Rotation.org Writing Team
Mary Accepts, Magnifies, and Ponders
and you should too!
Lesson Set Summary
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Our Mary Lesson Set was completely revised and improved in 2015! You suggestions are welcome. Just "reply" at the bottom of this page.
Why focus on Mary?
Each year in Rotation Sunday School we look at a different parts of the Christmas story. This rotation looks at the most important "person like us" in the story, Mary, for clues about our own response to God's advent in Jesus Christ.
Mary is Jesus' mom! ...and is a major figure in the Gospels. Odds are you are a Protestant reading this, and were not raised to think about Mary as much as our Catholic brothers and sisters were. This is too bad, because Mary is a great example of what a young believer should be like: filled with the spirit of acceptance, praising and pondering.
Gabriel visits Mary (Luke 1:26-38)
Mary's Song of Joy (Luke 1: 46-55)
Mary Treasures and Ponders what the Shepherds say (Luke 2:8-20)**
Accepts: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord." (Luke 1:38a NRSV)
Magnifies: "My soul magnifies the Lord." (Luke 1:46 NRSV)
Ponders: "But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19 NRSV)
**Not all the workshops include Luke 2 in their focus.
Learning objectives for this set:
- Students will learn how Mary responded to God's plan for sending the Savior into the world through her: a response of acceptance, magnifying, and pondering.
- Students will explore how they can accept, magnify, and ponder what God was and is doing at Advent.
- They will commit to memory Luke 1:46, "My soul magnifies the Lord," and more importantly, understand and express what such faith means and feels like.
Material in this Rotation Lesson Set
Who was Mary? What was her response to God's plan for her? This background especially helps teachers share important insights with their students. A word study enlarges our understanding of what she meant when she sang, "my soul magnifies the Lord." Teaching objectives also help sharpen the teachers' focus in each lesson.
Lesson Plan Summaries
This lesson focuses on Mary's statement: "My soul magnifies the Lord," by combining both the use of creative illustration and the words in miniature to be read under magnification. The Bible study is a creative discovery of what the words "soul" and "magnify" are really meant to convey.
Students create and play a fun game involving "pitching and catching baby Jesus" that demonstrates key ideas about "being ready" for Christ. Then, after a creative scripture reading, they compete to construct a manger that illustrates the attitude of accepting/embracing, magnifying/praising, and pondering/sharing what God has done for us and is still doing through his Advent.
Students will explore the "Yo! Joe & Mary" section of Fluffy & God's Amazing Christmas Adventures software (FREE to supporting members of rotation.org). Students will learn more about Mary's role and faithful response when told by Gabriel that she would bear the Messiah. They will interpret Mary's Song of Joy (a.k.a. "Magnificat") using their own words, and ponder by creating a song (using the software) the meaning of their own "hopes and fears" and how Jesus' birth brings them good news.
Students will prepare three unique food items, taste and eat them as part of an interactive scripted "Mary Seder." The lesson includes recipes and discussion for "Pondering Pudding", "Mary's Song Spices," and "After the Shepherds Mints." Ingredients are connected to specific verses in Mary's story and the lesson has a strong sense of life application.
Students rehearse and videotape 3 songs from Rotation.org's "Mary's Lost Christmas Opera." The songs use familiar Christmas tunes with new lyrics that teach the concepts and the truths found in Mary's encounter with Gabriel (Luke 1:26-38), her response in Mary's Song of Joy (Luke 1: 46-55), and Mary's pondering reaction to the shepherds visit. (Luke 2:8-20). The "opera" uses lip-syncing and off-camera singing techniques to reduce "performance pressure" and help everyone participate, even non-readers.
The children will think about how Mary had to prepare to be a new mother and by comparison, how each of us must prepare to be servants of the Lord. The children will make no-sew blankets to be given to new mothers in the church, a local maternity department or women’s ministry.
Students will view and discuss select clips from the animated musical, "The Promise" to learn more about how they can ponder, accept, and magnify our Lord Jesus Christ just as Mary did.
Things you need to know about the lessons in this set:
The lessons in this set were written to complement each other. Each lesson approaches Mary's story using a different teaching medium, and each lesson has a slightly different emphasis.
Whether you use the Rotation Model or not, ideally you would teach SEVERAL of these lessons over a period of weeks during Advent.
Why a focus on Mary?
That may seem unusual if you are Protestant, but Mary is arguably the biggest presence in the Advent story, after God, of course. Read the Bible Background for Teachers for more about that! Advent comes around every year, and we have many other lesson sets for it.
What is the Rotation.org Writing Team?
Volunteer lesson writers have been getting together to write sets of workshop lessons since 2002. Over five dozen volunteers have taken part in this ministry. Because that intensive help requires professional assistance paid for by our Supporting Members, only Supporting Members get access to the lessons themselves. It's a major benefit of supporting our site.