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(WT) Advent: Isaiah Promised, Jesus Fulfilled ~ Bible Skills & Games

 Rotation.org Writing Team

Advent: Isaiah Foretold, Jesus Fulfilled

Bible Skills & Games Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activity luannepayne2

Based on Isaiah 9:2, "The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light," students will play a number of "flashlight games" that demonstrate who and what that Great Light is, and how we reflect that light at Christmas and year-round.

The activities and teachable moments in this lesson require a room that can be made dark. 

Scripture 

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 (NRSV)

The people who walked in darkness, have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.

For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

(Note: the "great light" is not just a "what" but a "who." Jesus is the Great Light.)

Matthew 1:20b-24  (NRSV)

...an angel of the Lord appeared to him (Joseph) in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: (Isaiah 7:14)

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,” 

...which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,

Objectives 

See the Bible Background for this set's complete list of objectives.

Objectives for this workshop

  • Life Application: This particular workshop focuses on the description of the Emmanuel/Messiah as a "great light" (Isaiah 9:2), and so has a strong note of life application (reflecting the light), appropriate for Advent, the season of lights.
  • Bible Skill:  This workshop helps students develop a working memory of Isaiah 9:2, 6-7, not only for their great meaning, but because they are used annually during Advent. This workshop also has students searching for other scriptures about "light" as they pertain to Christ.

 


 

Preparation

  • Read the Bible Background, scripture and this lesson.
  • Purchase* or gather flashlights for each student.


* Each student in this workshop will need a flashlight for the games. This lesson also includes an activity to decorate the flashlight with information from the lesson, so that it can go home and keep on shining.  Pictured right is a screenshot of some typical "LED" flashlights you can buy in bundles from Amazon. You will want bright flashlights, not the cheapie "party favor" plastic ones sold in bulk. 

  • Prepare your classroom or find a room that will be dark.
  • Place words written on index cards around the room for Flashlight Activity 2 using the list of words found below in that activity.
  • Prior to class write scripture passages about "light" on the white board (see Flashlight Activity 1).
  • Make sure to either have a cross or a picture of Jesus hung in your room.

 

Materials List 

  • Bibles
  • white board (appropriate marker)
  • bright flashlights for the kids (one per student)
  • two flashlights for the teacher, one weak, one very strong.
  • batteries (one per flashlight - penlights require 1 AA)
  • a roll of tin foil or silver mylar sheet (see note in lesson below about use)
  • a black permanent marker (for reflection activity)
  • a cross or a picture of Jesus (must be hung in room)
  • sheets of paper to place questions around the room

 



 

Lesson Plan 

Today's lesson is a series of activities using flashlights. The teacher will need a more powerful flashlight to shine on themselves at times, and direct various activities. These "games" are really object lesson demonstrations and discussion opportunities designed to illuminate important ideas about the LIGHT of God, Jesus Christ. The following "say this" comments are starters. Feel free to elaborate!

Open 

Welcome your students and explain how today's lesson will unfold. Explain that today you hope they will leave here following and reflecting the Light of the World promised by Isaiah and born in the manger.

Today's lesson is a series of activities using flashlights. Tell your students that at times, you will ask them to turn their flashlights on or off, while you use yours. 

Distribute flashlights and Bibles to each student, establish some ground rules about following your instructions, let them know that they can take their flashlight home if they follow your instructions, and then turn the room lights off for the first activity.  

flashlightsFlashlight Discussion Tips for Teacher:

  • To conserve battery power, you will need to have them turn off their flashlights for periods of time (bring extra batteries just in case). Use your flashlight during these times.
  • Be playful! When you're talking, hold the light under your chin.
  • When a student is talking, shine your light on them.
  • When picking a student, twirl your light around playfully until it lands on a student.

 

Flashlight Activity 1:  We need God's light to help us understand scripture

Prior to class write these four scripture passages about "light" on the board. Now shine your light on them one at a time and assign them to your students for them to look up. Have them use their flashlights to look at the reference and find it in their Bible. Give them 2 minutes to find and read their assignment, then have them read it out-loud when you point your light at them.

1) Isaiah 9:2  The people who walked in darkness, have seen a great light; 

those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined. 

Questions to ask:
What is deep darkness? (have everyone turn off their light to experience that — can't see, feeling alone, or a bit scared? Darkness is also a metaphor for sin. It keeps us from enjoying life, seeing truth, seeing solutions.

Do you think Isaiah is talking about an actual light, like the sun or a spotlight? Or is he talking about something else?  (The next passage will answer this question.)

2) John 8:12  Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

Question to ask:
So what is the answer to the question "who is the great light that shines in the darkness? (Jesus)

3) John 1:4-5  What has come into being  in him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 

Comment and Questions: 
This comes in the very first chapter of John's Gospel. He doesn't tell the story of Jesus' birth like Matthew and Luke do. Instead, he talks about WHY Jesus came into the world. What does John 1:4-5 say is the purpose of Jesus' light? (life)

What would happen if the sun stopped shining? What would happen to us if Jesus stopped loving and helping us?

4) Matthew 2:9-11    They set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star (a light!) that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star (light) had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Questions:  Who is this passage talking about? (Wisemen) What is a star? (it's a light)  How did people in ancient times navigate by the stars?  

Teach this Bible 'Skill' by making the following observation:

Say: Everyone turn off their lights. Now try to read your Bible. Does that work?
When we say that Jesus is our great light, one of the things we mean is that he helps us see and understand important things. The Bible is just a book full of words unless we ask God to help us understand it. When some people hear it or read it, it doesn't make sense to them, or doesn't seem important, or seems like a bunch of dull stories. But when you ask Jesus to shine his light on its words, he helps the Bible come alive.

Here's a saying that might seem wrong at first, until you really think about what it means:

The Bible doesn't shine light on Jesus. Jesus shines his light on the Bible.

Conclude by saying, "let's play a game I call, can you find it?

Flashlight Activity 2: Can you FIND what I'm describing? 

Start in the dark and say: I have placed several important things around our room for you to find. Can you see them? Of course not. You are a people walking (or sitting) in darkness. We need God's light to come show us important things about life, to show us the truth about things, to show us the right way to live. In this game about those ideas, I'm going to announce something to look for. When I say "go" turn on your lights and the first one to spot it with their light yell, "I found it!" THEN as fast as you can, everyone point your light at it too until everyone has found it. Ready?

Things to find with the light:  (words on signs placed around the room)

luannepayne1. Pick a fun object in the room.

2. God

3. "The answer to your problem"

4. Joy and Peace

5. A strong desire to attend church

6. Finding time to read the Bible

7. Pick another fun object in the room

8. Believing that Jesus is the Messiah 

Observation to Make (and demonstrate with your light):  

What does the word Emmanuel mean? If you need to, look up Matthew 1:23.

It means, "God with us." So that means if God is with us, Jesus is with us, and that means the LIGHT is with us, doesn't it?  

God's presence shines through us, when we let it. Can you hide it? Try to restrict it? Yes. Being a Christian means allowing God's light to actively guide your life.

Let's try that out in our next game called "follow the leader light

Flashlight Activity 3: Follow the Leader Light

Have students turn on their lights and try to follow yours around the room.

Then turn off your light, point it to a corner of the room, and turn it back on. See which students can get their beam to your spot the fastest.

Now let a couple of your students be the leader.

Observation to Make:  

The Light of Christ shines through each of us, if we let it. And that means when we work together, we can lead each other to learn new things and do important things. That's what the church is all about, the people of God letting God's light shine through them to do and learn important things. 

Do this: When I say your name, turn your light on and shine it on our classroom cross (or picture of Jesus).  (This is why we gather to worship, learn, pray, and serve.)
 

Reflect: A Real Reflection Activity

foilboy

With the classroom lights on, produce a roll of tin foil wrap and have the class wrap one student standing in the middle of the room in the foil, shiny side out. Take a photo! 

TIP:  Use heavy duty foil and apply some invisible tape to keep it from tearing when they move. A great alterative is purchasing a silver mylar blankets (sheets) in the camping section of Wal-Mart for about $4. And they're re-usable by more than one student!

Next gather most of your students at one end of the room, about 5 feet from the student now wrapped in foil/silver mylar. Place two students at the foot of the person wrapped in foil.  [Tip: The effect once the room is dark will be that when everyone shines their lights onto the foiled student, that light will be reflected onto the two seated students.  Have the black permanent marker handy!]

Turn off the lights, and say the following:

Jesus gave his disciples the following important insights, and now I'm going to share them with you to. Jesus said we should believe in the light, so that we can become the children of light(John 12:36).

Have the group turn on their flashlights and point them at the tin-foiled student.

The student will get bright(!) and the reflected light will light up the room.

Say: The other things Jesus said was that as children of light, we are to let that light shine before others, ...to give glory to our Father in heaven (Matt 5:16).  When you believe, when you a child of the light, you are supposed to reflect God's light to others.

Ask: We're doing it with flashlights, but in real life, how do you reflect God's light to others?  (acts of kindness, compassion, service, sharing the Good News)

As they offer suggestions, write their words onto the tin foil your student is wearing. (Use a permanent marker so it won't smear.)

Take another photo!  

Conclude with prayer that each of us would believe in the Great Light Isaiah promised, who was born in Bethlehem, and shines on our lives. We pray that we would reflect his light to others in the way we talk, act, and worship. Amen!


 

OPTION:  Memorizing Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 with flashlights.

Prior to class, write out the words and phrases of Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 on 7 or 8 index cards, then, tape them up in random places around the room.

Then in the dark classroom, as a group have students aim their flashlight beam at the words of Isaiah 9 in the correct order, everyone saying the words/phrases as they illuminate them, but only when everyone's beams have found the word card.

They will be searching the walls frantically for the correct next card and then shouting for others to join their beam on the card. Make them wait until all the beams have found the correct card before saying it out loud and then looking for the next card. 

After doing it once, do it faster a second time, and challenge individuals to do it. 


 
Additional Suggestions 

Older Students with extra time: Bring in different sized flashlights to include in your demonstration. And/or show and discuss ways people choose not to reflect, what keeps us from reflecting God's glory? What makes some people "brighter" or "dimmer?"

Younger Students: Ask if any of your students are afraid of the dark, and discuss how that's a natural fear. Sit next to children who seem to be more afraid than others.

Game 1 - as they can't read or look up the scriptures have them all assist you (take part) by shining their lights on each passage so you can read it to them. 

Game 2 - use pictures instead of text (words)

Memorizing Scripture

John 8:12  Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

We found this same flashlight idea used in a blog by a mom with her two year old - where she used pictures to help with memorizing this scripture, the pictures can be found at the bottom of her blog "Teaching Kids Jesus Is the Light of the World" link.


 

Written by The Writing Team, based on an idea posted by Neil MacQueen.  Photos from Hampton United Church, Hampton Ontario.

Copyright © 2015 by Rotation.org 

Printed from https://www.rotation.org

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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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