THIS IS A SAMPLE LESSON FROM THE ‘DON’T BE A GRINCH’ MEMBERS ONLY TEACHING SERIES
IF YOU PREFER NOT TO BECOME A MEMBER YOU CAN BUY THE WHOLE SERIES HERE.
BIG IDEA: I DON’T NEED TO PRETEND
AIM: The aim of the ‘Be Real Don’t Pretend’ Childrens Lesson on Mary (Luke 1:26-56) is to help children see that they can live a life that is authentic to who they are. Unlike the Grinch, children don’t need to pretend.
- Racing Santas. (regular/widescreen) Each child is given their own Santa outfit. This could be a full costume, or a beard and hat. They must run a race or go through an obstacle course. The winner is the player or team to get through the race/obstacle course the fastest.
- Santa Beard. (regular/widescreen) Children are given a packet of cotton wool balls, a plate and some vaseline. They must put the vaseline on their face and dip their face into the cotton wool balls to create the best Santa beard.
- HO HO HO. (regular/widescreen) One child closes their eyes. Someone else is chosen to say ‘Ho Ho Ho!’ in a voice that tries to hide who they are. They must try and disguise their voice. Then the player with their eyes closed must open their eyes and decide who said the phrase. They get three guesses to decide. If they fail they must try again, if they succeed the player that tried to disguise their voice must now close their eyes. The game begins again.
BIG VERSE: Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15.
SET the Scene:
Read Luke 1:26-56. You could also use our Mary monologue to help communicate this passage. In our zoom friendly lesson plan and PowerPoint (see full series member download) some Bible story images are provided also.
- What month was it? (v26)
- Who was called ‘highly favored’? (v28)
- What did the angel tell Mary? (v31-33)
- How did Mary react? (v38)
- What happened to Elizabeth’s baby when she saw Mary? (v44)
- Who did Mary rejoice in? (v47)
- How long did Mary stay with Elizabeth? (v56)
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) GOD CAME AS A BABY
Supplies: baby video supplied in the full series member download. You can also use some of your own video footage of a baby – even better if the baby is your own or someone’s on your team!
Say: Have you ever held a baby? Baby’s can’t pretend. They don’t know how to fake anything. Babies are themselves. And we love them! It’s very difficult not to love a baby.
God came to the world as a baby. That’s right – Jesus came to the world as fully God and fully human. He came to show us what it means to be ourselves and to stop pretending to be someone different. Jesus came to show us what God is like.
Jesus wasn’t scared to be himself. He knew that by being himself He would show us that we can be ourselves too. In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus says that He is the truth. That means that everything He does and says and is – is truth. He is true to Himself. He cannot be fake or false. Jesus is always real and He doesn’t pretend. That’s one of the reasons why we can trust Him. He will always be truthful with us.
2) GOD SEES US FOR WHO WE REALLY ARE
Supplies: large mirror, photos of yourself with filters.
Details: You will need a large mirror and some photos of yourself – one taken without a filter and one with some kind of Instagram/SnapChat filter.
Say: The Grinch hates Christmas. To trick all the people of Whoville he decides to dress up as Santa Clause. He pretends to be Father Christmas so that he can steal Christmas. He doesn’t want the Who’s to see who he really is. We can be like that sometimes too, we can try and hide who we really are [show filtered photos if you have any] because we are scared of what others might think.
God sees us exactly for who we are. We can’t hide ourselves from Him. [Hold up a large mirror or show photos of yourself without a filter]. He knows us inside and out because the Bible says that He created us. Psalm 139:13-14 says “You created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are.”
Mary knew that she couldn’t hide anything from God. When the angel came to her, she was frightened. She said “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (v38). Mary knew that she was just a humble servant of God. She didn’t try to be better than she was or pretend that she knew what she was doing. She went to see Elizabeth her cousin and sang out her feelings toward God. Mary was honest and open about who she was and what she was going through.
3) I DON’T NEED TO PRETEND
Details: Play the Beard or Not? Game and then share the talk below.
Say: Those people in our game were all covered up and you couldn’t tell if they had a beard or not. Just like the Grinch, sometimes we might feel like hiding who we really are. We might not want to tell people about the fears we have or about our hopes and dreams. We might be scared they laugh at us. Perhaps we try to wear the same clothes as others to fit in, or try to get the same toys or watch the same YouTubers or TV programs to make friends.
You don’t need to pretend with God. In fact, you don’t need to pretend at all – with anyone. Things were about to get very scary for Mary. Being pregnant as a teenager – which is about how old she was – was looked down on in Bible times. She could have been killed for having a baby before she was married because people did not like it at all. Mary was going to have to be brave. She was going to have to be strong. The right people would stay with her and stick with her as friends. She didn’t even know if Joseph would stick with her or leave. Yet Mary did not pretend. She was honest. She said yes to God even though she didn’t know what the future would be like. She chose to give birth to the Son of God!
In verse 47 Mary says “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” Mary knew who she was. She was God’s servant. That means she would do whatever God asks. She knew she didn’t need to pretend to be anyone else.
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Details: Play the PowerPoint game where children must decide the correct answer to the questions. Then discuss the questions below.
- Why is it important to be ourselves?
- How do we know if we are pretending to be someone else?
- Why did the Grinch pretend to be Santa Clause?
- Why did Jesus come as a baby and not as a rich man?
- How were the Mary real with others and God?
SENSE How You Feel:
Imagine you are Mary.
Why did God choose to use you?
Encourage the children to think about the question above as they do one of these activities:
- Create the scenes of Mary and Joseph by cutting the pieces out and folding the tabs over so that they stand. Each lesson will provide a similar craft so that all the scenes share the story of Christ’s birth. Download the Mary and Joseph Craft Printable.
- Mould Mary visiting Elizabeth out of playdough or clay.
- Build the scene of the angel visiting Mary out of Lego or other construction toys.
- Sensory: have lots of white feathers on a table to represent the angel wings. Place the different pictures from the Bible story (available in the full member series download or buy the series here) in the feathers for children to look at and order.
- Fill in or color the 5-7s and 8-11s activity booklet.
Thank You God that You love me and You know me inside and out. Thank You that You want the best for me and I don’t need to pretend when I’m with You. Help me to be myself and not to worry about what others think of me. Amen.