How the Lord Gave Christmas Bible Story: How the Lord Gave Christmas (Jesus is born) • Luke 2: 1-7 Bottom Line

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252 Groups December 2015, Week 3

Large Group, 4-5



How the Lord Gave Christmas
Bible Story: How the Lord Gave Christmas (Jesus is born) • Luke 2:1-7

Bottom Line: God gave us the greatest gift. What will you give?

Memory Verse: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.” John 3:16, NIrV

Life App: Compassion—caring enough to do something about someone else’s need.

Basic Truth: I should treat others the way I want to be treated.

Story: Communicating God’s Truth in Engaging Ways (Large Group, 35 minutes)

Engage kids’ hearts through a dynamic and interactive Bible story, worship, and prayer experience in a Large Group setting.


GETTING READY

  1. Opener/Closer

What You Need:

  • Host

  • 1 blanket (preferably pale blue) to be carried by Host

  • 2 other blankets of equal size (any color)

  • Lots of pieces of crumpled paper (minimum of 100) or colored ball-pit-type balls

  • 2 boxes or bins to hold the paper or balls

  • Painter’s tape


Music and Sound Effects (SFX):

  • Upbeat music to use as kids enter and exit the room

  • Fast music to play during the race/game

Large Group Visuals (downloadable from the website):


  • “Here, Have Some Ornaments!” Slide for game

  • Compassion Slide

  • Triple Dog Dare Theme Slide

  • Bottom Line Slide

  • Memory Verse Slide


What You Do:

  • Download the slides and have them ready to use. If you do not have CG capabilities, you have Orange’s permission to enlarge and print the slides on paper.

  • Download the music from a resource such as iTunes® and have it ready to play.

  • Use the painter’s tape to make a line down the middle of your space, so kids will be divided into two groups. Place a blanket and a box of paper/balls on each side of the line. As the children enter, divide them into two teams. They can be boys versus girls, or divided up by grade. Just make sure one team is sitting on one side of the line and the other team is on the other side.



  1. Bible Story

What You Need:

  • Storyteller

  • Host

  • Bible

  • 1 table

  • 1 jar filled with wood toothpicks (too many to count) (wrapped up like a Christmas present)

  • 1 small loaf of bread (wrapped up like a Christmas present)

  • 1 box of animal crackers (wrapped up like a Christmas present)

  • 1 small item that the Host really wants for Christmas (wrapped up like a Christmas present)


Large Group Visuals (downloadable from the website):

  • Memory Verse Slide

  • Bottom Line Slide


Music and Sound Effects (SFX):

  • Background music


What You Do:
  • Download the slides and have them ready to use. If you do not have CG capabilities, you have Orange’s permission to enlarge and print the slides on paper.


  • Download the music from a resource such as iTunes® and have it ready to play.

  • Wrap the four items. Also add the following note to the gift for your Host: “Dear [Host’s name], thanks for always helping to tell the Bible story. I knew you wanted one of these, so here you go. Merry Christmas!”



  1. Worship

What You Need:

  • Worship Leader(s)


Music and Sound Effects (SFX):

  • “Frosty the Snowman” from Jingle Jam: All Wrapped Up*

  • “This Is Amazing Grace” from Movin’ Me* (On the Get Reel 2.0 DVD there is a Live Loud video you can show to help teach and encourage worship in our everyday lives. Use this segment before doing “This Is Amazing Grace”.)

  • “O Come All Ye Faithful” from Have A Fancy Yancy Christmas*

*Live lyrics video available from https://amberskyrecords.com/
What You Do:

    • Download all songs (available on AmberSkyRecords.com) and have them ready to use.

  • Download and print this week’s tech sheet for everyone helping with Large Group.



  1. Additional Resources

GET REEL: This month with Get Reel 2.0, we Triple Dog Dare the kids to be compassionate all season long.

This week, we recommend playing the Live Loud video to inspire the key faith skill of Worshiping with Your Life. Also on Get Reel 2.0, you can enhance your environment with themed audio transitions (instrumental) to help you move between segments in your Large Group production.


How the Lord Gave Christmas
Bible Story: How the Lord Gave Christmas (Jesus is born) • Luke 2:1-7

Bottom Line: God gave us the greatest gift. What will you give?

Memory Verse: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.” John 3:16, NIrV

Life App: Compassion—caring enough to do something about someone else’s need.

Basic Truth: I should treat others the way I want to be treated.
Story: Communicating God’s Truth in Engaging Ways (Large Group, 35 minutes)

Engage kids’ hearts through a dynamic and interactive Bible story, worship, and prayer experience in a Large Group setting.


SFX: Play high-energy music as kids enter.
Host enters holding a blanket as if it were his best friend.
Opener

HOST: “I’ve been waiting for weeks to say this to everyone: Merry Christmas! It is official. This is the last time we get to hang out before Christmas because Christmas really is almost here for real! Two weeks ago, I was the Grinch. Last week I was from The Polar Express. This week is a tough one. Your only clue is this blanket that I’m carrying. Who thinks they know what character I am and what movie I’m from?

Take a few suggestions from the kids.

“Yes! I am Linus from A Charlie Brown Christmas. If you’ve seen that movie you know that they take a sad little Christmas tree and make it look amazing with some decorations. And that gives me an idea for a game called ‘Here, Have Some Ornaments!’

CG: “Here, Have Some Ornaments!” Slide
“As you may have noticed, there is a line on the floor dividing the room into two sections. Each team has their own side of the room. Also, each team will get their own blanket, which four people on your team will hold at the corners. Once you have four people holding your blanket, they will carry the blanket to the opposite side of the room. That’s right, your team’s blanket will be in enemy territory. But wait, there is more! I have something for the rest of you to do. Each team will get a whole bunch of “ornaments.” It is your job to throw the ornaments to the other side of the room where your teammates with the blanket will try to catch them. If you miss, that’s okay, but then the other team will have some more ammunition. We will play for 30 seconds, and whichever team has the most ornaments in their blanket when time is up will win. On your marks … get set … go!
SFX: Play fast music during the game.
Make sure the children stop throwing when you call time. When the game is over, count up each team’s ornaments in the blankets and declare a winner.
“Wow! That was an intense way to deliver ornaments! And I can’t think of a better game to get us ready for Christmas. But you can’t really talk about Christmas without also talking about compassion.
CG: Compassion Slide
“Compassion is caring enough to do something about someone else's need. Helping other people meet their needs is more important than the decorations, the presents, or even the Christmas movies. And when we take the time to help meet the needs of other people, we’re showing compassion.
CG: Triple Dog Dare Theme Slide

“And we’ve all been dared to show compassion this month. Not regular dared, not double dared, but triple dog dared! And to help us remember to show compassion, let’s spend some time praising God along with our worship leaders!”

Host exits as Worship Leaders enter.
Worship

WORSHIP LEADER: “Hello and Merry Christmas to you. Hey, we are going to sing some praise songs today, but before we do that let’s have a little Christmas fun with a famous snowman: ‘Frosty the Snowman’. C’mon, sing along. I know you know this.”
SFX: “Frosty the Snowman” / track 4 from Jingle Jam: All Wrapped Up

WORSHIP LEADER: “Yeah, that was some Christmas fun. Alright before we sing this next one, take a look at this.”
Optional CG: Play Live Loud video from Get Reel 2.0 DVD.
WORSHIP LEADER: “I’m so thankful that God showed compassion to us. He loved us so much He sent His son Jesus to earth. 1 John 4:9 ‘Here is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world. He sent him so we could receive life through him.’ That is good news today, tomorrow and forevermore. Let’s give praise to Jesus for His gift of grace.”
SFX: “This Is Amazing Grace” / track 6 from Movin’ Me
WORSHIP LEADER: “Continue to sing out today. Worship is about giving your love, your thanks, your honor to the one all praise is due. Let’s honor Jesus Christ, our Lord. Sing this.”
SFX: “O Come All Ye Faithful” / track 9 from Have A Fancy Yancy Christmas
Storyteller enters as Worship Leaders exit. Storyteller is carrying several wrapped presents and puts them on the table.
Setting up the story

STORYTELLER: “Merry Christmas, everyone! As [Host’s name] said earlier, this is our last time to meet together before Christmas day and that’s just ONE of the reasons why today’s story is so special. But let’s take a look at our memory verse first.

CG: Memory Verse Slide
“John 3:16 says, ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.’ (NIrV) We give each other presents at Christmas to remember that God gave us an amazing gift through Jesus. And our story today is about that incredible moment many years ago when Jesus was born. And to help me tell this story, I’m going to need [Host’s name] one more time.
Host enters.
HOST: “Back again to help with the story! So what do you need me to do, run sound effects again? Act out the story with crazy costumes? Read it word for word right out of the Bible?”
STORYTELLER: Nope, none of those things. The story of Jesus’ birth is a story about God giving to us. So I wanted to start off our story by giving you some presents.”
HOST: (Excited) “Presents?! For me?!”
STORYTELLER: “Yes. They’ll help us tell the story.”
CAESAR TAKES A CENSUS

Storyteller hands the first present (with the jar full of toothpicks) to Host.
STORYTELLER: “Here. Open this one first.”
Host opens the present. Inside is a jar filled with lots and lots of wooden toothpicks.
HOST: “Oh. It’s … um … it’s a jar filled with toothpicks?”
STORYTELLER: “Yes, exactly. It’s a jar filled with toothpicks. Quick question: About how many toothpicks would you say are in that jar?”
HOST: “Uh, I really can’t tell. There are a lot in here. There are honestly too many to count.”
STORYTELLER: “Exactly. And that’s the same problem that the Roman Emperor, Augustus, had a long time ago.”
HOST: “He had too many toothpicks?”

STORYTELLER: “No. He wanted to know how many people there were in the Roman Empire and there were just too many to count.”

Storyteller takes the jar and empties out the toothpicks onto the table.
HOST: “My toothpicks!”
STORYTELLER: “Don’t worry, I’m just using them to represent all the people in the Roman Empire. The empire was huge and spread out over several countries. And people moved around in these countries all the time, which made it almost impossible to count the people. So Augustus decreed that all the people should travel back to their hometowns to be counted. That would keep anyone from being counted more than once.”
Storyteller picks out two toothpicks and holds them up.
JOSEPH AND MARY TRAVEL TO BETHLEHEM

STORYTELLER: “So everyone went back to their hometowns, including Joseph and Mary.”
HOST: “Right. I remember this part. Mary was pregnant and that would make traveling difficult.”
STORYTELLER: “Right. But the emperor had given an order and they had to follow. And now you can open your next present.”
Host opens the next present (with loaf of bread inside).
HOST: “Awesome, hopefully this will be a little better than your last present. No offense, a jar of toothpicks is nice, but it’s not exactly what I … it’s a loaf of bread.”
STORYTELLER: “Exactly.”
HOST: “Um, I’m a little confused. Bread is great and all, but still not the best present … and what does bread have to do with the Christmas story?”
STORYTELLER: “Great question! Do you remember the name of the town that Joseph and Mary traveled to?”
HOST: “Of course I do. It was the town of Bethlehem, but what does that have to do with bread?”

STORYTELLER: “Well you might not have known this, but the word Bethlehem means ‘house of bread.’ So that loaf of bread represents the town of Bethlehem in our story.”

Storyteller takes the loaf of bread from Host and puts it on the table.
HOST: “Oh, that’s kind of strange, but I guess that makes sense that a loaf of bread represents a city. So Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, also known as the house of bread, represented here by some bread.”
THERE WAS NO GUEST ROOM AVAILABLE

STORYTELLER: “Yes, but they encountered a problem. Remember how we said that everyone had to travel back to their hometown to be counted? And remember how Mary was pregnant and that made traveling harder? Well, by the time they reached Bethlehem …”
Storyteller picks up a bunch of random toothpicks and sticks them into the loaf of bread until it is covered in toothpicks.
HOST: “It was full of toothpicks?”
STORYTELLER: “No, it was full of people. And there was no guest room available for Joseph and Mary. Now it’s time to open the next present. Go ahead, [Host’s name].”
Host opens the next present (with a box of animal crackers inside).
HOST: “Sweet! Now we’re talking. Animal crackers! These things are some of my favorite things to snack on in the world. Thanks, buddy!
Host opens the box and is about to eat but is stopped by Storyteller.
STORYTELLER: “Wait! Don’t eat those!”
HOST: “Why not?”
Storyteller takes the box of animal crackers.
STORYTELLER: “They’re for the story. You see, there was no guest room available for Joseph and Mary, but Mary needed a place where she could have the baby. So they went to where the animals were kept.”
Storyteller places the two toothpicks into the box of animal crackers.

WRAPPING UP THE STORY


STORYTELLER: “And that night, Mary gave birth to Jesus. They wrapped Him up snugly in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, which is what they put hay in for feeding the animals. And even though Mary and Joseph weren’t in a glorious palace, and even though the baby Jesus wasn’t resting in a beautiful expensive crib, this was still the most important birth that has ever happened. Jesus was God’s gift to the world.
CG: Bottom Line Slide
“And that brings us to our Bottom Line: [Bottom Line] God gave us the greatest gift. What will you give?
HOST: “That’s so right! When God gave us Jesus, He didn’t just give us A gift, He gave us the GREATEST gift.
STORYTELLER: “Yes! That’s because through Jesus, we can have salvation and experience God’s forgiveness. But how about that question: What will you give? All month long we’ve been talking about compassion and how God showed us compassion by giving us Jesus. But we’ve also talked about how God wants us to show compassion, too. We do that by seeing the needs of others and helping them meet those needs. One of the ways we can do that is by giving. There are a lot of ways that we can give to other people. And when we give with compassion, we’re also giving to God. That’s one of the ways we show our thankfulness for the gift of Jesus. Let’s pray and thank God for Jesus, our greatest gift ever.”

Pray

“Dear God, thank You so much for Christmas. Thank You for Mary and Joseph and for the birth of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for loving us so much that You gave us the greatest gift of all. Please help us to have compassion and to see the best ways that we can give to those in need. We love You and we ask these things in Jesus’ name, amen.”

Storyteller exits after the prayer but leaves one more present on the table for Host.
Closer

HOST: “I’ve never heard the Christmas story told using toothpicks, a loaf of bread, and a box of animal crackers before, but I will definitely remember that one. (Notice present.) Uh-oh, it looks like there was one more present I was supposed to open for the story.
Host opens the present to find the thing he has been wanting for Christmas.
WOW! It’s [item]! There’s a note too. ‘Dear [Host’s name], thanks for always helping to tell the Bible story. I knew you wanted one of these, so here you go. Merry Christmas!’ That’s so nice of someone to give me this gift! That reminds me, let’s look at that Bottom Line one more time.
CG: Bottom Line Slide
[Bottom Line] “God gave us the greatest gift. What will you give?
“Jesus is the greatest gift you’ve ever been given and ever will receive. And we celebrate Christmas because of how grateful we are to God for His amazing gift.
“It makes me think: If Christmas is about a gift we’ve already been given, then why do we spend the season wanting more and more? It’s okay to be excited about getting presents. Christmas is a celebration. It should be exciting. But Christmas is about more than the presents; it’s about celebrating God’s greatest gift and sharing that gift with others!
Note: Edit the following to fit your church’s project.

“And remember, our church is making it easy for you to give this Christmas. We’ve already raised [insert current total] to Bite Back malaria and purchase mosquito nets for kids in Uganda! But there’s still more we can do. We want to raise enough money to get [insert number] nets! So keep it up; we’ve almost reached our goal. Just one more week!

“And at home, you can think bigger than presents and stuff. Remember, you can give of your time and spend time with someone who’s lonely. You can give of your talents. If you’re an artist, make some Christmas cards. If you’re funny, try and cheer someone up who’s sad. Whatever your talent, find a way to use it for someone else. You can also give your energy. Instead of watching one more TV show, offer to help someone out around the house just because, without expecting a reward. It’s a gift, after all—a gift that you give because of the gift God gave you.
“I want all of you to have an awesome Christmas. And no matter what presents you get or don’t get, remember that God has already given us the greatest gift in Jesus. Merry Christmas, everyone!”
Dismiss children to their Small Groups.
SFX: Play high-energy music as the kids exit.


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