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The lesson plans, ideas, and resources in this "General" forum about Jesus' Birth tend to cover the "entire" story of Jesus' birth, rather than focusing on individual parts or persons in it. Check our other Advent story forums for lessons that are more specific to particular persons or episodes, such as angels, Mary, shepherds, Magi, etc. Don't forget the Writing Team's extra creative Advent lesson sets too!

To kick off this topic, Neil has donated four of his Advent children's sermons from his software site. You are welcome to borrow, modify, and otherwise adjust them to your own sensibilities and needs. We also invite you to REPLY with one of your own or link to good ones that you know of.

With a little bit of creative adaptation, good Children's Sermons can easily be expanded into classroom lessons.




Four Fun Advent Children’s Sermons

from Rev. Neil MacQueen

  1. A Picture of Baby Jesus’ Friends
  2. What Would Jesus Give our Sunday School for Christmas?
  3. The Four Candles and Gifts of Advent
  4. Shout It Out Loud!  (Epiphany)
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Advent Children’s Sermon 1:

A Picture of Baby Jesus’ Friends

by Rev. Neil MacQueen

I love this children’s sermon! Years ago on vacation, my kids had a great time playing in front of a PAINTED horizontal mirror in a restaurant playground. Painted on the mirror were crazy hair-dos and beards that the kids could walk up to and position themselves so they looked like they were wearing them.  My kids loved it. (Since then, I’ve always wanted to put a LONG MIRROR in a hallway of my Sunday School with the same effect, only this time with costumes/hair/beards and titles of Bible heroes, …so they could “see themselves in the picture” and realize that “they were the Bible heroes the world needed now.”)

A few years later, I added the "Cellphone Selfie" portion to this children's sermon --with the phone call from Jesus. I didn't tell anyone the phone was going to ring and the Senior Pastor loved the congregational reaction.  I kept the MIRROR portion of the children's sermon, and then realized later that I could have just shown the kids my cellphone with the "selfie" option turned on so they could see themselves in the screen.  I dunno, there's still something nice about the idea of "seeing yourself in a mirror as a friend of Jesus."

So here’s the children’s sermon:

One Sunday in Advent, after preparing it, gift wrap a long rectangular picture mirror, —one of those inexpensive non-glass ones you can buy for the back of your kids’ bedroom door. Use acrylic paints to paint some crazy hairdos and beards on it -horizontally across the mirror so that it will show several faces. Add some titles like “Bible Hero”. Wrap it in Xmas paper and ask the kids to guess what it is. After some preliminary guesses, tell them that the gift is a PICTURE OF BABY JESUS’ FRIENDS…. people who wanted to grow up just like he did and obey God, and change the world!

Let them unwrap the mirror and have fun letting them position themselves in the mirror as Jesus’ friends. Turn it around and angle it so the congregation can see it too. Then walk it up to a few adults and say, “Look, Mr. ____is a friend of Baby Jesus too!”

Now pull out your cellphone and state, I love to take photos of my family, don't you? Let's take some selfies and send them to Jesus!  (Create some fun group selfies and snap photos with your phone. Be sure to show the kids and make some goofy comments. Then ask, "Anybody know Jesus' phone number? I want to text him our pictures?  After a few fun responses, suggest that maybe we should just leave the phone on the Communion Table and trust Jesus to know how to see our photos in whatever way he knows how to do that. As soon as you put the phone down on the Table and start to dismiss the kids, have someone in the congregation CALL YOUR PHONE. Look shocked, and answer it. "Oh really Jesus? Well thank you."  Then hang up and tell the kids Jesus said he appreciated the photos and loves being part of their family. (If they haven't figure out by the tone of your voice or don't know you very well, wink when you say that.)

Point to Make:  God came into the world as Jesus at Christmas so that we might be saved and made into the FRIENDS of Jesus, …people who started out as a baby just like he did, people who grow up just like he did, people who love God as he did, and are willing to try and change the world just like he was willing.

I’ll leave it at that. Feel free to word-monger to suit your needs.

Note: In one church I used to go to, I ‘gave’ this children’s sermon to a pastor to do with the kids. He dumbed it down, pulling out a PLAIN HAND MIRROR and showing the kids their reflection.  The kids were unimpressed by the tiny mirror that didn’t have anything painted on it.

Advent Children’s Sermon 2:

What Would Jesus Give our Sunday School for Christmas?

by Rev. Neil MacQueen

This Advent children’s sermon could be a one-off, or an Advent series (which is how I originally did it).

In brief:  

One Sunday…  The children “unwrap” several things for their Sunday School that Jesus has given THEM for Christmas.  Kids (and adults) love the anticipation, the humor, and the poignancy. After each gift is unwrapped by the kids and passed around, the pastor asks, “Why would Jesus give us THIS for Christmas? What can we do with it?”   The setup up is that some of the things are mundane and merely useful. Markers and toilet paper, how thoughtful of Jesus!  (Point: Jesus cares about our every need. Nothing is too little for Jesus.)

On another Sunday in this “What Would Jesus Give?” Advent series, I gave the kids a small gift “from Jesus”.  We had found these inexpensive “Jesus dog tags” in a catalog (back when wearing dog-tags were trendy) which said, “I belong to Jesus.” We talked about “who Jesus belonged to” (his parents, to God, the world), and who WE belong to if we give ourselves. Celebrating Christmas is about welcoming Jesus into our lives, and seeing that we belong… are part of his family. 

On the final Sunday in Advent, Jesus gave the kids a new popcorn machine for their classroom. After they unwrapped that, I had a couple of teenagers bring in another big empty box with a bow on it. (It was a refrigerator box on its side.)  I asked what was in the box, and they answered: “NOTHING YET.”  After some back and forth, one of the teens started wrapping up one of the children (with help from the other teens) and said, “Jesus wants US for his Christmas gift, …our hearts and lives and faith.”  They put the wrapped kid in the box (it had a door to it), and then asked, “who else wants to give themselves to Jesus?”   Over the next 3 minutes, they haphazardly wrapped all the kids and stuffed them in the box. Had to have an adult hold the box and keep the kids from tipping it over. VERY effective sight and experience for all!

Yikes! Just remembered another Advent children’s sermon I once did….
We bought these plastic “creche” figurines for kids. Oriental trading company, I believe really inexpensive. We SET ASIDE two of the characters and used them this way. Our church had this really fancy Creche (manger) scene in the Sanctuary. For the children’s sermon, we went to look at it, and I asked a trick question: “We have all the important people from the story, right? But who else are we missing in this manger scene? They are really important and we’re missing them!”  Of course, the answer was THEM, …THEY were missing in the scene. At that point, we produced the character figurines and a couple of MARKERS. We had the kids write their names on their figures and place them in the creche.

Advent Children’s Sermon 3:

The Four Candles and Gifts of Advent

by Rev. Neil MacQueen

Each week, students help you unwrap and open a large gift-wrapped box. 

Inside the box are two separately wrapped items: 

(1) a candle for the Advent Wreath.
(2) A bag of “reminder gifts” you will give out to each child.

Your children’s sermon starts with the meaning of that Sunday’s candle (and all previous ones). After you put it in the wreath, you then unwrap the other gift in the box: “reminders” that you will to each child as you talk about them. After the reminders are given out, volunteers come forward to light the candle in the wreath and lead the congregation in your traditional candle liturgy, after which, the children depart.

Your “reminder gifts” are keyed to the candle liturgy your church uses. And yes, there are many different candle liturgies!  ...so you're going to have to get your liturgy and think of "what token gift" you can give your children to remember that particular message.

Oriental Trading Company is a terrific place to shop these doodads and get inspiration.

Here are some examples of the “doodads” you could hand out and describe for each candle, but don’t let my list limit your creativity.

The 1st Sunday of Advent usually features the “Prophet’s Candle of Hope” reminding us that God will fulfill his promise. Jesus is coming.  One year we gave out "tea candles" to each child. They cost about a buck each at Oriental Trading. Another year we gave out tiny flashlights (also about a buck each). We did a demonstration of "can you see the candle flame from way back here? And as it got closer, it got larger.  The light looks small in the darkness, but as it gets closer it grows. (I pulled out a giant flashlight and blinded the kids with it in a fun way.)  When we put all our hopes together, the light is even bigger. And we can signal hope to each other (we did this by having the kids turn off their lights and only turn it back on when someone signaled to them with their "hope light."  Pass the hope! Jesus is coming.

The 2nd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the “Bethlehem Candle” reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.  One year we gave out “donkey ornament craft kits we had assembled into sandwich bags along with a picture of the finished craft.” They are now selling them at OTC under the name “donkey clothespin craft.” You can also see them at many craft websites. Last year we gave out manger ornaments that had the name of the church handwritten on the back of them.

The 3rd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the “Shepherd’s Candle” reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus. To imagine the shepherd’s excitement, we gave each child a “super bouncy ball” (really inexpensive by the bag). We wrote “shepherd’s joy” on each with a permanent marker.  Another year, we made and put shepherd headdresses and headbands on everyone. That was super popular and a great photo-op!

The 4th Sunday of Advent symbolizes Peace with the “Angel’s Candle” reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”  Angels are God’s messengers, so one year we bought Oriental Trading’s really inexpensive “Christmas Message Pens” for all the kids -one to keep, and one to share with a friend. 

Another year we gave all the kids small plastic horns to “announce the birth.” All that morning you could hear kids tooting in the halls and it put a smile on everyone’s face. We even asked the congregation to “tell a child to blow their angel horn if you see them.” It was great fun. Again, these are available in bulk online really cheap.

EPIPHANY Children’s Sermon:

Shout it Out Loud!

by Rev. Neil MacQueen

Epiphany Sunday is the first Sunday after January 6th -which is the traditional date of Epiphany. Often it is called “Three Kings Day.”  In this children’s sermon, we’re going to focus on the word “Epiphany” through a fun demonstration.  Preparation, your energy, and clue-ing in a few older kids is the key.

The Basic Point:
Epiphany means “insight” or “revelation” …but those words are too hard for kids. Instead, we’re going to use “exciting discovery you want to tell others about.”  Jesus’ parents, the shepherds, and the Kings made an exciting discovery and wanted to tell others. We do too (i.e. share the Epiphany).

Ahead of time, pin a posterboard to a very large heavy blanket and write this sentence on it” “As soon as you read this SHOUT the WORD “AWESOME!”

Also ahead of time, write on the flip side of the sign the sentence: When  “Jesus is our King”

Also ahead of time, tell one of your children that they are going to be “in on the joke.” They will get to “go first” to see behind a blanket, and when they do, they will see the sign that says, “Awesome” and should shout it out loud when they do.

Go over this children’s sermon with two teens who will be holding the blanket. Tell them to prompt the kids going behind the blanket to do the shouting (in case any are shy) and to shout with them!

After welcoming the kids, invite your two teens to stand to the side holding the heavy blanket like a wall so that the kids and congregation cannot see the posterboard pinned to the back of it. Tell them about Epiphany and that it means “surprise” or “revealing.” Then tell them you have a surprise for them behind the blanket, and that you’re going to let them all go see it, one by one, and that when they do, they are to stay there.

Next, invite your “pre-picked” student to go behind the blanket, see the sign, and shout Awesome! as you have pre-arranged. Then, one by one invite the seated younger children to go stand behind the blanket.

As you send the kids one-by-one behind the blanket, they stay back there until everyone is behind the blanket.  As you hear each kid shout, talk to the other kids about what could be so exciting.

Once all the kids are behind the blanket, go with them and stir it up a bit. Ask the kids “What’s so exciting back here? What have you discovered?”

…At that question, have your student helper FLIP OVER card on which you have written in big letters: “When I say shout, I want you to Shout Together as loud as you can: JESUS IS OUR KING!!”  (You need to quietly whisper the instruction for non-readers.)

Now say “shout” to them and point to the words on the card, “Jesus is our King!”

Say, “I can’t hear you,” and point to the words again. Shout it a third time.

Now have your helpers drop the blanket. As they do this, the kids will have big smiles on their faces, as will the congregation.

You can provide some concluding remarks now, or use this EXTRA ENDING. I did this ending the second time I used this children’s sermon and it went over big:

Split up the kids, half in front of one side of the congregation, and half in front of the other side to lead a cheer. The first half shouts: “Jesus is Our King” and the second half shouts, “Awesome!” Do that a couple of times and have fun with it.

They will shout it out loud, guaranteed!

Wrap it up by saying, “The gift Jesus wants from us, is to not HIDE our love for him. Now you could shout about it, but that would get pretty annoying very quick!   So here’s the idea:

Instead of shouting your faith with words,

I want you to PUMP UP THE VOLUME on your love and generosity,

PUMP UP your compassion and care for each other.

PUMP UP your worship attendance

And Shout Real Quiet by spending time in prayer and reading the Bible.

Those are the kinds of “wise and loud gifts” Jesus would really like.

AMEN? — I can’t hear you.  AMEN???  (Wait until they shout AMEN!!!)

(Note: This is what I “approximately” said, as I wrote this down afterward. Feel free to word monger it.)

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