Week 5: December 27, 2020, Enjoying the Company
Note to the Teacher
There seems to be an inevitable let down after Christmas. This Sunday is December 27, only two days after Christmas Day, which we had been building up to experience for a month. Seasonal guests may be starting to depart; families are returning home; people are going back to work; all of those decorations are starting to get put away. That may all be different now, as we may still be recovering or enduring the pandemic. But there is still a shift in thinking and focus in these Christmastide worship experiences.
The idea of the company has been twofold during this series. The first is about Christ and his coming to earth as a baby and becoming a part of our everyday lives as we invite him into our hearts and seek transformation. The second is that of inviting others to join our lives. This invitation may include entering our homes, worship spaces, youth ministries, and other parts of our lives.
1. Ice Breaker: Ugly Sweater Contest (10 minutes)
Give students a blank long sleeve t-shirt, some fabric, or several sheets of paper and invite them to create an ugly sweater. If you have only copy paper, provide some tape so the students can make the “sweaters” big enough to fit. Make sure you have plenty of markers. Invite participants to make the sweaters cheesy. In fact, using sheets of paper to create ugly Christmas sweaters may be an easy way to guarantee ugliness!
Online Meeting Adaptation: With a little warning, the ugly sweater contest could also be done online. Students create the sweaters ahead of time and then show them off online. Or they could grab the “ugliest” sweater they can find from around the house and tell the story of how it came to be in their home.
Once they have finished, ask students to model their sweaters and explain the elements.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Invite students to help you read, if possible
Today, our Scripture reading comes from both the Old Testament (Isaiah & Psalm) and the New Testament (Luke). We have been using multiple scripture passages during this series.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
Once the gifts have been opened (or the baby Jesus arrives) how do we act differently? What makes it difficult to maintain our excitement or our zeal?
How do we change once expectation has become reality?
Why does Isaiah speak of rejoicing and not remaining silent?
What does it mean that the Holy Spirit rested on Simeon (Luke 25)?
There are very few stories of Jesus between the birth story and the beginning of his ministry as an adult. If Mary and Joseph knew who Jesus was, why do you think they returned to Nazareth instead of staying in Jerusalem so that Jesus could be closer to the Temple?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Take this lesson to the next level by getting students involved with the scriptures using the following activity. We are using a different sense in each study during this series. Re-read the Isaiah passage and make special note of verse 61: 11. After the reading, students will make a garden of thankfulness.
A couple of weeks ago, we made a garland of praise. The garland was primarily about Christ. This garden of thankfulness is about things we have been blessed with and have experienced. You will want to plant a seed in your garden so it can demonstrate the growth of our blessings to be thankful for.
Give each student some cups with soil; paper; tape; and sticks. Tell them to create little plant signs by cutting the paper and taping it to the stick. On each sign, they will write what they are thankful for receiving or experiencing. When the signs have been made, ask the students to plant a seed in the cup and to stick the sign in the soil. Invite students to share what is in their thankfulness gardens. They can take the cups home and water the gardens to remind them about how what we are given grows into much more as we care for the gifts of God in our life.
If seeds and dirt aren’t your style, consider creating a poster board that looks like a garden. Invite youth to create the garden by drawing plants that represent the things in their life that they are thankful for. For each plant (thing that we are thankful for) ask the youth what it took for that plant to grow. What planted the seed of that thing in your life? How was it watered and fed and cared for so that it grew into what you now know?
Online Meeting Adaptation: This activity can adapt to video meetings. Set up a time for students to come and get their supplies to do this project at home. Encourage them to wait and do the project with everyone else. Either in-person option would work equally as well.
Total Length of Week 5 (50 minutes)
- Computer with speakers or TV
- Bible to read scripture
- Parchment paper
- Crayons or colored pencils
- Blank long sleeve t-shirts or fabric
- Topsoil, seeds, panting cups, and plant signs to write on