DRAMA (PHOTOGRAPHY), PUPPET, NEWSROOM workshop lesson plans and ideas for the story of Jesus' presentation in the Temple; Simeon and Anna.
Scripture reference: Luke 2:21-40
Post your lessons and ideas below.
Simeon & Anna
Summary of Lesson Activities:
In this workshop, children will have the opportunity to share a tradition that is important to them, as well as learn about the “Rocking Baby” tradition from England. Finally, the group will act out the presenting of baby Jesus in the Temple.
Memory Verse: Luke 2:22
“When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” (NRSV)
- God works through everyday experiences and ritual traditions.
- Our community of faith helps us to be obedient to God.
- God uses others to help us see more clearly our calling.
- Read the scripture ahead of time
- Gather the following materials:
- NRSV Bibles
- Wooden baby cradle
- Artificial holly
- White Christmas roses
- For children who can read: copies of “A Rocking Baby” from the book by Judy Gattis Smith (see References)
- A baby doll
- Costumes for Mary, Joseph, Simeon, and Anna
- Journaling supplies
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction
Greet the children and introduce yourself and any helpers that you have.
Dig- Main Content and Reflection
- Have the children seated on the floor. Talk about traditions or ideas that are handed down from generation to generation. Share with the group a tradition that is important to you. Ask them to think of a tradition that is important to them and/or their family. Allow each child to act out a tradition using only actions, no words. Allow the group to guess what tradition the child is acting out. Keep in mind that the traditions can be something associated with Advent and Christmas, but could also be something from another time of year such as birthdays, vacations, etc.
- Gather the children around the cradle. Talk with them about the longstanding tradition in England called the “Rocking Baby.” This is a tradition in which a cradle is decorated with flowers and greenery. Parents of a recently born baby bring the child to the church where the baby is rocked in the cradle. A short play describing the presentation of Jesus in the Temple is presented. The baby’s name is added to a book of all the others that have been presented during past years during the “Rocking Baby” ceremony called the "Register of Rocking."
- Ask the children to use the flowers and greenery to decorate the cradle. Use the information provided with this lesson to talk with the children about the different traditions or stories that have been passed down concerning the flowers and greenery. For the children that can read, ask them to read the different stories as the flowers are placed on the cradle. You can share the stories with the non-readers as they place the flowers and greenery on the cradle. Let the children take turns placing the baby in the cradle and rocking.
- After the cradle is decorated and everyone has had a turn to rock the baby, ask the group to act out the story of Jesus being presented in the Temple. You will need Mary, Joseph, Simeon, and Anna. Use the baby doll for Jesus. One child could be the narrator and tell the story in their own words, or you could read it from the Bible.
After acting out the story, talk with the children about why traditions are important. You might ask:
- Why do you think traditions are important to us?
- Why do you think the people in England want to have the “Rocking Baby” ceremony each year?
- Why do you think Mary and Joseph thought the tradition of presenting their baby in the Temple was important?
Close the class with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
Gracious God, thank you for the traditions we have that hold us together as a family and as a community of faith. Help us to cherish old traditions while learning new ones. Amen.
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Have them answer the following: "Why are traditions important? If you could start a new tradition what would it be?"
Smith, Judy Gattis. Birth, Death, and Resurrection. Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN 1989.
Written by Jan Marshall from Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church