John the Baptist
Summary of Lesson Activities:
The focus will be on God’s message at the time of Jesus’ baptism, proclaiming that Jesus was His own Son, and God loved Him. The students will also learn that Jesus is God’s gift of love to all people. We, the baptized people of God are deeply loved by God the Father. The students will make a sugar cookie with “a stained glass heart or dove cut-out” of clear red candy in the center.
- cookie sheets,
- parchment paper or aluminum foil,
- hot pad holders,
- cooling racks,
- tubes of purchased sugar cookie dough (or use recipe attached),
- cookie cutters, mallets,
- hard red candies,
- a knife to slice the rolls of dough (or a small bowl of sugar and a glass if using a homemade recipe.)
- A picture of Jesus’ Baptism,
- a candle and matches,
- Children’s Bibles,
- student journals,
- colored pencils or markers.
- Read and become familiar with the accounts of Jesus’ baptism in the four gospels.
- Purchase prepared sugar cookie dough in a tube for slicing; or prepare sugar cookie dough that the students can roll into balls and flatten with a glass dipped in sugar.
- Set out red candy, mallets, cookie dough, and cookie cutters on a clean working surface (such as white butcher paper or waxed paper).
- Review the attached “Heart in Hand” cookie recipe. Following the directions carefully is essential.
- Make sure that an assistant is available to help bake the cookies!
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Welcome the students warmly. Invite them to thoroughly wash their hands in the kitchen with soap and warm water.
Say: Good morning everyone! We’re starting off the New Year by learning about the wonderful things that took place on the day of Jesus’ own Baptism. But first we’re going to make sugar cookies. The heart-shaped “stained glass” center is to remind us of God’s love for His Son Jesus and for us too! Let’s get started:
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
- Slice sugar cookie slices off for each student. (Or pass out a ball of dough to each student—demonstrate how to roll it into a smooth ball; then flatten it with a glass dipped in sugar.)
- Place each cookie on a foil or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Label each student’s cookie.
- Demonstrate how to coarsely crush the red candies with a mallet; assist students as needed.
- Use a miniature cookie cutter to cut a heart shape in the center of each cookie.
- Fill the cut out area just up to top of cookie with crushed red candy.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes, until cookies just barely begin to brown.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the foil.
Bible Story: The Baptism of Jesus:
Read aloud the story of Jesus’ Baptism from a Children’s Bible or a Children’s Bible story book. Mark 1:1-11 is a good account for young children.
Say: Jesus’ baptism is written about in all four of the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The story starts out with the work of Jesus’ cousin, whom we call John the Baptist, or John the Baptizer. John’s job was to tell people that someone great, Jesus the Christ, God’s Son, was coming. Let’s read the story. (1-2 minutes)
Show: a picture or illustration of Jesus’ Baptism.
Ask: Did you hear what God spoke from the clouds high above when Jesus was baptized? It’s the memory verse for this month. Let’s all say it together. (Practice several times.)
And a voice from Heaven said, “This is my Son whom I love; with Him I am pleased.” Luke Matthew 3:17 NIV
Journal Time – Apply the Lesson:
Say: This story did not end with Jesus’ Baptism. At the end of Jesus’ life on earth He said to His followers “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all. Whoever believes and is baptized is saved.” Mark 16:15-16a The Message.
Say: The followers of Jesus did just what Jesus told them to do. Two thousand years later, people still believe God’s message of love and are baptized. You and I are the baptized people of God! When we were baptized God’s love was everywhere, all around us, and His love is still with us today.
Read: Water Come Down! The Day You Were Baptized by Walter Wangerin, Jr. -
(4-5 minutes) or substitute another children’s story about baptism.
Pass out student journals and markers or colored pencils. Invite the students to draw a picture of Jesus’ baptism, their own baptism, or the baptism of someone they know.
- Carefully remove the cooled cookies from the lined cookie sheets.
- Distribute napkins and cookies to the students.
- Light a candle to remind the students of a baptismal candle.
Table Prayer: Dear God, thank you for speaking from the clouds at Jesus’ baptism, telling us that Jesus is your Son; telling us that you love Him very much. Thank you for making us your sons and daughters too, because of the great gift of your Son Jesus. While we enjoy this morning snack together we ask together
“Come Lord Jesus, be our guest. Let these gifts to us be blest. Amen!"
Clean-up and Dismiss.
- Water Come Down! The Day You Were Baptized by Walter Wangerin, Jr. ISBN 0-8066-3711-0
- The cookie recipe idea was adapted from Spatulatta.com: Heart-in-Hand Cookies
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter - softened
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups of flour and a little extra
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 12-15 clear, red hard candies - we used red Lifesavers® out of a variety bag because they come in individual little bags that kept the candy from flying when we hit it with the mallet.
- Measuring cups and spoons
- A butter knife
- A mixer
- A rubber spatula
- A flexible metal spatula - the kind you turn pancakes with
- A Heart-in-Hand cookie cutter set (You can also use a large heart-shaped cookie cutter and a smaller heart-shaped cookie cutter that will fit inside it)
- A rolling pin
- A kitchen mallet
- 2-3 cookie sheets
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
- A little help from an adult or older sibling
- Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and "cream" them together. Creaming butter and sugar means to beat them together until they are light lemon- colored and very smooth.
- Next add the eggs and vanilla then beat again.
- Now add the 2 1/2 cups of flour, the baking powder and the salt. Mix it all together. As you mix, the cookie dough will start to get stiff. Make sure you scrape all the flour from the sides of the bowl and mix it in well.
- Using your hands, form one or two balls of cookie dough.
- Wrap the cookie dough balls in plastic wrap and put them into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- When the cookie dough has chilled, take it out of the refrigerator.
- Turn the oven to 375 degrees.
- Prepare a cookie sheet by placing a sheet of aluminum foil on it. This will keep the candy from sticking to the sheet.
- Sprinkle a little flour on your rolling pin and on the counter or on a large glass cutting board. Using a cutting board will make clean-up easier.
- Roll the cookie dough out until it is 1/8 of an inch thick.
- Dip your cookie cutters into flour and gently shake most of it off.
- Place the hand cookie cutter on the dough and press down firmly. If you are using a large cookie cutter make sure that all the sides are pressed down evenly.
- Gently lift the cookie cutter and transfer the cookie to the cookie sheet. If the cookie gets stuck on the counter, use the flexible metal spatula to get the cookie up. Slide the tip of the spatula under the cookie dough and gently work your way under the cookie.
- When the hand-shaped cookie is safely on the sheet, place the heart- shaped cookie cutter in the middle, where the palm of the hand would be. Cut out the heart shape.
- Use the kitchen mallet to crush the hard candy. Don't crush it too much, you want it to stay in chunks.
- Place the red candy chunks in the heart-shaped cut-out in the cookie. Fill the hole until the candy is level with the dough surrounding it.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until the cookies are slightly brown.
- Take them out of the oven and cool them on the cookie sheet. Be patient! The cookies and their candy centers must be completely cool before you try to lift them off the foil or else the heart will be left behind.
- When the cookies are cool, lift them gently off the foil or peel the foil away from the candy heart. You will see the light shine through the ruby red heart in the middle of the cookie.
A lesson written by Kirsten from: Augustana Lutheran Church
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