Comparing Biblical and Worldly views of Christmas

Yesterday was Shepherd Sunday for Sunday School, and we did several activities in 4th grade to get to know each each other better, connect after the holidays, and continue to learn about the birth and life of Christ from the Bible.

We started by playing a name and action game, where each student (and teacher) said their name and did a unique action or movement. Each time someone new shared their name and action, we repeated together all the names and gestures of the people who came before them. I’m not sure what the name of this game is, but it is something I’ve done before with students and it was a fun and energetic way to get us started.

We next sat in a circle and shared the one or two favorite gifts we RECEIVED for Christmas. Answers included a piano, microscope, new tennis shoes, Android tablet, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire HDX, Razor scooter, light up pillow, and more. We discussed how Christmas is much more than receiving gifts, and next brainstormed the messages which “the world” tells us Christmas is about. Our list included:

  1. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
  2. Santa Claus / Kris Kringle
  3. Elvis singing “Santa Claus is coming to town” (but also talking about God in kind of a confusing way)
  4. Giving gifts
  5. Money

We next brainstormed what the Bible says about Christmas. This was our list:

  1. Jesus was born in Bethlehem
  2. Jesus was born in a manger
  3. Jesus is God’s son
  4. Jesus was born from the virgin Mary
  5. Elizabeth visited Mary before their children were born, and John the Baptist (still in the womb) jumped for joy when Mary came with Jesus who was still in her womb
  6. 3 wise men came to visit Jesus and his family after his birth
  7. Herod, the king, killed all the baby boys under the age of two when he learned the wise men hadn’t returned to tell him about the child they had found. He did this because he didn’t want another king to grow up who would challenge him.

We then started to work on a “5 Photo Story” to highlight some of the things we knew are true about Christmas from the Bible. The students wanted to first stage a photo about Herod killing the babies who were under 2, and this led to a lot of discussion about why he did that and how the holy family left to be safe in Egypt. We talked about how an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told them to go to Egypt.

We ran out of time and were only able to take that first photo. I hope this background about our lesson and discussion helps shed some light on what we did and talked about Sunday! Please discuss these ideas with your child, and use their interest in different aspects of the story (including the Herod story) to deepen their understanding of Biblical truth and the story of Jesus.

We’re looking forward to a great 2014 of Sunday School! Our next rotation starts next week!

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