pull them all back in and ask them if the clues helped them.  Keep the discussion going until you have shown them that the "clues" were useless if they did not have the special knowledge that allowed them to understand the clue.

Then tell them that Jesus is just like that.  If you don't listen to the Holy Spirit, then hearing the word may or may not lead you to the speical knowledge that Jesus can set you free.

One of the first places where the people of the world heard the good news was in the 8th Century BC.  A prophet, Isaiah, wrote this verse - Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."  Wow ... we were given a clue 800 years before Jesus was born, and most of the world today still does not know that they can be free.

It is our job, since we know about Jesus, to show thanksgiving.  We can do that by our actions, one of which is to let other people, who are seeking him, find him.  We have become the clues.