Children S Message Our Great Shepherd

Children S Message Our Great Shepherd

Children’s Christmas Resources 2015

Week Two – Our Great Shepherd

Children’s Message – Our Great Shepherd

For this message you will need:

A large candy cane as big as a walking stick. You can purchase them at $2 shops.

About 40 candy canes (also from $2 shops)

A container to throw the candy canes in.

[SAY] ‘We eat lots of yummy food around Christmas time don’t we?’

Ask the congregation what sort of food do they like to eat at Christmas.

One of my favourite treats that I like to eat at Christmas time is the candy cane (hold up the large candy cane). Do you think that I could possibly eat all of this candy cane? No, I would be sick if I ate of this and imagine how many times I would have to go to the dentist with all the holes in my teeth. But today we are going to play a game with some candy canes.’

Ask for two volunteers. Explain that they need to throw the candy canes in the container provided and the winner will receive a candy cane.

Place the container on the floor quite some distance away and ask another child to act as time keeper and time each participant for 1 minute. After the first child has completed their minute, count how many canes they got in the container. Then time the next child and count their canes.

Give all three children a candy cane for participating.

I wonder if anyone here knows what is significant/importantabout the candy cane and why we have it at Christmas time. (wait for some responses)

‘Around about 350 years ago a choir master (singing leader) at a Church wanted to keep the children quiet during the Christmas Eve service. So he asked a local candy maker for some sweet sticks for the children. To help the children learn about Jesus and to get the parents approval he made the candy cane.’

Let me read you a poem about the staff/candy cane.

The candy is more than a treat on the Christmas tree.

It has a special message of God’s love for you and me.

The cane looks like a shepherd’s staff, a staff meant to remind us,

That Jesus is our Shepherd, and He’s always there to guide us.

When you turn it upside down, the cane looks like a “J.”

It stands for Baby Jesus, who was born on Christmas Day.

The whiteness of the candy with its red stripes makes us sure,

That when we give our hearts to God, He makes us clean and pure.

The hardness of the candy stands for something special too –

Jesus is our Solid Rock, He cares for me and you.

And as you share this story of the candy cane today,

You’ll find it brings big smiles to all as Christmas comes our way.

Written by Alice Joyce Davidson (Zonderkidz)

‘So candy canes aren’t just yummy treats that we eat at Christmas time, they actually mean something very important about Jesus.’

Ask the children/congregation for some names for Jesus. (We are looking for the name “shepherd”). Explain that Jesus is known as the Great Shepherd because he guides us like a shepherd guides his sheep. Shepherds also give comfort to their sheep and like a shepherd, Jesus the Great Shepherd brings us comfort when we feel sad or down.

[SAY] ‘So every time you eat or see a candy cane this Christmas, remember that Jesus loves you and is our Great Shepherd and wants to guide us and comfort us’.

Children’s Activity:

For this activity you will need:

A small sized Christmas tree (a couple of feet tall - this will also be used over the next few weeks).

Party poppers and streamers

Candy Canes (packets from $2 shops or supermarkets)

A note asking the children to bring something that they can add to a nativity scene for next week (such as a super-hero/princess figurine or other small toy)

Have a chat about last week and ask if any of the children had a chance to tell a friend about Jesus this week.

Play the game that you played earlier on giving all children a chance to participate.

Read the story from the Bible about ‘The Lost Sheep.’ Luke 15: 1-7.

I am curious – have any of you ever become lost when you were out with your family somewhere.

How did you feel when you realised you were lost?

(You may want to share about a time when you became lost yourself)

When you were found by someone how did you feel?

Was there a big celebration when you were united with your family or were your parents a bit cranky that you had gone missing? (Explain that parents only growl because they are so relieved to find you.)

Earlier we talked about how we may have felt when we have lost our family. Let’s take a look at how we may feel when we wander away from God – and how God feels.

I wonder if you have ever done something wrong and felt that you have put a barrier up between you and someone else (guilt).

How did it make you feel?

What would happen if we continued to do something wrong repeatedly?

I wonder how God feels when we wander away from what is right?

‘Sometimes we turn our back on God because we feel so guilty and bad. This parable talks about how some of us wander away and get lost - we make mistakes and get into trouble and need someone to save us. Jesus told this story to remind people just how much God loves everyone – including people who seem as unimportant as one lost sheep. Even if we feel a bit lost sometimes – like that sheep – God sees us and knows what’s happening. He never leaves us out on our own.

That’s why sometimes we call Jesus, the ’Great Shepherd’. We are his sheep and He is the Shepherd. God loves us no matter what we have done. He wants us to come back to Him because he loves us heaps and wants to be our friend. And when we do, He celebrates and throws a party’ (throw the party poppers and streamers and encourage the kids to cheer loudly).

‘So every time you eat or see a candy cane this Christmas, remember that Jesus loves you and is our Great Shepherd and wants to guide you and comfort you.’

Pray: Give each child a candy caneand ask each child to pray quietly thanking God that He will never leave them. Ask them to place the candy cane on the tree when they have finished their prayer. Finish by praying aloud with the children, asking God to remind the children that He will always be there even if we wander away. Thank Him for always wanting to welcome us back.

Explain that when they come back next week they can have their candy cane from the tree.

  • Don’t forget to hand out the REMINDER NOTE about figurines for next week’s nativity scene.

Home and Beyond:

This week make time as a family to go for a drive into the country or the outskirts of town and see some sheep. Talk about how Jesus is like a shepherd and what He does for us.

Purchase a pack of candy canes and some Christmas cards. Write a special note in your Christmas cards about why we have candy canes, place a candy cane in each card and give the cards out to some friends.

Print out enough Home and Beyond Stars on the next page for each child

to take homeand do with their family.

Print our enough stars for each child to take home and do with their family.

Territorial Mission Resources Department Australian Southern Territory © 2015

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