Welcome to the celebration of the Second Sunday of Advent, this Sunday, Dec 9.
There are several themes to explore during the time in the circle or during the create-a-gift-for-God time, if you so wish. These include:
1. Mary as the chosen mother of Jesus. Why did God choose her? What does it mean to be in favor with God?
2. Mary's reaction to Gabriel's news. The older children might enjoy really studying her reaction found in Luke, Chapter 1. You could even listen to The Magnificat.
3. The idea that God gives us courage and help to do what we need to do if we ask for it.
4. The idea of being part of God's work in the world. How can each person do that? Can we look for ways to do God's work? Be open to responding to God's nudges?
5. Nothing is impossible for God. (What a great memory verse! Luke 1:37.)
So how do we help the children explore the story and these themes? Here are some ideas for the Create-a-Gift-for-God-Time to add to your own.
Recreating the Story as a Gift to God
Children would enjoy exploring the story and recreating it in some way, both the visit of Gabriel to Mary and Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem.
1. Put up several big easels and let the children paint the angel's visit or the journey. (I bet older kids would like this too. They seldom get to paint on big easels anymore. You could even look at some famous artwork of Mary and baby Jesus.2. Use watercolors at the tables to paint either scene.
3. Make "life-size angels!" (Who knows how big angels are!) Use big pieces of butcher paper and have kids lie down and trace each other, sort of like making snow angels. Decorate with markers or paint or fabric.
4. Make an angel from a paper plate. Let the children choose as much as possible how they want to decorate. (Prescribed crafts limit their investment / idea of owning their own work, so the more choices, the better.) You can find instructions for a paper plate angel here.
Or make angels from beads, like our first graders did last year.
5. Recreate the story by acting it out. We have costumes for the younger children. Let me know ASAP if you want to use them and I can make sure they're available. There's a great video made by a group of children posted here. You could use that for inspiration if you like. The kids would enjoy watching it. If you decide to do this, I hope you can video it! Maybe a parent could help.
6. Make ornaments for Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, and the Donkey!
There are tons of ornaments out there for angels. Here's a pic of one that one of my kids made out of a clothespin and felt.
I bet the children could figure out how to make ornaments for the other characters out of clothespins and fabric or tissue paper.
I hope the ideas help!
Here are the Wondering Questions I've written for this Sunday. I look forward to hearing the children's responses!
1. I wonder what your favorite part of the story is so far.
2. I wonder how Mary felt when Gabriel appeared before her and when she heard the news.
I wonder how she felt on the journey to Bethlehem and how Joseph felt. And the donkey too!
3. I wonder what we can learn from Mary and Joseph and the decisions they made from this story. What do they teach us about God?
4. I wonder where you are in this story. What part of this story is about you or for you?
5. I wonder if you and I might be part of this story in a way, on our own way to Bethlehem.