Supplies needed for this series:
- Construction paper
- Clip art printed and ready to be colored
- Playlist of songs to listen to while creating a “shoebox nativity”
This series is designed for either an in-person worship experience or a virtual online experience. The shoebox nativity will be built throughout the Advent season, with additions added each week as we prepare for Christmas.
Each week, a playlist song will be recommended to accompany the child and family as they create the artwork to place in the shoebox. These songs will reinforce each week’s scripture text.
If providing in-person worship, the children’s message leader can build a shoebox nativity in front of the children and encourage them to continue this at home during the weeks of Advent. The in-person leader should prepare each week’s item in advance and present it during the weekly children’s message. The leader should encourage the children to work on their own box at home during the week.
23 John replied, using the words of Isaiah the prophet. John said, “I’m the messenger who is calling out in the desert, ‘Make the way for the Lord straight.’” (Isaiah 40:3)
- Clip art of the shepherd to color found here: https://www.freechristianillustrations.com/Clipart%20Shepherd%20BW.pdf
- Shepherd boy - https://www.freechristianillustrations.com/Clipart%20Shepherd%20Boy%20BW.pdf
- Star - https://www.freechristianillustrations.com/Clipart%20Star%20BW.pdf
Playlist song: “While Shepherds Watch Their Flock.”
Today is the third Sunday in Advent. Christmas may seem like it is still a long way off, but while we wait, we should be getting ready. How do people get ready for Christmas? (Let children respond.) We get ready by shopping and wrapping presents. We get ready by decorating the house and putting up a Christmas tree. We get ready by sending out Christmas cards. Maybe we even go to see the Nutcracker Ballet each year.
There are so many things to do at Christmastime that we may forget who we are supposed to be getting ready for. Who should we be getting ready for? (Allow children to respond.) Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. During Advent, we are supposed to be getting ready to receive Jesus!
Before Christmas comes, we prepare in many ways; but the most important way is to get our hearts ready for Jesus. John the Baptist was a man who helped people prepare for Jesus. When people asked him who he was, he replied with our verse today, “I’m the messenger who is calling out in the desert, ‘Make the way for the Lord straight!’”
Last week we added animals and the manger to our stable. Today we are going to place the shepherds into our shoebox nativity. Every time you see shepherds, they always seem to have a shepherd’s staff or crook in their hands. Those sticks helped them keep their flocks in a straight pathway. They could guide the sheep around the messiness and distractions of the fields to keep them safe. As you cut and color your shepherds this week with your family, remember that Advent is an exciting time of getting ready for Christmas; but in the middle of all our busyness, we need to keep a path straight to our hearts to welcome Jesus into our lives. Thanks to John for reminding us of that so long ago.
Prayer: Jesus, we have created a straight path to our hearts. We have removed the distractions. We have cleared away the messiness of our Christmas preparations. Help us to receive you with the joy that this season brings. Amen.