Note to the Teacher
Every year, we tell the same story of the angel visiting Mary, the shepherds and the animals at the manger scene, and Jesus coming into the world. This lesson invites participants to consider what Mary might have felt – confused, worried, curious about how things were going to take place. The icebreaker considers some strange Christmas traditions. The scripture explores God’s transforming love – a love we may not understand but that is powerful and life-changing. The activity invites participants to try a new method of wrapping presents to show that the smallest things can be transformed into something beautiful.
Icebreaker (5 minutes)
The Gospel passage today is the story of Mary’s visit from the angel. When the angel came to her, at first, she was perplexed and confused about how things were going to happen. Take turns talking about family Christmas traditions. Have all share one tradition that they don’t quite understand. Perhaps prepare in advance some strange Christmas traditions to share with the group. For ideas, see travel.earth/unusual-christmas-traditions-around-the-world.
Read Scripture (5 minutes)
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Luke 1:46b-55; Luke 1:26-38
Discussion (10 minutes)
- David wanted to build a temple for God, but God replied that it was not necessary to have a temple, that God was happy living among the people. How do you think this made David feel? When have God’s plans been different from your own? How did you respond? Does David end up building the temple anyway? Why do you think he did that?
- As part of God’s response, God reminds David of all that God has done for him AND all that God is going to do for David. Why do you think God did this? What has God done for you? How does it make you feel to be reminded of God’s presence in your life?
- How would you have responded if you were Mary and the angel had visited you with a seemingly impossible request that God wanted you to do?
- Once Mary is comforted by the angel that “nothing is impossible for God,” Mary sings a song of rejoicing in God’s extravagant love. Compare this to David’s response to God in 2 Samuel 7 (starting with verse 18). What stands out to you in their praise of God’s transforming love? How have you experienced God’s love in these ways?
Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
God’s love is powerful and transforming, but it is sometimes hard to notice; and sometimes our experience of God can be confusing. Choose one of the following activities:
Option 1: Wrapping Methods: Take some time to learn a fancy present-wrapping method to transform a small item into something beautiful. Let this serve as a reminder of God’s transforming love. This could also be done with origami, taking simple paper and transforming it into something intricate and beautiful.
Option 2: Gingerbread Madness; get some gingerbread house kits (usually on sale at craft stores this time of year); process the experience of putting together the gingerbread house and how it parallels the themes from the lesson. (It can be confusing, not sure how it will work, but in the end is something beautiful/transforming.)
Total Time: 40 minutes
- Printout or reference of “18 Unusual Christmas Traditions Around the World.”
- Christmas wrapping paper; small box for each person; printout or video of more complex wrapping methods: