Week 6: January 03, 2021, Living The Celebration
Note to the Teacher
We wrap up Christmas this week. Welcome to a new calendar year! Some may have already packed everything away; others may still sit in the glow of the lights and tinsel. The goal isn’t to shuffle it all away, but to embrace the fullness of the community that we have become – incorporating the new and becoming one in Christ. It is not about self-congratulations that we gather. We are blessed, but we are blessed to bless the source of blessing. Paul tells us that the gift we have received, the gift of new life, is so that we might live for the praise of God’s glory. That’s what this worship experience is about – praising God. Of course, every worship service includes praise. But this week, praise is central, it is the beginning and the end. And in the heart is the call to praise— to a life of praise.
1. Ice Breaker: Card Making (10 minutes)
Amid all the busy-ness of the Advent and Christmas season, we need to make sure we help people stay connected, especially at the close of the season and the beginning of a new calendar year. Today, invite students to make cards that they can use to invite to people to be part of the youth ministry or church. If youth are uncomfortable with the idea of invitations, have them create cards to follow up on connections made during the Christmas season with friends, family, or organizations that they or the church has supported – finding out how we can still provide support and continue building healthy relationships.
You can prepare postcards or have students fold card stock into a card. Provide a template and several suggestions for what the cards could say. For example, “I wanted to invite you to join us for youth group on Sundays. One of my favorite parts is [something they like]. I hope you’ll check us out!” or “I’m so glad that we enjoyed the Christmas season together. I would love to keep learning more about _____________ now that we’re both in 2021!”
Online Meeting Adaptation: If students are at home, meeting virtually, they can still participate. Share some addresses and ask students to make cards. Remind them that many people do not have much company during this time of the year. Consider talking with those in charge of congregational care within your church and get the names and addresses of seniors whose family may have departed now that Christmas is over.
For either the in-person or online version, also consider what a personal invitation using social media messages or emails might look like. These communication options do not replace the care of a handmade card, but can serve as powerful tools to share messages of welcome and inclusion.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Invite students to help you read if possible
Today, our Scripture reading comes from the New Testament. We have used multiple scripture passages during this series.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
Do you feel like you have wisdom? Do you think that you are wise? If you are wise in a particular area of life, what is it?
Verses 8 and 9 of Ephesians speak of the wisdom that comes from Christ. What do you think verse 9 means, when it says, “he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ”?
Verse 11 says that we have obtained an inheritance. What is the inheritance that we have received? Does it have anything to do with the idea of being “adopted” from verse 5?
How can our wisdom help us be invitational?
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 have been using all our senses in our lessons during this series.
Re-read the Ephesians passage. Point out the verses at the beginning about blessings.
Explain, “We will use our sense of taste today. We will decorate some cookies that you can give to the people along with the cards you created. We want to decorate the cookies festively, but we also want to write words of blessing on them.” A word of blessing can be simple like. “You are loved," “God Loves You," “You Are Awesome," “Grateful for you," and others.
Pre-baking the cookies will allow them to be cooled before you get started. An excellent youth worker would also make some cookies for the students to eat (and not eat them before the students arrive).
Online Meeting Adaptation: This activity can quickly adapt to video meetings. Set time for students to come and get their supplies to do this project at home. Please encourage them to wait to do the project with everyone else. Provide addresses that people could drop off their cookies and cards to, or encourage them to pack everything in a shoebox, drop it off at the church, and you mail it on their behalf.
Total Length of Week 6 (50 minutes)
- Computer with speakers or TV
- Bible to read scripture
- Cardstock paper
- Marker, crayons or colored pencils
- Cookie dough or premade cookies, icing and decorating supplies
- Plates to place the completed cookies on and a Ziploc bag to seal them in. Try not to smear the icing. You can tape a card on top of the bag. Make sure to get the cookies and cards distributed no later than the next day.