Introductory Idea Option 1
The children have 2 minutes to make exchanges with each other for a gift they think they might like.
Remind them to ask nicely and to respect each other if someone does not want to make an exchange with them.
Talk to them about why they wanted certain gifts – bigger? Prettier? They guess from the shape that it’s a better gift?
Say: Today, we’ll hear about someone who exchanged something big for something small so he could give a big gift to the world.
Introductory Idea Option 2
Help the children search up the meaning of their names and write it on a piece of paper they can colour or decorate.
Say: Names are special and have meaning. Today we will hear about an angel who went down to Earth to deliver God’s message about the name of a very special baby.
Tip: Open your Bible and show the children where you are reading from. Say ‘we will be reading from the book of Matthew in the New Testament. We can learn about Jesus from the Bible’. If you have older kids, you can tell them a bit more about the book of Matthew. E.g. Matthew was a disciple of Jesus and he wrote down what happened when he was with Jesus.
Reading the Bible passage, adapted for young ones
As he was thinking about this, an angel from God appeared in a dream to him.
For younger children: The angel told Joseph that God put the baby inside Mary. Mary was going to have the most special baby in the world! He is Emmanuel – God with us! The baby will save people from sin! The angel told Joseph that he must marry Mary and name the baby Jesus- God saves. When Joseph awoke, he obeyed God and married Mary.
For older children: (Get a child to dramatically read out the verses)
22 Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child,
and shall give birth to a son.
They shall call his name Immanuel”;
which is, being interpreted, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:20-23 (WEB)
Emmanuel means God with us. Our big powerful God exchanged his dwelling place in the heaven for a small human body on earth more than 2000 years ago, so that he could save us from our sins. Even today, if we have invited Jesus Christ into our life as our Lord and saviour, He promises that he is with us always.
Response & Discussion
How do you feel knowing that God is with you and with us?