- Tell us about your plans for the Christmas holiday. Are you doing any special activities? Family gatherings? (Students can share their upcoming plans; make sure to include your own.)
- Have any of your Christmas plans ever gone wrong? Please share. (Answers may include: Yes, a snowstorm came and our school Christmas party was cancelled; my grandpa passed away last Christmas and everything changed; my mom got sick so we ordered pizza instead of having our big Christmas Eve dinner; etc.)
The holidays can get crazy! Family parties, school activities, church recitals—you name it and we’re all doing it. Christmas time is fun and chaotic and sometimes doesn’t go as planned. Many times when things get crazy, we forget plans or don’t set aside enough time to get everything done. So, today let’s get some help planning ahead for one part of the holidays: gift-giving.
- Does anyone plan to give gifts this season? Do you know what you’re giving yet? (Answers may include: I’d like to give my parents something, but I’m not sure what; my best friend and I always exchange gifts—usually jewelry; no, I don’t have money to get gifts for anyone, etc.)
Hand out notebook paper and writing utensils to your students.
If you were thinking you’d like to make a gift for someone special, but don’t have any idea what to get them or you haven’t planned that far ahead yet, this video clip might guide you. If you’re not planning to give gifts, no problem! Just enjoy the video. Maybe it will give you a few creative ideas to plan to try throughout the year. Let’s watch a DIY clip of a few cute and easy gifts you can plan to make for your friends and family this Christmas season. Take notes on anything you’d like to remember, so you can try it at home.
Give your students some tips to write down as they watch (you might want to start and stop the video and give the hint at appropriate times):
- Be sure to cover your working surfaces with newspaper for easy clean-up.
- Instead of shellac on the wooden spoons, there is a type of Mod Podge you can get that is dishwasher safe and non-toxic.
- Don’t attempt to use a hot glue gun or iron unless you have an adult helping (if you don’t want to give away the surprise and can’t use the iron, include a note with your gift that tells the recipient to iron it before using).
- You can decorate oven mitts or hot pads from the dollar store the same way they decorated kitchen towels.
- Be sure to use permanent markers on the dish towels and mouse pad.
- The elastic they are referring to on the tassels is a rubber band.
Play the following clip [6:05].
5 Easy DIY Christmas Gifts Kids Can Make
- Did anyone see any ideas they liked? Which ones? (Answers will vary.)
- How can following the plans someone else has laid out for you be helpful? (Answers: their ideas can give us a specific direction on how to accomplish something; new ideas make us think differently and try new things; they know what mistakes to avoid when they figured it out and are just sharing things that worked, etc.)
Making and following plans is an important part of life. However, sometimes plans get ruined. Things just don’t always turn out the way we planned.
In today’s lesson we’re going to see how Mary and Joseph had plans for their future. But God had a bigger plan for them. Let’s find out more.
Looking for Steps 2 & 3?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
- Puzzle worksheet printed on cardstock (1 per student; template found here)
- Index cards
- Resealable plastic bags
Before class, printout a puzzle template on cardstock for each student. The template can be found here.
Earlier we saw what it looks like to follow God’s plans instead of our own. Mary and Joseph had plans to marry, start a family, and go about the business of their lives. However, God interrupted those plans with some of His own. Even though it was scary and like nothing they expected, Mary and Joseph chose to believe and follow God’s will for their lives. Ask a volunteer to read today’s memory verse, Psalm 143:10 aloud for your students. God was asking them to put their trust in His will above their own. This is what faith in action looks like. We believe in God and then we follow wherever He leads.
- How can we know God’s will for our lives? (Answers may include: We can discover God’s will through reading the Bible and praying, by knowing and listing to God’s voice, by having a personal relationship with God, etc.)
- Once we know God’s plan for us, what should we do next? Why? (Answer: We should follow His plan, we should obey whatever God tells us to do because we love Him and want to follow Him, etc.)
Puzzles demonstrate the need for guidance to get a job done. A picture on the front of the puzzle box lets us know what we need to do. It gives us direction and from there we can figure out a plan to put the puzzle together.
Pass out the puzzle sheets, index cards, and resealable plastic bags to your students along with writing utensils. Before cutting the puzzle apart, preteens should write or draw on the puzzle something they’re taking away from today’s lesson. Examples might include: drawing a picture of a path with a light at the end of it; writing today’s verse, Psalm 143:10; drawing a picture of the Bible and someone praying; writing key words: God’s will, God will guide us, or God’s plan is amazing; etc.
Once they’ve completed drawing on their puzzles, they should use an index card to provide the “puzzle plan” they’ll need later to put the puzzle back together. They should redraw or write what their puzzle looks like onto the index card; this will serve as the puzzle box “cover.” Have them cut out their puzzle pieces and store it along with their index card “puzzle plan” into a resealable plastic bag. If they’ve decided to give their puzzle to someone else, they can write an encouraging note on the back of the index card before placing everything into the plastic bag.
Have a few volunteers share what they wrote on their puzzles.
God’s plans for our lives are always bigger and greater and more wonderful than anything we can dream up. God’s plan brought His Son, Jesus, to earth. His amazing plan brought the Savior of the world, who can be our Savior, if we choose to believe and follow Him. Be sure to invite any students who would like to explore this further to talk with you after class. Help on sharing the Gospel with this age group can be found in your teacher’s guide.
This week begin each day in prayer surrendering your heart to God. Ask Him to help you follow His plan for your life. Ask God for opportunities to share the Gospel and to glorify Him in all you do. His will always involves these things! As you place your puzzle in your room or even give it away to someone else, remember that it’s God who is our “puzzle planner.” He is the One who provides the picture for our lives.
Pray to close.
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