Prior to group time, set up your classroom. Use as many decorations as you care to in order to create a party atmosphere. Set up snacks; pour M&Ms in a bowl, but do not put it out as a snack. As students enter, surprise them with an impromptu party. Explain that the party is for no particular reason other than to celebrate your group and the people in it.
If time allows, play this ice breaker game (if not, skip to the next paragraph). Have our students sit in a large circle. Walk past your students one by one and have them pick an M&M randomly from the bowl—instruct them not to eat it at this time. Once everyone has one, instruct them to tell something about themselves based on the color of M&M they chose. Go around the circle asking each student to show their M&M; ask them the coordinating question. (After playing the game, students may eat the rest of the M&Ms.)
M&M Icebreaker Questions
Yellow – What are your three favorite foods?
Green – What is something you can’t live without?
Blue – What do you want to be when you grow up?
Red – What is your favorite book or movie?
Orange – What is your favorite animal and why?
Brown – What is something you are good at?
Have students talk about special celebrations they have attended: a surprise party, wedding anniversary, classroom party at school for a goal met, a birthday celebration, etc.
Show the following video clip to your students [2:56]:
Subway Sweet Sixteen – a surprised birthday on the train!
- How would you describe the friendship between Addie and the birthday girl Jen? (Answers will vary, however, most students will say Addie went out of her way to make her best friend’s Sweet 16 celebration special. The girls seem to be very close friends and have a fun, special relationship.)
- Why do you think the passengers played along instead of being annoyed at the disturbance? (The girls planning the party did a great job of including all of the passengers and created a feeling of excitement and anticipation for everyone on the train. They even had cupcakes for all and interactive decorations. The passengers seemed to be happy to be a part of the birthday surprise celebration.)
- When Jen entered the train and was surprised, a woman went up to her and told her she had wonderful friends. Do you agree or disagree with this assessment of Jen’s friends? (Most students will say that Jen has great friends. Her friends went out of their way to make Jen’s birthday special and they took notice of the fact that Jen loved the subway and they incorporated her love of it into their celebration surprise.)
- The birthday entertainment came mostly from the passengers. Why do you think everyone got involved in this celebration? (Answers will vary. Invite students to share. A 16th birthday is a big deal and those on the train wanted to make the young girl’s birthday celebration memorable and also seemed to be caught up in the excitement of the celebration.)
Celebrations happen all of the time, but some are more special than others as we saw in this surprise birthday celebration. The Israelites had reason to celebrate something very special—let’s find out when and how they celebrated!
Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. For upper elementary, middle school, and high school your Step 4 appears below. For adult, use the Step 4 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.
God created the Passover celebration as a time for the Israelites to recall what He did for them. The lamb they sacrificed to put blood on the doorposts as protection against death entering their households is a picture of Jesus—the Lamb of God and ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
- Why was the Passover an event worth celebrating? (Some answers may include: God saved Israel’s sons from death; God provided a way for the plagues to end; the Israelites were able to escape Egyptian slavery after this event; God created a Promised Land that the Israelites would be able to make their own, etc.)
Earlier, we celebrated our class and the people in it. We chose to celebrate each other and what we mean to each other with party decorations and snacks. It is fun to celebrate things, even little things. God wants us to remember what He has done. This is often done when Christians celebrate Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection. Yet, there are many other things in the Bible worth remembering and celebrating. God’s inspired Word has much to remind us of as believers!
Hand out index cards and pens/pencils. Have students write on their index card today’s memory verse and one reason why it is important to remember and celebrate what God or Jesus has done for us. Then have them write down something besides Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection that is worth celebrating. (Examples might include: God created a beautiful world for us to live in, God is always with us, God loves us, God cares what happens to us, God has a plan for our lives, etc.) Allow ample time for students to do this.
Encourage students to turn to the person on their right and share what they have written down and why they think what they wrote down is worth celebrating!
As we head into our week ahead, it is easy to forget what we’ve talked about today. Perhaps you have another celebration to enjoy such as a friend or family member’s birthday. Maybe it’s been a year since you joined the band or choir or have been friends with a certain person. There are many things we remember and celebrate each month. This week try to focus on a spiritual thing to remember and celebrate. For example, the day you believed in Christ and became a Christian, your baptism, first communion, making a close Christian friend, leading another person to Christ, sharing deep spiritual thoughts with someone your age, helping a non-believer see that Christians are loving and caring, etc. The list can go on and on. Tell the person on your right with whom you recently shared your plan for remembering something spiritual this week. And then, be sure to celebrate this spiritual event in your own way this week!
Close in prayer thanking God for all that He has done in your life and your families’ lives. Praise Him for specific answers to prayers you have seen in this group. Be sure to follow up with students to see how their celebrations went.
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(For our upper elementary, middle school, and high school customers: David C Cook is not affiliated with and does not endorse any website or any other media listed on these pages. At the time of writing, David C Cook editors carefully review the referenced material and non-referenced web page content. However, due to the nature of the Internet, non-cited content on the website [including pop-ups, links, and ads] changes frequently and is beyond our control. Please review carefully before shoeing links in the classroom.)