ART workshop lesson plans, ideas and resources for the story of Jesus' presentation in the Temple; Simeon and Anna.
Scripture reference: Luke 2:21-40
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Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of Simeon & Anna
An Art Workshop Lesson
In "Creation Cove" students will decorate baby-food jars for scented candles to be used at the family's Advent Table meals (The word "Messiah" suggests the meaning "One Who Smells Pleasing to God").
Bible Background: Who were Simeon and Anna?
Luke 2:21–39 and others as cited in “Biblical Explanation and Background for Teaching”
Memory verse: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” II Corinthians 9:15
Theme: God leads a prepared Simeon, and a prepare Anna and US to know his son, Jesus, when we prepare to know him and seek Him in obedient faith.
- Children will become familiar with the faith stories of Simeon and Anna in relationship to Jesus’ birth.
- Children will learn that God reveals himself to those who prepare and seek him in obedient faith, just as Jesus, God’s Son, our Savior, was revealed to Simeon and Anna.
- Children will thank God for sending Jesus as their Savior from sin, just as Simeon and Anna did.
- Read the scripture and bible background ahead of time
- Gather the Materials
- Scented votive candles
- Old crayons
- White glue
- Shallow trays
- Warming tray covered with aluminum foil
- Baby food jars
- Permanent marking pen (for child’s name on the bottom of each jar)
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction
Greet the children and introduce yourself and any helpers that you have.
Dig- Main Content and Reflection
Art Project: Scented candles
The good scent reminds us of Jesus, God’s Son, Israel’s Messiah, who became a perfect or “sweet-scented” sacrifice to God when he died on the cross for our sins. Remember to teach that Christmas celebrates Jesus’ birth, and also instruct the children about candle safety, such as “only an adult should light your candle”.
Note: It is suggested that the candle be given as a GIFT to the family or as a dinner table centerpiece so as to keep the candle from being used without adult supervision.
Editor's Note: The Hebrew word "Messiah" suggests the idea of "one who smells pleasing, is acceptable to God/" Sin was sometimes thought of as an evil smell. It was no doubt associated with the concept of being "clean" and cleanliness, about which there were many religious laws. Anointing Oil was scented. The "showbread" in the Temple was scented with frankincense, and frankincense was burned in the Temple where Simeon spent a great deal of time. Kids will certainly relate to the concept of how some attitudes and actions "stink". The actual smells of this workshop will reinforce this on an olfactory level within the brain. Smell memories are deeply wired in the brain and quickly retrieved.
Frankincense oil or incense can be found in stores and online, and could be included in this workshop so that it doesn't stink!
Be sure you make a newspaper “placemat” for each child to work on this time. Pass out the graters; children will probably need to share them. Then pass out used crayons. Ask the children to peel any paper off the crayons. You may be able to teach the lesson while children are grating the crayons. They won’t need a huge amount of crayons. They will spread the crayon bits on the covered, heated warming tray and let them begin to melt. Each child should have a turn to roll a votive candle in the colored crayon on the warming tray so that it’s covered with a colorful layer of wax. You could also experiment with adding glitter to the wax. They can also roll the baby food jars in thinned white glue in a shallow tray and then roll them in glitter in another shallow tray. Alternatively, a child could draw a design in glue with a Q-tip on their jar and then roll it in the glitter. Let the glue dry while you conclude the lesson; the candles will harden quickly.
It would be nice if we could light our candles as we conclude the lesson today. (Check fire regulations and church rules.) In addition to the scent reminding us of the meaning of the word, “Messiah”, a burning candle also reminds us that Jesus said “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12) and “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Simeon said Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32). That meant that the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people who previously had no knowledge of God and of salvation, would find out that Jesus died for their sins too. Most of us are Gentiles who have benefited from the faithfulness of believers who lived before us and faithfully passed on to us the good news about Jesus Christ. God also compares our sinfulness without Jesus Christ to “darkness”, so a candle shining in a dark place reminds us of how the Holy Spirit reveals our sin. (See I John 1:5 – 10 for more background on this.)
Additional Idea: You can also decorate the jar on the outside by gluing glass beads to the glass creating a "stained glass" jar for the candle. Do not use paper or plastic as these may melt if the candle is left to burn. You can glue strips of colored tissue or cellophane to a small plate to go UNDER the glass jar. The Bible verse can then be included on the project.
- Who helped Simeon find Jesus, God’s Son, in the Temple? (ANS: The Holy Spirit guided Simeon to the Temple and showed him who Jesus was.)
- How did Simeon and Anna know what to say about baby Jesus? (ANS: Each one spoke out of faith in God after having spent their lives studying God’s word and living close to God by praying often.)
- What did Mary and Joseph think of the things Simeon said to them about Jesus? (ANS: They “marveled at what was said about him”, Luke 2:33.)
Draw or write about what Mary and Joseph looked like and thought about as Simeon and Anna spoke to them about baby Jesus.
Close with a circle of prayer. Light one or all candles (if permitted). Pray as the Holy Spirit leads, allowing all who want to pray have a turn to pray. Remind children to bring their Bible and a friend next week for their next workshop so that they too can find the Christ Child.
This lesson contributed by Silverdale UMC
It is based on lessons ideas previously posted at rotation.org and additional presentation ideas were contributed by Neil MacQueen.