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This Christmas Bible study is designed to bring a sense of wonder back to our Christmas story experience. Sometimes the sense of wonder can be found again when we allow ourselves to "wonder." Have you ever wondered about Zechariah and Elizabeth?
We tend to jump ahead straight to the manger, but when we do, we are missing a great lesson experienced by two faithful believers who were a part of the Christmas story!
This Christmas Bible study lesson based on a portion of the Christmas story may be used with any age. We have included a basic Bible lesson script with a variety of interactive options for different ages including children, youth and adults.
This is also a great tool for family time worship during the Christmas season!
Set a treat out on the table; it could be cookies, individually wrapped candy, etc. Let the group know you have brought a treat for everyone to share. Ask if they would like some, but don't give it out yet!
Tell them that you can't give it out yet, they'll need to wait. Set a timer for 3 minutes, but don't let them know how long it will be. Then sit and wait or finish preparing for the lesson while they wait for an unknown period of time.
When the timer goes off, ask how they felt about waiting. Was it hard?
Let's think about all the times and places we have to wait. Make a list on the board or sheet of paper; then rank them by the approximate amount of time each requires in waiting.
In the Gospel of Luke we find the story of Christmas didn't begin in the manger, a lot happened before that special night.
The Hebrew people had been waiting for a Savior for hundreds of years. It had been about 400 years since the last prophet had spoken for God.
[Have students turn back to find the last book of the Old Testament to find this prophets name - Malachi.]
Luke begins his telling of the Christmas story with the good news that a new prophet would come to make the way for the long-awaited Savior.
Read Luke 1:5-7.
Read the following verses out loud, but stop before saying John's name and allow the group to announce the name - "John." Then clarify that this was John the Baptist.
One of the longest waits is the nine months before a baby is born. There is nothing to be done to hurry it along, but in that time of waiting, there is much taking place!
Waiting is not idle; it is not empty. Much is accomplished in the wait and the outcome is so worth it!
Webster's definitions of "Waiting" include:
Both of these would be applicable descriptions of Zechariah and Elizabeth. They had been waiting for a baby, they waited in expectation for the arrival of a Savior, and during all that time they served and obeyed God.
[Allow the group to discuss some of the things that are done or prepared as a family waits for a baby to be born.]
So they weren't being idle in the wait and neither was God!
Zechariah and Elizabeth had waited years to become parents; it must have seemed like such a long wait...much longer than the nine months they waited for him to be born.
The length of time they waited was no surprise to God though; He had already been at work hundreds of years preparing for this time. We can know that even in the wait, God is at work.
In that last book of the Old Testament, the one God had Malachi write about 400 years before the birth of Zechariah's and Elizabeth's son, it says -
"I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty." (Malachi 3:1, NIV)
Even about 400 years before that, the prophet Isaiah wrote about their son too -
"A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Isaiah 40:3
The complete story of John the Baptist is a whole other lesson, but do have the group recall how the prophecies in the Old Testament came to be exactly as promised. God had a plan and God had prepared; even in the wait, much was taking place that could not be seen.
In times of waiting in our lives, we can trust God's plan and that He is at work. Nothing takes God by surprise.
A great deal took place that first Christmas even before Jesus was born. In the wait there was great expectation and probably also fear of the unknown for those who lived it.
This Christmas may we keep our eyes and hearts open with great expectation of all God has ahead of us even to the second coming of Christ. The world may seem scary, but God is in control and can be trusted with it all.
A few additional Christmas Bible study fun activities for children include:
More Christmas Bible Study Lessons to celebrate our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ!
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