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This Christmas Bible study for kids is the fourth in a series of Bible lessons designed to encourage children, youth and even us adults to experience Christmas in a new way using our five senses.
These also correspond with the themes for the Advent Season - hope, love, joy and peace. The fifth lesson focuses on what's next - the wisemen.
Our sense of touch is probably more important than we realize. You may have heard of Harlow's experiments with infant monkeys. It was shown touch was important to survival. Psychology Today goes on to say:
"It has been found that touch calms our nervous center and slows down our heartbeat. Human touch also lowers blood pressure as well as cortisol, our stress hormone. It also triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone known for promoting emotional bonding to others."
God gave us the sense of touch for a reason and purpose. In this Christmas Bible Study for kids or youth, we'll connect our sense of touch to our great need for peace - specifically peace with God and the peace of God. Both Simeon and Anna patiently waited for God's "peace on earth" to appear and be held.
This is a fun activity to introduce the sense of touch as well as "holding on!"
Have students stand in a circle. If you have a really large group you may want to divide them into smaller circles. A group of five to ten is a good number for each.
First each person reaches their left hand into the circle and grabs hold of another person's hand. This cannot be a person right beside them though; it must be someone across from them.
Next each person grabs hold of another person's right hand with their own right hand. Again, this cannot be a person right beside them, nor can it be the same person whose hand they already hold.
Now to untangle the knot. Members can turn, twist, step over, duck under, etc., but they can NOT let go of either person's hands.
They must HOLD ON!
To play this game you had to use your sense of touch, hold on to each other and work together. This is important in life also. God has given us the gift of touch and the gift of relationships.
What was hard about the game? What was easy? What made it fun? Did you want to give up?
There are times in life we struggle and "wrestle" with circumstances or people. Some times we just want to give up.
We're going to look at two people from the Christmas story today you may not have heard of, but they show us how to hold on to peace even in the long waits and difficulties of life.
Photo by Tanaya Sadhukhan
Challenge students to listen for any form of the word "hold" such as held, holding, etc. Any time they hear it, they are to clasp their arms around themselves like a hug.
Ask kids to try to describe peace; then share what the dictionary says:
Peace can be a hard concept to put into words. Explain that peace feels like a place we are safe no matter what is going on around us; it's like a big safe hug from God.
Ask students to share who gives them the BEST hugs; then ask if that person is a stranger or someone they know that cares about them and they love back.
Peace has to do with relationship; we usually don't feel peace when we are lonely. The Hebrew word for peace is "shalom." (Have kids say it out loud with you.) Shalom means - completeness.
One name the prophet Isaiah used for the coming Messiah was "Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) Jesus came that He might give us completeness through a relationship with Him. Jesus came to lead us and the world to a place of wholeness that can only be found in Him.
Ask students to share a time they have felt real peace.
Have you ever thought about the characters in the Christmas story in the Bible and who might have held Jesus? (allow for thoughts & discussion)
More than likely you thought of Mary and Joseph. Who else may have held Him though? The Bible actually only mentions one other person besides Mary specifically.
Read Luke 2:25-35
Point out verse 28-29 - "Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace."
How many of you have ever even heard of this man Simeon? His story actually comes between Jesus born in a manger and when the Wisemen found and worshipped Jesus.
We can learn a great deal about Simeon from this passage, but today let's focus on the fact Simeon was watching and waiting for the Messiah to come. When he saw Jesus, he took Him in his arms and held him. He also used the word "peace!"
During all of Simeon's life Israel had been ruled by Rome. Life was a struggle if you were Jewish. Yet Simeon held on to God's promise of a Messiah until He could actually hold the Messiah - Jesus.
We find our true peace when we hold on to Jesus no matter what may be going on around us!
Photo by Alwi Hafizh Al Mumtaz @ Pexels
Read Luke 2:36-38
There was another person in the temple that day looking for the Messiah also; what did these verses say her name was? (Anna)
What place did it say she never left? (Temple)
To the Jewish people, the Temple was where they would go to worship and be in God's presence. Anna was staying as close as she could to God's presence.
Where do we go to be in God's presence? God is everywhere, but we don't really experience His presence unless we make ourselves aware of His presence.
Think about everyone who will be in church with us today. They are there, but how many will you actually notice and be aware they are there?
Anna stayed in the Temple with the purpose of being in God's presence, being aware He was near and listening to her prayers. We call this worship. And although we may think of worship as something we do in a church building, we can actually worship anywhere and anytime.
Worship takes place when we think about and are aware God is with us. We may talk to Him, praise Him, or just enjoy knowing He is near us. We get to experience the fruit of His Holy Spirit -
All these come from God, and we experience them when we spend time with God. Through spending time in God's presence whether it's in prayer, reading or studying the Bible, serving others, etc., this fruit becomes a part of our life and others can see it through our words and actions.
We can't actually touch God for He is Spirit, but we can "snuggle up" to His presence no matter where we are. Knowing God is near and with us gives us peace; we know we are not alone.
"because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” - Hebrews 13:5b
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Just like Anna may have been a widow for many years, she knew how to find peace in God's presence knowing she was never truly alone. Jesus is Immanuel - God with us!
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
True peace is found in God's presence as we learn to hold on to Jesus. Both Simeon and Anna knew this. This Christmas season and every day beyond, we can know this too!
© Copyright 2022 Susan Smart
Have students hug themselves with their own two arms as you pray thanking God for His love for each of them and for Jesus leaving Heaven to come to be God with us.
Tell them to go hug some people today and as they do to remember God is with them and also share with each person Jesus is Immanuel and our Prince of Peace!
Find other lessons in this Christmas Bible study for kids series here - "Packing Up Our Christmas Senses"
Have kids trace both their hands on a piece of construction paper or card stock. Write "A hug from God" on one and "to you!" on the other. Depending on their ages, help them or allow them to carefully cut the hands out (the may just cut around and not between fingers).
Help them attach their hands with yarn or an accordion-folded strip of paper. Also print the Bible verse 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (or allow them to write it) on the back of the second hand. Tell them to give their hug to someone and tell them Jesus loves them!
"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you."
2 Thessalonians 3:16
Another free Christmas Bible study series - Renewing the Wonder of Christmas
These lessons look at Christmas through the eyes of those who were there the first Christmas and include activities for kids, youth & adults.
Also available are our free Christmas Object Lessons!
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