We don’t always expect what will happen next in our lives. As we prepare for the start of the season of Advent next week we will hear lots of stories of people who didn’t expect things to happen to them.

This week we hear about Elizabeth and Zechariah who no longer expected to have a child but after a visit from the Angel Gabriel they were given a pleasant surprise!

Throughout the week we will learn more and more about what we should expect, we will start by hearing about the great love that Jesus has for each and everyone one of us and we will hear that He expects all of us to be ready for when He comes again.

We will start to make our own preparations by making Advent Calendars and listening to the truth about the Nativity story as we may not have heard it before!

Finally, we will be put to the test by seeing if we can still share an important message when we, like Zechariah, cannot use our voices!

Think about how you can prepare for Advent and how you will become closer to Jesus.

Scripture Bank

If you are reflecting on this topic then why not use some of the scripture references below?

Most of these are taken from Open Bible – you can use their Topical Bible Search facility to find lots more ideas! Just remember to change the Bible translation to ‘Good News Translation’ when you click on the link!

If you have found any pieces of scripture that you think link to our theme this week then please add them in the comments box below to share the Good News so that we can all enjoy them!

Jeremiah 29:11

Joshua 1:7-16

Acts 3: 1-10

Philippians 1:20

Philippians 4:6

Jeremiah 33:3

Matthew 24:35

Psalm 56:3

Luke 12: 35-38, 40

Click here for the Music Resource

To start our week we have a very happy song all about getting ready, listen carefully and enjoy!

Although we can’t sing along at the moment, it doesn’t stop our shoulders from dancing along!

This song is all about getting ready for someone that loves you very much.

This is exactly what we are doing during Advent when we get ready for the birth of Jesus.

Jesus, like God the Father, loves us all very much and we need to get ready for that love to be shared with us as we celebrate Christmas in a few weeks.

One of the lines says:

“I’m gonna try to make you love me too.”

This is what Jesus had to do. Not everyone wanted to show Jesus love and not everyone believed that He was God’s Son so He did lots of things that showed great love to others during his ministry on earth.

Think of some of the ways that Jesus showed love to others, for example:

By washing the disciples’ feet;

By touching and healing people who had leprosy:

By visiting and speaking to sinners like Zacchaeus.

Do you think that is how people expected Jesus to behave?

How do you think others expect you to behave?

Close your eyes and think of some ways that you could show love to Jesus and to the people around you.

 

Let’s end by saying this prayer together:

Help us Jesus to be like you and to show love to everyone we meet.

Amen.

Click here for the Picture Resource

What do you notice about this picture?

Why do you think the light has been left on?

todd_hido

Jesus told his disciples:

“Be ready for whatever comes, dressed for action and with your lamps lit, like servants who are waiting for their master to come back from a wedding feast. When he comes and knocks, they will open the door for him at once. How happy are those servants whose master finds them awake and ready when he returns! I tell you, he will take off his coat, have them sit down, and will wait on them. How happy they are if he finds them ready, even if he should come at midnight or even later!

…And you, too, must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him.”

(Luke 12: 35-38, 40)

During Advent we remember the Nativity story but we also think about when Jesus will come again and how we can make ourselves ready for Him at His second coming.

Just like the light in the window, ready for the master of the house, we must be ready for Jesus by letting our light shine and doing good deeds that share great love.

Jesus may come at any time so we should always try to do the right thing so that we are always ready, no matter what.

Think of some ways that you could let your light shine to prepare for Jesus.

How could you share love so that you are ready for Jesus?

As we can see from the pictures below – our expectations aren’t always a reality…!

Now we have reflected on what the reality of Advent should look like create your own ‘Expectations Vs Reality’ image to show what Advent could look like and what Advent should look like!

Click here for the Action

One of the ways that we can prepare properly during Advent is by doing something everyday which will help us to get ready.

That means that this week our action is to make an Advent Calendar that we can use throughout Advent.

The Calendars that you might have at home may include sweets or chocolate but we need a calendar that will help us to be more like Jesus during Advent, so this calendar will be a little different.

The Gospel from this Sunday – the Feast of Christ the King and National Youth Sunday – may give you some ideas of the things that Jesus calls us to do:

I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.’

Matthew 25: 35-36 GNT

 

Give each person one day of Advent to prepare for. This year Advent starts on Sunday 29th November and ends Thursday 24th December. If you don’t have enough people in your Class to prepare one day each then you could prepare the weekdays only, which still gives you 15 days to prepare for!

Decide on a task or challenge for each day that will help everyone in your Class to be more like Jesus. Some examples are:

  • give a smile to everyone that you meet today
  • share as much as you can today
  • tell people the great qualities that they have
  • say sorry if you do something wrong

Alternatively, you could write a special prayer for that day in Advent which the whole Class can say together – this means that you will have to use words like “we, us, our” instead of “I, me, my”. Think about what you need to pray for that will help you to be more like Jesus.

 

Don’t forget that you will need to create some boxes/ pouches/ pockets for all of these challenges to go into. Have a look at some of the pictures below for inspiration.

Click here for the Video Resource

Advent is about getting ready to welcome Jesus into our lives, both at Christmas and when He comes again.

We have all heard the story of the Nativity before so what would you expect to see in the video below which is all about the Nativity?

How do you think Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem?

Where were they when the baby Jesus was born?

How many kings came to visit the baby Jesus?

What is the most important part of the Nativity story?

Watch the video below and see if it is what you expected!

What surprised you in that video?

Quite often people are surprised at the true meaning of Advent. They think that it is a time to be busy, getting ready for food and presents on Christmas Day but actually it should be about getting ourselves and our hearts ready to welcome Jesus.

Take a few moments to think about how you could make Advent have its true meaning this year.

 

Help us Jesus to welcome you into our hearts this Advent.

Open our eyes and ears to the truth that you bring and help us to become closer to you.

Amen.

Click here for the Scripture Resource

Along with all of the prophets from the Old Testament there was one man who was sent ahead to make preparations for Jesus. His name was John the Baptist, let’s listen to the preparations that were made before he was born.

If you’d like to recap on any of the story then you can read the scripture from Luke’s Gospel below.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

(Glory to you O Lord.)

During the time when Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife’s name was Elizabeth; she also belonged to a priestly family. They both lived good lives in God’s sight and obeyed fully all the Lord’s laws and commands. They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both very old.

One day Zechariah was doing his work as a priest in the Temple, taking his turn in the daily service. According to the custom followed by the priests, he was chosen by lot to burn incense on the altar. So he went into the Temple of the Lord, while the crowd of people outside prayed during the hour when the incense was burned. An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar where the incense was burned. When Zechariah saw him, he was alarmed and felt afraid. But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him John. How glad and happy you will be, and how happy many others will be when he is born! John will be great in the Lord’s sight. He must not drink any wine or strong drink. From his very birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go ahead of the Lord, strong and mighty like the prophet Elijah. He will bring fathers and children together again; he will turn disobedient people back to the way of thinking of the righteous; he will get the Lord’s people ready for him.”

Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know if this is so? I am an old man, and my wife is old also.”

“I am Gabriel,” the angel answered. “I stand in the presence of God, who sent me to speak to you and tell you this good news. But you have not believed my message, which will come true at the right time. Because you have not believed, you will be unable to speak; you will remain silent until the day my promise to you comes true.”

In the meantime the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he was spending such a long time in the Temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them, and so they knew that he had seen a vision in the Temple. Unable to say a word, he made signs to them with his hands.

When his period of service in the Temple was over, Zechariah went back home. Some time later his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and did not leave the house for five months. “Now at last the Lord has helped me,” she said. “He has taken away my public disgrace!”

The time came for Elizabeth to have her baby, and she gave birth to a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard how wonderfully good the Lord had been to her, and they all rejoiced with her.

When the baby was a week old, they came to circumcise him, and they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. But his mother said, “No! His name is to be John.”

They said to her, “But you don’t have any relative with that name!” Then they made signs to his father, asking him what name he would like the boy to have.

Zechariah asked for a writing pad and wrote, “His name is John.” How surprised they all were! At that moment Zechariah was able to speak again, and he started praising God. The neighbours were all filled with fear, and the news about these things spread through all the hill country of Judea. Everyone who heard of it thought about it and asked, “What is this child going to be?” For it was plain that the Lord’s power was upon him.

The Gospel of the Lord.

(Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.)

Luke 1: 5-24, 57-66 GNT

As we have heard, Zechariah lost his voice because he did not believe in the message that he was given by the Angel Gabriel.

Do you think he expected the news that he was given?

Have you ever been given a message or some news that you didn’t believe?

How would you feel if you couldn’t share an exciting event that had happened to you?

 

Although Zechariah couldn’t speak he knew that it was important to share the message that the Angel had brought to him and to give his son the right name.

We are going to put you to the test to see if you can still give important messages when you cannot speak by playing a game called Pictionary.

Here are the rules:

  1. You cannot speak.
  2. To share your message you must draw the story.
  3. You cannot write any words, you must let the pictures do all the talking!
  4. You must put your hand up to guess which part of the story your classmate has drawn.

You can choose to draw part of the story that you have just heard or, if you want to make it a bit trickier for your classmates, you could draw a story from anywhere in the Bible! If you are struggling for ideas, ask a member of staff.

Take it in turns to share your pictures and see if they tell the story/ message clearly enough that your classmates can understand them without any words! Will the story be what you expected……?!

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