Monday, December 5, 2011

The Third Sunday of Advent

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the celebration of the Third Sunday of Advent, this Sunday, December 11.
This Sunday we introduce the third advent card, focusing on the angels' visit to the shepherds and the angels' song of Good News.

There are several themes you may wish to explore during the time in the circle or during the create-a-gift-for-God time. These include:

1.The shepherds were the first people, besides Mary and Joseph and family, to be told of the Good News. What does it mean about God that they were the ones told first?
2. The angels' message itself: Don't be afraid. We bring tidings of great joy: Peace on earth and good will to everyone. A child is born. Go see the child who will change everything. How would he change everything?
3. The shepherds' response to the angels' message. They chose to do what the angels said. Don't you wonder what they were thinking?

Ideas to Inspire Children for their Gifts to God
Flickr photo by Big 3 News
1. Make a mural of a host of angels. There is butcher paper, either black or white that I can get for you. The children could paint the mural if you're feeling adventurous, (the kids would LOVE it) or use markers or watercolors. How many angels could we fit on the mural? I wonder if all the angels looked the same or if they were different.

The mural could include a hillside with shepherds and sheep, or just be focused on the angels.

Flickr photo by rusty.grass
2. We could make ornaments of angels or lambs or shepherds.
The angels could be made from clothespins and felt or tissue paper, (see last week's lesson.) The shepherds could be done in a similar way, with felt or tissue paper for clothes. Use sharpies to make the faces and yarn or whatever the kids want for the hair.

Or, if you don't want to use clothespins, check out these sites for more ideas (keeping in mind that the more choices you give the children in directing and making their work, the more invested and excited they'll be about it):

3. Angel ornament ideas

4. Lamb ornament ideas

5. Could you make an entire nativity scene from clothespin people? Or cut out from paper?
What about a mural of the scene? How about a (child) life size one to hang in your Sunday school room or on a bulletin board?

I love it best when children come up with their own original ideas. Here a young lady thought about how we're all on our own road to Bethlehem and decided to make her own 3D map. 
 If you look from left to right you see an angel, some mountains, the great star and the moon, as well as an arrow in the road, pointing to a "G" which stands for God.

Flickr photo by ihateyourstinkinguts
6. You could also focus on the song the angels sang and make some music of your own. Make musical instruments and sing Christmas carols and play the instruments. Make sure somebody videotapes this! :)
Here's a site that tells how to make 9 different instruments:
Here's another site with a few other ideas on instruments:

I hope this helps! 

Oops, almost forgot the wondering questions!
Here are some questions to help the children process and internalize the story:
1. I wonder what your favorite part of the story was today.

2. I wonder why you think God chose the shepherds to hear the good news first.

3. I wonder how the shepherds felt when the angels appeared and sang.

4. I wonder what the shepherds thought about as they made their way to see Baby Jesus?

5. I wonder where you are in today's story? I wonder what message God has for you?

*All photos used courtesy of the Creative Commons agreement  Thank you, photographers!


  1. I love your pictures - and see that you're just down the road from us! Do you find that the liturgical stories - the Advent ones - are new to your little ones?

    Glad to find another Godly Play blogger!

  2. These are such great ideas! I can't wait until Jane is old enough to understand what this time of year is about, it makes me excited. :)

  3. Hey Browniesmoke, it's great to meet you! We've been doing Godly Play for several years now, so we work hard and helping the stories feel new and fresh, even though they've heard them before. The kids seem to get deeper into the stories the more they hear them. Nice to meet you!

  4. And nice to meet you too, Liz. Thanks! Advent is SO fun to experience with children. They help me make my way back into the mystery of it all!