If you have a lesson on John the Baptist during Advent (or any time, really), how about an ornament to remember John as preparing the way for Jesus? We used the following lesson plan in a class of 2nd-5th graders.
What we normally do for a lesson is this:
- Have a coloring page on hand. As kids come in, they start to color and we chit-chat until we are ready to begin.
- We have a beginning ritual of lighting a candle to remind us of God's presence with us, an opening prayer, and a brief review of the class rules (which the kids helped create).
- Then the leader reads the story of the day: in this case, Matthew 3:1-12 and/or Luke 3:7-18. It could be straight from the Bible or it could be an elaboration or paraphrase. We've found that the kids listen better when they have something to do; hence, the coloring page. Also, a coloring page as opposed to drawing on a blank piece of paper works best for us because it helps channel the kids' attention.
- Then we introduce the day's activity. There is much imagery in these passages about John the Baptist. We focused on the following: John wore a rough coat and lived in the wilderness. People said he fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.'" He baptized people who changed their ways and turned to God. He told his disciples that one was coming after him whose sandals he was not worthy to untie.
For each child you need:
A clear plastic ball ornament that splits in half so you can put things inside.
Felt or rough cloth – kids cut out a coat shape or even just a scrap to put into their ornament to represent John's rough coat and his life in the desert.
Sandal – cut an oval from a brown foam sheet & glue a couple of pieces of twine or string onto it as straps. This represents what John said about Jesus.
Cockle-type shell – to represent baptism.
John's message – On parchment-looking printer paper 3/4” wide and 5 1/2” long, kids write "Prepare the way of the Lord," curl it around a pencil with the message facing outward, then put it in the ornament so it curls around the other items and the message is visible.
You may wish to glue the two pieces of the ornament together so it won't accidentally come undone.
This is the idea, except we included a small white cockle-shell and decided not to use the green clothespin (locust) and bee (wild honey).
Here's the finished product.