Jesus' Birth through the Eyes of Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and
Summary of Lesson Activity:
Uses the Life of Christ Software program.
Memory Verse: Luke 1:49b-50 (CEV), “God's name is holy. He always shows mercy to everyone who worships him."
Students will learn
- that Gabriel was an angel sent to announce the births of John and Jesus
- that Elizabeth and Mary were both expecting children who were part of God's plan for the world.
- that Mary visited Elizabeth so they could support each other as they waited for God's promises to be fulfilled.
- Explore the program so that you can better assist your students.
- Review the background materials.
- Computer for each student
- A copy of “The Life of Christ” CD-ROM for each student
- (For Option A)--Costuming for Elizabeth and Mary
Note to the Teacher:
The main stories on the computer are well done, but quite brief--and never tell the story we are studying of the visit between Elizabeth and Mary. This lesson supplements that and provides two options for tying the stories of Elizabeth and Mary together. Option A uses a second teacher to come in portraying Mary visiting Elizabeth. Option B is a less dramatic way of explaining the connection, and can be done by the one Theme Room Leader. The lesson plan is designed to be able to be cut, if Christmas program practice runs long. The newest, most important materials are toward the beginning--Elizabeth's story and Computer Lesson #1, then Mary and Elizabeth. Computer Lesson #2 would be review for most children, and the matching game at the end could easily be omitted if time ran short.
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction
Greet the children and introduce yourself as well as any helpers you might have.
Ask the student they know what the theme is for our year of Sunday school. Remind them that it is, "Best Friends/Blessed Friends." Ask the students if they have any friends that are quite a bit older than they are. For example, are there neighbors or grandparents or aunts or uncles that they especially enjoy spending time with? Friends aren't always our same age. We can enjoy and learn a lot from spending time with people older than ourselves.
When the Gospel of Luke tells us what happened leading up to Jesus' birth, it tells the story of two women who were both expecting special babies. Does anybody know who these two women and their babies were? (Elizabeth--John the Baptist; Mary--Jesus). These two women knew each other--in fact, they were relatives. They were also good friends, even though Elizabeth was a lot older than Mary. At one point while they were both waiting for their babies, Mary went to visit Elizabeth and stayed with her a long time so they could support each other at that exciting time in their lives.
Today we're going to be using some computer lessons to learn more about these two women and the special babies that they were expecting. Let's begin, though, with prayer.
Holy God, you worked to fulfill your great promise of a Savior for the world through the lives of two ordinary women--Elizabeth and Mary. Be with us today as we learn about these two friends, and help us to think about how you might do other things through us, and our friends. Let all of God’s children say, AMEN.
Dig- Main content and Reflection
Option A (Story-telling version): (It would be best if a Shepherd led the previous part of this lesson. The Theme Room Leader would come in now as Elizabeth. If this is not possible, put on a head scarf or some way to indicate that you are now "becoming" Elizabeth).
"Welcome to my house. My name is Elizabeth. You maybe don't know much about me, or about my husband Zechariah. We have only a small part in the Christmas story, and usually we are not included in the story books or movies about Christmas. That is fine, however. We are simply servants of God. Our son, John, was much more important than we were, but he often told people that he came to prepare people for one much greater than he--the promised Savior, Jesus. The Gospel writer Luke, telling the story of Jesus' birth, sees fit to begin his story by telling about my husband and I. You see, Jesus' mother Mary and I had several things in common. I would like you to go through a lesson on your computers that tells about both me and Mary. When we are done, we can talk about some of the things that you have discovered that Mary and I had in common."
Option B (Lesson): Before the prayer I mentioned that the Gospel of Luke tells the story of two special babies. You have all heard before the story of Jesus' birth to Mary. You may not be so familiar with the other story--of a baby born to an elderly couple named Zechariah and Elizabeth. Those two stories are connected in several ways. Your first computer lesson will tell the story of these two women and the babies that they were promised. Pay attention to ways that these stories are similar. When the lesson is done, I will ask you to tell me some things that Elizabeth and Mary had in common.
The Computer Lesson #1:
- Put “The Life of Christ CD-ROM” in your CD-ROM drive
- From the Start menu select "Discovery Interactive: The Life of Christ"
- After the opening credits, Click “New Exploration”
- Select a name from the list or enter your own, and click, "Start Exploration"
- At the office, click on the crate in the corner (Lessons)
- At the "Lesson Index" select “6-10, Beginnings to Baptism”
- Select Lesson #6, "An Angel Brings Good News"
- Go through the lesson. It ends with the question, "Do you believe that God will do all he promises?" Discuss this question. Ask, "What promises were made to Zechariah and Elizabeth, and to Mary and Joseph? (They would soon have children sent by God as part of God's plan for salvation) What kinds of promises does God make to us? (Forgiveness of sin, eternal life, a new creation one day)
- Have each student work through the lesson quiz (6 questions) Click in the lower right corner between questions.
Mary and Elizabeth:
What were some things that Elizabeth and Mary had in common? Encourage the students to respond. Some of the answers might be:
• They were relatives
• They both were expecting babies
• The angel Gabriel announced that they would have special babies (though the announcement was made to Zechariah, not Elizabeth)
• Both of the babies were part of God's plan to save the world--John (Elizabeth's son) would prepare people for the Messiah, who was Jesus (Mary's son).
Option A (story-telling): (The other teacher, dressed in blue as Mary, knocks on the door. "Elizabeth" opens the door and acts surprised and excited)
Elizabeth: Look who's here--it's Mary! Come in, Mary, we were just talking about you. I was just going to tell the class about the time when you came to visit me while we were both expecting our babies.
Mary: That was a very special time.
Elizabeth: It certainly was! I was so surprised and honored that you would come to see me. After all, you were the mother of our Lord. You were carrying inside of you the Savior of the world.
Mary: Yes, I was greatly honored by God to be chosen for that role--but it was about God's plans, not that I was so great. Besides, you were my family. I wanted to come to you. I had heard that you were expecting a baby, too, and I was worried. I knew that you were getting up in age, and it would be hard to keep up with everything while you were big and pregnant. Since your pregnancy was about six months ahead of mine, I thought I would spend some time helping you out before I got too big and uncomfortable.
Elizabeth: That was so kind of you. I don't know how I would have gotten along without you. Zechariah is a good husband, but as you know, men in those days did not do such things as cooking and cleaning and helping out at home. It was great that you were there to help me. Besides, it gave us a good chance to visit.
Mary: It sure did. That was the best part for me. Who else could I talk to about what God was doing through me. I couldn't just walk up to someone and say, "Hi, my name is Mary and the baby inside me will be the Savior of the world!" They'd think I was absolutely crazy! But you understood. God had told Zechariah that he was sending the Savior into the world. You and I could talk about what God was doing, and how awesome it was to be a part of God's plan.
Elizabeth: I really enjoyed our talks--especially since Zechariah couldn't say a word at that time. You were an incredible girl, Mary. You were so young, and yet your faith was so deep. I should have been teaching you, but you taught me.
Mary: We taught each other, Elizabeth, and supported each other. That's what friends do, isn't it? We helped each other think about what it meant to serve God with our lives!
Elizabeth: Yes, we did. I missed you, once John was born and you went back to Nazareth to get ready for your own baby. That story is much more important than my story. Let's have the students look that story up on their computers now.
Option B (Teaching): The angel Gabriel had told Mary that her relative Elizabeth was already six months pregnant, even though she was so old that she and her husband Zechariah had long ago given up ever having children. Gabriel told Mary, "There is nothing that God cannot do." Almost right away, Mary went to Elizabeth's and Zechariah's home in the hill country of Judea to see if she could be of any help to her relative. Growing a baby is hard work even for a young woman, but Mary was concerned about how Elizabeth would do, given her age. Elizabeth was very happy to see Mary. The baby jumped inside of her as soon as Mary's voice was heard, and Elizabeth knew by God's Holy Spirit that Mary's baby would be the one that would be the Savior of the world. She said to Mary, "You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear." Mary praised God, though, saying "My heart praises the Lord; my soul is glad because of God my Savior, for he has remembered me, his lowly servant! From now on all people will call me happy because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me."
Mary stayed with Elizabeth until John was born, then went back to her home in Nazareth to wait for the time for her own baby to be born. Our second computer lesson tells that story--the story of Christmas.
Computer Lesson #2
- Click on "Return to Lesson Index"
- Click on "#7--The Savior is Born"
- Go through the lesson
- The last question asks, "Imagine what the shepherds thought and felt"--spend some time talking about what it would be like to be a shepherd outside Bethlehem that night.
- At the screen, "Are you ready to take the lesson quiz?" have students click yes.
- Take the quiz (6 questions). Click in lower right corner between questions
- When finished, click on "Return to Lesson Index"
- At the lesson index, point the mouse/cursor to the left side of the screen, click on "office"
- Click on the books on the bookshelf
- Click on the "Practice" book
- Under "Matching" click on "Beginnings to Baptism"
- This may be a tough game--encourage students to start with the items they know, and then guess on the rest.
Mary and Elizabeth had some important things to talk about with each other. If I had something important to talk about, I could go to____________ because…..
Dear God, we thank you for coming to us in Jesus as our Savior. As we celebrate his birth, help us to remember Elizabeth and Mary, and the way that they encouraged each other in serving you. Help us to support one another as we try to do your will. And all of God’s children said…AMEN.
When you are done with the computers, have the students move their cursor to the left side of the screen and click on "Exit." As the music plays, click “Quit.” Remove the CD and put it back in the case.
A lesson written by Ted Kunze from: Augustana Lutheran Church
St. James, MN
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