Welcome to the first Sunday School lesson for 2013. I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start!
Okey doke, so here are your choices and a few hints I hope will be helpful.
The Lesson on EpiphanyAlthough we have had a Sunday already to focus on the visit of the Magi, this is a great time to talk in more depth--and to help children understand what Epiphany really celebrates. As you teach the lesson as is written in the book, I hope you'll have time to light the frankincense and myrrh, discuss the significance and meaning of each one, and let the children compare the scents. They won't forget this! If you have any experience with being at a worship service when incense was used, I hope you'll share it. Also, you might like to add that we still have a star of sorts on our own journey to discover who Jesus is: the scriptures in the Bible which share the words he said and the things he did.
As you know, on Epiphany, we celebrate that Jesus was born not just for the Jewish people but for the Gentiles as well (such as the Magi.) The children may need help realizing what a big deal this is. Epiphany also commemorates the dedication of Jesus in the temple with Simeon. (Luke 2:21-38) This is not in the Godly Play script, so the children may not know this story. What a great time to share it! Especially since most of them have been dedicated in our church or have seen a baby dedication. You could follow the script with a retelling of this story.
Since there are so many different ways you could go in this lesson, I'm not going to give you wondering questions. If you use the Epiphany lesson, I hope you'll come up with your own questions to get the children thinking and deepen their thought process. I'd love it if a teacher could write down any comments the children make during this wondering time that I could share with their parents. I'll put a sheet of paper in your class folder for this.
Hints for the Create-a-gift-for-God time:1. Did you use any of the art ideas for the last lesson (last blog post)? If not, you could use offer any of those ideas. Children particularly enjoy making the crowns--and they will have seen crowns in action in the game room, since they're part of the French King's cake custom.
2. You could also have the children recreate Jesus's dedication in the temple, either by drawing or painting it with watercolors. A child could make a baby Jesus 3 dimensionally with clay or clothespins and other children could make the parents and the temple.
The Lesson on the Circle of the Church Year
With all the talk about starting a brand new year, this is a perfect time to offer the lesson on the church's very own special calendar. This is one of my favorite lessons of the year. The calendar makes so much sense that I think we should teach it to adults as well!
The lesson comes with wondering questions. I'll include them in your class folder as well.
Hints for the Create-a-gift-for-God time:
For younger children:
Younger children are already learning about calendars and enjoy displaying what they know. Why not go ahead and print on a paper for each child, "Thank You God, for a New Year!" Then they could write out the month names and draw things beside each month that they are thankful for...Like a birthday cake on their birthday month. Snow by January. A Valentines heart by February. Kites by March (or basketball, for March Madness!)
If a younger child wants to make his own calendar, why not? It doesn't have to be a calendar like we could make. Younger children often like writing their numbers. It would be fun to have different calendars on hand to talk about different ways we keep record of time. I can see lots of inroads for discussion on the church's calendar with this.
For older children:
The children could make their own rendition of the Godly Play Calendar with a paper plate, a color copy (that I can provide if you tell me by Thursday), a brad, and a fun foam arrow. Susan D. came up with this, I believe, and it works great!
The Lesson on the Bible
For the Create a Gift for God time, check out the blog pages on Learning to Use the Bible, here. You could have the children write out the names of the lessons from the fall and add them to the boards, if you have the boards in your classroom. Or the children could outfit your classroom set of Bibles with tabs, as shown in the blog page. Or you could do Bible drills with scripture from all parts of the Bible. Or you could give the children time to create some piece of art on the Bible.
I hope this is helpful! Have fun, y'all!