This thread is for posting workshop lesson plans and ideas for ALL workshops related to the stories of Simeon and Anna.
Please format your lesson plan to make it easy to read.
The story of Simeon and Anna is not usually covered in Sunday School by Rotation Model churches, ...which explains the lack of material here.
Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of Simeon & Anna
Drama and/or Photography Workshop
The Incarnation: God Keeps His Promises
At the end of the session the children will be able to:
- Identify Luke as one of the four books known as the Gospels and locate it in the New Testament.
- Relate that "Gospel" means "Good News."
- Relate the story of the birth of Jesus and identify each character.
- Identify Simeon and Anna as prophets who waited in the temple to see the promised Messiah.
- Begin to understand our trust in one true God who keeps His promises to His people.
- Experience some of the feelings and emotions of all involved with the birth of Jesus.
- Read the scripture ahead of time.
- Gather the Materials
- Bible-time costumes
- Sheep cut out from posterboard
- Doll (Baby Jesus)
- Shepherd crooks
- Angel wings
- Halos (gold or silver tinsel work well)
- Flip chart
- Digital camera [alternate option if digital pictures not used: Polaroid camera and film to fit it]
- Photo mounting tape or corners
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction
Greet the children and introduce yourself and any helpers that you have.
Background comments on the story:
- Read also Luke 1 and Matthew 1-2. Note that the Luke account does not include the wise men or Herod.
- God's message is given to all: lowly shepherds, Gentiles (2: 32).
- Mary and Joseph's actions in the Temple in Jerusalem fulfilled the requirements of Jewish law (Luke 2: 39); Jesus grew up participating in and following the laws given by God to Moses, even though as an adult he often acted in opposition to the law.
- Jesus fulfilled God's promise of salvation, as noted by both Simeon and Anna. Simeon declares who Jesus is and foreshadows what he will do. Note that Jesus drew no attention from the Temple officials, only two pious people in the Temple.
Dig- Main Content and Reflection
Take time to talk with the students about their Holiday plans for travel and visitors. Talk about Holiday excitement and anticipation: not only about hoped-for gifts but also about gifts to be given to others. If anyone has (or will have) a new baby in the family, ask them to share their feelings of expectation.
Bringing the story to life: Photo tableaus
Read the scripture: Luke 2: 22-40
This is a familiar story, spread out over two Gospels. Do not read or tell the entire story, but do review the highlights of Luke 2:1-40.
Characters: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, Angel, army of angels, shepherds, innkeeper, Simeon, Anna
Where did the story take place? road to Bethlehem, stable, sheep field, Temple in Jerusalem
Talk about Simeon and Anna.
How would you feel if you were Mary, Joseph, innkeeper, shepherds, Simeon when he sees Jesus, Anna when she sees Jesus, Mary and Joseph's reaction to everything?
Outline key scenes and key phrases from the story on the flip chart. Select from the list on the flipchart approximately six scenes that will tell the story. These will be photographed. Possible scenes are:
1) Birth of Jesus
5) Temple/family with Simeon
6) Temple/family with Anna
Warm-up exercises: Before class: write the names of the characters in the story on slips of paper (depending on the number of people in the class, some names may be used more than once). Have each child draw the name of a person in the story. Divide the class into pairs. Each child should work with his or her partner to decide what each partner's character would say and do when they first heard about Jesus or saw Jesus.
Assign parts and run through the scenes listed on the flipchart, deciding where to stop the action to form a tableau that will tell the story without words. (If different people will have the same part in different pictures, make sure the character is always wearing the same costume.) Work on facial expressions that "say something," since the pictures will be silent. After the class is happy with the selected scenes, run through it again and take the pictures.
If you are using a digital camera and doing this as a two week lesson or have a computer at home: use the program that came with the digital camera to add captions to each picture. Print a copy of the book for each member of the class and one for the classroom or church library.
If using one week lesson/Polaroid photo option: Mount the photos on posterboard and write meaningful captions for each one. Make sure to list the participants' names. Hang the poster in the hallway for everyone to enjoy.
Pulling it all together:
- What did God do to bring [the people] back to the covenant? (Belonging to God: a First Catechism (PCUSA) question # 21)
Although God judged the people when they sinned, God still loved them and remained faithful to them. God sent them prophets to speak God's word. God gave them priests to make sacrifices for their sins. God called kings to protect the needy and guarantee justice. At last God promised to send the Messiah.
- Was Jesus just another human being? (Belonging to God: a First Catechism (PCUSA) question #24)
No. Although he was truly human, he was also God with us. As someone who was truly human, he could share all our sorrows. Yet because he was truly God, he could save us from all our sins.
- Discuss "Gospel" = "good news." The shepherds certainly heard Gospel. (Luke 2: 10: "But the angel said to them, ‘Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all people.'" What good news is there in our life? Can we share it as the shepherds did?
- What promise did God make to Simeon? Did He keep it?
- What do we know about Anna? (She was an old prophetess, a person who proclaims a message from God.)
- What promises of God can you think of? (God promised to Noah that there would be no more floods; God promised to bless Abraham and make him the father of a great nation; God promised to always care for His people; God promised He would save His people; God promised Simeon and Anna they would see the promised Messiah before they died ...)
- I wonder how Simeon and Anna knew to go to the Temple at the right time and knew Jesus was the baby they were looking for?
- "Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them." (Luke 2:19. Also 2:33.) What do you think Mary thought?
Have the children assist in putting everything away and then end with a prayer.
Closing prayer: Father: Send your Spirit upon us, so that we too may see your salvation. Thank you for your promises to us, especially your promise of salvation at Easter through your son born at Christmas. Help us to keep sight of this promised salvation throughout this hectic season. Amen.
Books for sharing before and after class: there are many picture book versions of the Christmas story available in the public library. Some are better than others. Look for ones with particularly attractive pictures or different ways of telling the story (not just those written in King James English).
- dePaola, Tomie. Mary, The Mother of Jesus. New York: Holiday House, 1995. (Scripture and legend woven together; includes Simeon and Anna episode.)
- Heyer, Carol. The Christmas Story. Nashville: Ideals, 1991. (Includes the Simeon and Anna episode.)
- L'Engle, Madeleine. The Glorious Impossible. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990. (The life of Jesus illustrated by Giotto's frescoes; includes Simeon and Anna episode.)
Other Christmas books (don't include Simeon and Anna)
- Ganari, Anita. The Story of Christmas. (Photos show children in costumes acting out the story.)
- Mayper, Monica. Come and See: A Christmas Story. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. (Smiling shepherds lead the townspeople to the stable, ending with all dancing for joy around the stable.)
- Allan, Nicholas. Jesus' Christmas Party. New York: Random House, 1991. (This story is not quite Biblically accurate, but it is great fun to imagine the innkeeper's reaction as a parade of visitors knock on his door, looking for the baby.)
- Clements, Andrew. Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers. New York: Clarion, 1996. (The story from an angel's point of view.)
A lesson written by Amy Crane from: Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.