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Games, Drama, and Art workshop lesson plans for the story of Jesus' presentation in the Temple; Simeon and Anna


Summary of Lesson Activities:

  • Games Workshop: Play Wheel of Fortune using a giant board game.
  • Drama 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.
  • Art Workshop: Students will take a good look at themselves, then with either hand drawings or magazine pictures, compose a picture of themselves and what ‘special’ things they have to offer.


Scripture Reference: 

Luke 2:21-40

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)

Concepts:

  1. God works through everyday experiences and ritual traditions.
  2. Our community of faith helps us to be obedient to God.
  3. God uses others to help us see more clearly our calling.


Simeon & Anna

Game Workshop

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time
  • Gather the Materials.
  • Become Familiar with the rules of the game.
  • Prepare an overhead transparency or chart with blanks for each of the following words. (You can draw out the spaces as you go if you prefer. This could be prepared with Power Point if you desire.)


Materials List:

  • NRSV Bibles
  • Wheel for game
  • Overhead or chart for keeping score
  • Writing the spaces for the letters of the words (read the game directions for the words or phrases to be used)
  • Cards for game for beginners (read the game directions in order to prepare these)
  • Pieces of construction paper taped to floor in game board style, or game board drawn on sheet for beginners
  • Prizes for all children if desired
  • Journaling supplies


Opening- Welcome and introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.

 Dig- Main Content and Reflection

1. Have the students sit where you would like them to during the reading of the story from the Bible. Hand out Bibles and have the children find the scripture in the Bible. Read or retell the story from the Bible, taking note of the following points:

  • As you read the story tell the children that taking Jesus to the temple was a Jewish tradition and Jesus’ parents were faithful to following the customs and traditions of the Jewish religion.
  • As you read about Simeon, tell the children that Simeon was a man that people listened to when he spoke. He had been watching each day for the Messiah. The Holy Spirit had told him that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. He knew the Messiah would come from the tribe of David and be born in Bethlehem.
  • As you read verse 35 talk about whether or not Mary understood what this meant. Ask when would she fully understand? Accept any answer but remind the children that Mary was at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified.
  • After you read Anna’s story, tell the children that Anna saw Jesus as the one who would give spiritual salvation to the people (release the people from the bondage of sin). Note how God used these two people in the temple to tell of Jesus’ future ministry.

 2. Tell the students that, “Today we are going to play a game to help us remember this story.” The Primary and Junior classes will play “Wheel of Fortune.” The Beginners will play a board game where they are the playing pieces (the pieces that move.) Instructions for games are in appendix of this lesson.

Closing:
Bring the children back to the group and ask them what they think the most important thing they will remember from this lesson is. Remind them that Mary and Joseph did what was required of them by their religion and through this God worked in their lives and in Jesus. Remind them that Anna and Simeon were used by God to identify Jesus as the Messiah and help others to see that God was true to the promises made to God’s people.

Closing prayer:
Close the class with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
God in heaven, help us in this exciting season to remember that the reason for the season is the greatest gift of all--your son, Jesus. Thank you for sending him to all people. Amen .

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Have them answer the following:
One way my church helps me to be obedient to God is by helping me learn about . . .


Rules for “Wheel of Fortune”

Divide the class into teams, or let them play individually.For better classroom control you can tell the children that if they or their team makes noise or speaks out of turn they will lose a turn.Spin the wheel to see who gets to go first. The one with highest amount goes first.That person gets to pick a letter. If that letter is one of the letters in the puzzle, the team may guess or spin again. If they can guess the puzzle, that team or person gets the amount of money or points that their spin landed on. If they can’t guess the puzzle or the letter they chose was not part of the puzzle, the next person or team gets a chance to spin and follow the same procedure.It is good to keep up with the letters guessed but not used so they won’t be guessed again.

 Words for the game

A Jewish Tradition
Temple
Burnt Offerings
Nazareth
Two Turtledoves
Bethlehem
Two Young Pigeons
Mary and Joseph
Jesus
Christ Child
Simeon
Redemption
Anna
Savior
Blessing
Jerusalem
House of David
Sacrifice
Holy Spirit

Rules for Board Game for Beginners:

Place a stack of red cards and a stack of blue cards in a spot convenient for the leader to pick them up for a child to draw one for their turn.

Children may guess a number to see who goes first, or you may decide however you want.

Each child starts at the beginning piece of paper that should be marked “Start”.

He or she chooses a red card and the teacher reads what is on the card, or the student may if they are readers. He or she then moves the number of spaces backward or forward as the card says, or draws a blue card as directed. Then the next in line follows the same procedure.

The winner is the child who moves through all the tiles (pieces of paper) first. If all cards are used they can be shuffled and used over.


On Each Red Card write one of the following:

(Be sure these are shuffled so Blue Cards will be drawn.)

  • At the end of eight days he was named Jesus. Move forward 3 spaces.
  • Mary and Joseph took him to Jerusalem as the Jewish religion required. Move forward 2 spaces.
  • Simeon came to the temple on the day Jesus was present. Move forward 1 space.
  • The Holy Spirit had told Simeon he would not die until he saw the Messiah. Move forward 3 spaces.
  • Simeon took Jesus in his arms and blessed God saying now he had seen the Messiah. Move forward 2spaces.
  • Anna went to the temple every day to pray. Move forward 1 space.
  • Redemption was a key message of Anna’s. Move forward 3 spaces.
  • When Anna saw Jesus she gave thanks to God for sending him as the Redeemer. Move forward 2 spaces.
  • Mary and Joseph “did everything required by the law of the Lord.” Move forward 1 space.
  • Jesus grew in strength, wisdom, and graciousness. Move forward 3 spaces.

Do about 5 Red Cards that say:

  • Choose a blue card.

Blue Cards

  • You came to Sunday School today. Skip ahead 4 spaces.
  • Brenthaven is so glad you are here today. Skip ahead 4 spaces.
  • You are a child of God. Skip ahead 4 spaces.
  • Mary and Joseph offered a sacrifice as required by Jewish Law. Move forward 1 space.
  • A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons had to be sacrificed. Move back 2 spaces
  • Simeon had come to the temple every day for many years but had not seen the Messiah. Move back 2 spaces.
  • Simeon told Mary, “A sword will pierce through your own soul.” This predicted Jesus’ suffering. Move back 2 spaces.
  • Anna’s husband died when they had been married 7 years. Move back 1 space.
  • Anna was over 100 years old when she saw Jesus at the temple. Move forward 1 space.
  • Anna longed for redemption for the people from their personal sufferings. Move back 1 space.
  • Anna and Simeon were so old that they did not live to experience Jesus’ ministry. Move back 1 space.


Written by Jan Marshall from Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Brentwood, TN

Last edited by CreativeCarol
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Simeon & Anna

Drama Workshop


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.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time
  • Gather the following materials:
    • NRSV Bibles
    • Wooden baby cradle
    • Artificial holly
    • Poinsettias
    • White Christmas roses
    • Rosemary
    • Evergreens
    • For children who can read: copies of “A Rocking Baby” from the book by Judy Gattis Smith (see References)
    • A baby doll
    • Blanket
    • 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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."
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


Closing:

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?


Closing prayer:
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.

Journal Time:
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?"

References:
Smith, Judy Gattis. Birth, Death, and Resurrection. Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN 1989.


Written by Jan Marshall from Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Brentwood, TN

Last edited by CreativeCarol

Simeon & Anna

Art Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this workshop, the learners will learn how ‘special’ they are and what their ‘special’ gifts are. As we hear in our Bible story, Simeon and Anna knew how ‘special’ baby Jesus was well before many others. In this workshop, the students will take a good look at themselves, then with either hand drawings or magazine pictures, compose a picture of themselves and what ‘special’ things they have to offer.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the following materials:
    • Children’s Holy Bible (Contemporary English Version
    • Various Bibles with pictures of Simeon and Anna
    • Construction paper (white/large size)
    • Markers, crayons
    • Scissors
    • Magazines (age appropriate) to cut pictures from
    • Glue
    • Several hand-held mirrors
    • Polaroid Instant Camera with film
    • Sample of an “Inside and Outside” picture
    • Pencils.

Opening- Welcome and introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection

1. Have the students sit where you would like them to during the reading of the story from the Bible. The teacher will read the story, using the ABS Children’s Bible. Read the story beginning with “Simeon Praises the Lord” through “Anna Speaks about the Child Jesus” on page 1228. Various Bibles will be provided for you that have pictures of Simeon and Anna. Please share these with the class. Either during or after reading the Bible story, the following points need to be made:

  • As you read about Simeon, remind the children that he had been waiting day after day for a very long time, in hopes of seeing the Messiah, as God had promised him he would before he died. He was looking for something ‘special’ about one of the babies that came to the temple.
  • Simeon listened closely as parents entered the temple area to offer their proper sacrifices for their firstborn. He was listening to see if the parents and child matched the prophecies and the Law . . . the something ‘special’ that God spoke to him about.
  • Simeon listened carefully to hear what tribe the parents came from. Did the parent’s family history go back through the house of David? (Yes, Joseph is descended from the line of David—see Matthew1:1-17 if necessary.) Was the child born in Bethlehem? (Where was Jesus born?)
  • Anna prayed daily for her people to be freed from their suffering. God blessed Anna that day in allowing her to see the Messiah (Jesus), the ‘special’ baby that would grow into a man who would heal her people. Until Anna’s death, she would speak of seeing this ‘special’ baby.
     

2. Tell the students that today they are going to make a self-portrait. It is called “Inside and Outside.” On the outside of their portrait, they can draw a picture of themselves. If they need help, hand mirrors will be provided. (Or see step 3 below for an alternative to drawing.) They can use pencils, crayons, markers, etc. The paper they use will be folded, so that when it opens, you can look at the inside. (An example will be provided). On the inside paper, the students can either draw pictures or cut pictures from magazines, that represent what is ‘special’ about themselves . . . what they like to do, what is important to them, how they can help others. Examples: they can sing; like to read or hike; they are gymnasts, football players, tennis or soccer players; they can paint; play music; pray; they want to be teachers, builders, doctors, etc. Please make sure each child writes their name on the front of their picture. Please keep the pictures so that we can display them in the Sunday school wing.

3. If you prefer, or if some of the children find it easier, a Polaroid Instant camera will be provided. An actual picture of the child could be on the front of their paper, with the inside done as directed above.

Closing:
Bring the children back together as a group. Let them share with each other their portraits and what they think is ‘special’ about themselves. Remind them that in God’s eyes we are all special. We are God’s children and God loves each and every one of us.

Closing prayer:
Close the class with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
Dear God, thank you for the ‘special’ gifts that you have given each and every one of us. Help us to use our ‘special’ gifts to help others. Amen.

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Have them answer the following:
"My special gift is . . ."


Written by Jan Marshall from Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Brentwood, TN

Last edited by CreativeCarol

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