Everlasting Father

Isaiah describes the Messiah as Everlasting Father! A good father loves and provides for his family. Jesus came to show us our Heavenly Father so that we can be children of God and experience love that will never ever run out. There are a number of attributes associated with the description of the Messiah as a father, but for the sake of this lesson we will focus on love that lasts forever!


Key Verse

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

– Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)


Lesson

Advent Intro

Remind the kids that we’re in Advent season. Advent means ‘arrival’. Imagine you were stuck on an island and you were running out of food and supplies but you knew that someone was going to come rescue you. Advent would be when that that rescue team finally arrives. Advent is a word to describe Christmas because we’re celebrating the arrival of Jesus Christ!

The nation of Israel waited a long time for the Messiah. The Old Testament is full of promises that one day the Christ would come. One of Israel’s prophets named Isaiah wrote this special description of the Christ. Listen carefully to the names that he gives:

Read Isaiah 9:6

Today we’re going to focus on the third name that was given: Everlasting Father. A good father is someone who loves his children, provides for them and protects them. Jesus came to show us our Heavenly Father who loves us, provides for us and gives us life for eternity!

How much is everlasting?

Props: A ‘bottomless’ water pitcher, a bunch of small dixie cups. The bottomless pitcher will only pour out a portion of its contents at a time, creating the illusion that you’ve emptied it out, allowing you to ‘empty’ it out over and over again.

There is a letter in the Bible written by the Apostle Paul that helps us to understand Everlasting Father. Listen to what Paul prayed for his friends who followed Jesus (Eph 3:14–19). He says:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. Paul says that when we talk to God it’s like talking to a loving father. We’re all like a big family with God as our Father!
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. When we believe in Jesus he comes to live in our hearts and that is how we become part of God’s family! [Pretend to pour some water into the bottomless pitcher that’s already pre-filled]
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, Paul says that Jesus’ love for us is so wide [hold your arms wide], and so long [point forward into the distance], and so high [reach high], and so deep [crouch and point down]. Now that’s everlasting!
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. He says that our loving heavenly Father fills us with his love. God loves each one of you!

It might seem unbelievable that the wide, long, high, deep love of Jesus can live inside of us [pour out the jug into a dixie cup], but God’s love for us lasts forever [pour out the jug again into another dixie cup]. Even when it seems like we might reach the end of it [‘empty’ the jug again], it lasts forever! [‘empty’ the jug again] … And ever! [‘empty’ the jug again]

… And ever! [‘empty’ the jug again]

… And ever! [‘empty’ the jug again]

… And ever! [‘empty’ the jug again]

This Christmas we can know that Jesus came to fill us with an everlasting love!

Prayer: Thank you Lord that you are our Father. Thank you for the many ways that you provide for us and care for us and that your love for us lasts forever and will never run out! We pray for those people who don’t have loving fathers and we’re glad that they can turn to you and know your love. Please help us to show your love to others this Christmas.


Activity (Care-kit gifts)

We’re going to do something special today to share the love of Jesus with others. Most of us have loving homes with people who love us and care for us. Some people don’t have loving homes and don’t have people to care for them and show them the love of Jesus. There are many homeless people in our city who aren’t going to get Christmas presents this year. We are going to do something to share Jesus’ love for them. We’re going to be making care-kits and a Christmas card that each of you can take with you and give away to somebody who needs it!

(We’ve partnered with our outreach ministry and all the items for this activity have been supplied)


Review Questions

  • What was the name of Jesus that we spoke about today?
  • Why do you think that Isaiah describes the Christ as a Father?
  • What does everlasting mean?
  • Can the love of Jesus ever run out?
  • Will Jesus ever stop loving you?
  • How can we share that love with others?

 

 

Mighty God

Isaiah describes the Messiah as Mighty God! It means that, even though Jesus made himself weak, nothing and nobody is stronger than him. He created us and we can trust him to be our strength and to give us abundant life!


Key Verse

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

– Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)


Lesson

Explaining Advent

Explain to the kids that we’re in Advent season. Advent means ‘arrival’. When a mommy has a baby in her tummy/in her womb and the time starts getting closer for the baby to arrive, everyone gets excited for a new little baby. Some of you might have experienced that with a little brother or sister! Advent is like the arrival of that baby. Advent is a word to describe Christmas because we’re celebrating the arrival of Jesus Christ!

The nation of Israel waited a long time for the Messiah. One of Israel’s prophets named Isaiah wrote this special description of the Christ that was to come. Listen carefully to the names that he gives:

Read Isaiah 9:6

Today we’re going to focus on the second name that was given: Mighty God. Mighty means strong. So, we’re going to play a game called ‘strongest between’

What is Stronger Between…?

Props: Cards of various animals ranging from smallest to biggest, and a card with baby (here’s a link to the Animal cards pdf)

Animals-contactsheet

Explain to the kids how you will play the game: You’ll show them two animal pictures and they’ll take turns to choose which of the two animals they think is stronger. Start off with two images of smaller creatures like an ant and a spider. If the child chooses the spider then set the ant aside and show them spider versus wasp … Keep it going until you get to the strongest animal.

Say: “Wow, what could be stronger than an elephant!?” Allow the kids a few responses and then say: “What about the person who made the elephant?”

Jesus is Stronger!

Props: A nativity set

One of the most dangerous animals that the Bible talks about is the behemoth. We don’t really know exactly what kind of animal it is. Maybe a hippo, maybe an elephant (hold up the picture of the elephant). Listen carefully to what God says about this animal in Job 40:15–19!

15 “Look at Behemoth,

   which I made along with you

   and which feeds on grass like an ox.

16 What strength it has in its loins,

   what power in the muscles of its belly!

17 Its tail sways like a cedar;

   the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.

18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,

   its limbs like rods of iron.

19 It ranks first among the works of God,

   yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.

Wow, that sounds like a big strong scary creature but God says that he made even the strongest animals, and even the strongest things in this world are not as strong as him! Nothing is stronger than God!!!

Remember that, long before Jesus was born, Isaiah said that the Messiah would be Mighty God! When Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem he was just a little baby (hold up the baby picture). How could that little baby be mightier than a whale, or an elephant, or a rhino? Listen carefully to this verse from Colossians 1:16 about Jesus:

16 For in him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth … all things have been created through him and for him.

That means that Jesus existed before he was born, and he was even there before the world was created!. He is God, because everything was created through him!

Application

The Bible says that Jesus saves us from our sins. Because Jesus is Mighty God we can trust that he really does have the power to save us and to forgive our sins! Jesus is powerful enough to conquer death and give us life forever.

It also means that Jesus is our strength when we are weak. Sometimes you might feel weak or overcome with sadness. We can come to Jesus and be reminded that true strength comes from him.

The Mighty God coming as a little baby is also a wonderful reminder that things are not always as they seem. Sometimes life seems unfair, and we might see people in this world abusing their power and doing wrong things. It doesn’t mean that they are really the strong ones, or are really in charge. Jesus is the Mighty God, and he is really in charge, even when it might not seem like it.

Let the 9-11s watch the Birth of Jesus Bible Project video

Prayer: Thank Jesus that he is our Mighty God! Thank him that he loves us and has the power to set us free from our sins and give us abundant life. Pray that each of the children would be strengthened by him.


Review Questions

  • Which animal do you think is the strongest?
  • What was the animal we spoke about in Job 40?
  • Who created the behemoth?
  • Where was Jesus when the world was created?
  • At Christmas did Jesus come to earth showing off his power?

 

Family Advent Calendar

Spending regular time together in the Word provides opportunity for families to connect with one another and to grow in their faith. A daily devotion doesn’t need to be elaborate or complicated, but making it a daily discipline allows you to craft it over time and adapt it as your kids mature.

This Advent reading plan follows a question answer format. Some of the questions seek out simple answers from the text, while others require a personal response. They’re all designed to encourage a deeper engagement with the profound truth that “the Word became human and made his home among us” (John 1:14).

Our prayer is that––as always––you and your children would grow in faith and devotion to Jesus, and that you would continue to be shaped by his grace!


Reading Plan

Advent-Calendar-share2

Dec. 1: Why was Jesus Born? (Luke 19:10)

Dec 2: How does Jesus achieve his mission? (Mark 10:45)

Dec 3: Where does wisdom come from? (Isaiah 9:6; James 1:5)
This reading lines up with our Sunday lesson Wonderful Counselor.

Dec 4: Why did the Magi come to find Jesus? (Matthew 2:1–2)

Dec 5: Bethlehem! How did the scribes know? (Matthew 2:3–5)

Dec 6: What gifts did the wise men bring? (Matthew 2:10–11)

Dec 7: How did Jesus grow? (Luke 2:40)

Dec 8: What gift does Jesus give us? (Acts 17:24–25)

Dec 9: Who is this gift of life for? (Romans 5:15)

Dec 10: How can a baby be a Mighty God? (Isaiah 9:6; Col 1:15–16)
This reading lines up with our Sunday lesson Mighty God.

Dec 11: What was the angel’s message to Mary? (Luke 1:35)

Dec 12: How should Christmas shape our minds? (Philippians 2:5–7)

Dec 13: How should Christmas shape our actions? (John 17:18)

Dec 14: Can Jesus work through us? (1 Corinthians 1:27)

Dec 15: What if we are afraid? (Joshua 1:9)

Dec 16: What is our greatest need at Christmas? (Acts 3:19–20)

Dec 17: How long will God be my Father? (Isaiah 9:6; James 1:5)
This reading lines up with our Sunday lesson Everlasting Father.

Dec 18: Who does Jesus show us? (John 14:8–10)

Dec 19: What has God made possible? (Jeremiah 31:34)

Dec 20: Can anything keep us from God’s love? Rom 8:38–39

Dec 21: Why is Christmas worth celebrating? (Psalm 98:1–3)

Dec 22: Are you anxious this Christmas? (Philippians 4:6–7)

Dec 23: How does Christmas bring peace? (Romans 5:1)

Dec 24: Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:12–14)
This reading lines up with our Sunday lesson Prince of Peace.

Dec 25: The Son of God appeared! (Titus 2:11; Luke 2:4–7)

 


Here’s a link to download a pdf of the Advent Calendar


Here are some helpful resources if you’re wanting to read more about family devotions:

How Do You Do Family Devotions? – John Piper
How To Have Family Devotions – Bible.org

Wonderful Counselor

Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor! It means that we can know him personally and not just know about him, so we can trust him to listen to our problems and guide us in the right direction. We know that Jesus is listening because the Bible tells us to pray to him about things that worry us.


Key Verse

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

– Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)


Lesson

Advent Intro

Explain to the kids that we’re going into Advent season. Advent means ‘arrival’. When a mommy has a baby in her tummy/in her womb and the time starts getting closer for the baby to arrive everyone gets excited for a new little baby, and some of you might have experienced that with a little brother or sister! Advent is like the arrival of that baby. Advent is a word to describe Christmas because we’re celebrating the arrival of Jesus Christ!

The nation of Israel waited a long time for the Messiah. One of their prophets named Isaiah wrote this special description of the Christ that was to come. Listen carefully to the names that he gives:

Read Isaiah 9:6

Today we’re going to focus on the first name that was given: Wonderful Counselor.

A brief definition

A counselor is someone who can hear your problems and give you wise advice on how to deal with that problem. A counselor requires wisdom because they need to be able to understand the problem and understand how to fix it! In the old days the king of the land was supposed to be able to give really wise counsel. If somebody had a problem, they would come to the king and he would tell them how to fix it.

I’m going to tell you guys a story and you tell me who you think the counselor is in the story.

Milo’s Confusion

Props: A ball, ceramic cup or piece of crockery that you’re willing to break, super glue

Start off holding the ball in your hands while you tell the story. Have the breakable item nearby on a stool or a table.

Little Milo was playing in his grandmother’s dining room. He knew that he wasn’t supposed to play with the ball in the house, but he really was just passing through with it and thought that he would see if he could spin the ball on his finger all the way through the dining room. He got it going pretty good but just then – pretend to lose control of the ball and knock down the breakable item.

Oh no! Milo broke one of his grandmother’s very special vases. He had a big problem and he didn’t know what to do. He gathered up the pieces and hid them in his backpack and took them with him to the basketball court.

Milo met his friends at the park said to them: “Oh man, I’m going to be in such big trouble. I just accidentally broke my grandmother’s special vase and I’m not sure what to do about it!” There were three kids and this is what they said:

The first gave this advice: “Throw away the broken vase and if your grandmother asks about it just lie and say that you don’t know what happened to it.”

The second one said: “Stick the vase together with glue and hope that your grandmother doesn’t notice.”

The third one said: “You should just run away from home and find a new grandma.”

Milo was so confused! These boys were all giving him advice but none of it sounded like very wise counsel. Milo walked away feeling very sad. He didn’t even want to play a single game. All the things his friends had said sounded very bad. Just then old Mr. Sullivan came walking by and said: “Milo, why are looking so sad?”

Milo explained to Mr. Sullivan what happened and he told Mr. Sullivan about how the advice that he got from the boys at the park had confused him. Mr. Sullivan smiled and said: “Milo, there are some things that Jesus doesn’t want you to be confused about. In life we’re going to get good counsel and bad counsel. The Lord will always give you good counsel. When we seek Jesus, we become wise because he is the Wonderful Counselor! Make sure the counsel you are getting is always lined up with what Jesus would say to you in the Bible!”

“So, how do I know what to do Mr Sullivan?”

“Milo, do you believe that your grandmother loves you?”

“I sure do Mr. Sullivan!”

“And, you know that playing with the ball in the house was wrong?”

“Yes, I know”, Milo said with his head hung low.

“Well, don’t you think that what you really need is your grandmother’s forgiveness?”

“I’d really like that”, said Milo.

“Jesus, would want you to be honest with your grandma about what happened. That way you wouldn’t need to feel guilty about it anymore, even if there was a consequence, like being grounded.”

“That’s true Mr Sullivan, I’m going to talk to her as soon as I get home and tell her I’m sorry!”

“Before you go”, said Mr. Sullivan, “Remember that Jesus is also ready to forgive you. You can pray right now and ask Jesus to forgive you.”

Milo prayed with Mr. Sullivan and already felt much better about what he had done. He also felt a lot more courageous and went straight home to speak to his grandmother about what he had done!

Application

Who do you think the counselor was in this story? Mr. Sullivan was a very good counselor to Milo. He reminded Milo about Jesus, and the wisdom of trusting him.

Jesus Christ’s position as our Wonderful Counselor means we can know him personally and not just know about him (Ephesians 1:17). That means we can trust him to listen to our problems and guide us in the right direction (Proverbs 3:6). We know that Jesus is listening because the Bible tells us to pray to him about our worries (Philippians 4:6; James 1:5). So, let’s pray!

Prayer: Thank God that he knows absolutely everything, and that his wisdom is more wonderful than we could imagine! Thank him that he’s prepared to share his wisdom with us through his son Jesus. Pray that each of the children would receive wisdom from God in their knowledge of him.


Review Questions

  • Why do we call Christmas time Advent?
  • Which prophet spoke about Jesus as the Wonderful Counselor?
  • What does Wonderful Counselor mean?
  • How did Milo know that his friend’s counsel was wrong?
  • Why is Jesus wiser than anyone?
  • How do we talk to Jesus?

 

Solomon Builds the Temple

1 Kings 6–9

When Solomon became king over Israel God had him build a beautiful temple in Jerusalem. The temple was double the size of the Tabernacle that the Israelites built in the wilderness! When it was finished, God’s glory descended on it like a cloud and the whole of Israel celebrated and worshipped God.


Key Verse

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV


Lesson

Background

King David united the kingdom of Israel and expanded its borders. David brought the Ark of God to Jerusalem. He wanted to build a temple but God said no thanks! and told him to leave the job to his son to complete after him. After David died his son Solomon became king.

Intro Activity

As a welcome activity you could have the children build and decorate a cardboard temple according to the instructions in 1 Kings 6. It doesn’t have to be exact but it’s a way to explain a few key elements:

  • There were 2 giant pillars at the entrance to the temple.
  • The entrance hall was called the vestibule.
  • The inside of the temple was called the Holy Place and it was decorated with palm trees and it was all covered with gold!
  • It reminds us of the garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve could be with God.
  • Inside the Holy Place there was a room called the Most Holy Place, and it had 2 giant cherubim statues.
  • The Ark of God would go inbetween the 2 cherubim.
Solomon Brings the Ark into the Temple

Props: A cardboard ‘temple’, a bottle of water, a piece of dry ice in a plastic container

Explain to the kids that the Ark was in Jerusalem but that it was still in the tabernacle, which was a big tent. The temple was now finished, and they were ready to ‘move in’! Solomon called everyone to the temple and he sent the priests to go fetch the Ark and the other things that they used for worshipping God.

Read 1 Kings 8:6

  • Place the plastic container with the dry ice inside the temple as you explain that the Ark of the covenant represented God’s presence. It was like God was now at home in the new temple! But what happened next?

Read 1 Kings 8:10–13

  • Pour water over the dry ice in the container as you read this portion. The temple will start filling with a carbon dioxide ‘cloud’.
  • Explain that the cloud was a sign that God’s presence was there. The cloud was so thick that the priests couldn’t even carry on what they were doing!
  • Explain that Solomon then said thanks to God for coming into the temple. He also worshipped God saying:

Read 1 Kings 8:27

  • Explain that even though God’s presence was in the temple, Solomon knew that even the temple wasn’t big enough for God to live in!
Application

Did you know that God’s presence still dwells in a temple today? Listen to this verse carefully and see if you can figure out where that temple is today:

Read 1 Corinthians 3:16

When we trust Jesus to be our Lord, the Holy Spirit comes and lives in us! That means that God’s presence is inside of God’s people. It means we can talk to God at any time and he can guide us and give us wisdom.

We should give thanks just like Solomon did!

Prayer: Thank God that his presence fills us when we open up our hearts to him! Pray that the children would walk and talk to God just like Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden. Pray that those who don’t know Jesus would come to know him through us.


Review Questions

  • Who did God ask to build the temple?
  • How long did it take to build Solomon’s temple?
  • How was it decorated inside?
  • What did it remind them of?
  • What happened when they brought the Ark into the temple?
  • How are we the temple today?

Image Credit: Dedication of Solomon’s Temple, woodcut, c 1700, from Historie des Ouden en Nieuwen

David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem

2 Samuel 6

David became king of Israel after Saul died but he knew that God was really in charge. David was ruling from Jerusalem, so he decided that the Ark of God’s Presence should also be in Jerusalem. This story is about David’s mission to please and honor God by bringing the Ark to it’s rightful place in Jerusalem.

Continue reading David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem

Samuel Anoints David

1 Samuel 16.1-13

We’ve taught this lesson before from the perspective of trusting God’s promises. Another significant observation of this story is that God cared about what was going on in David’s heart. David wasn’t the obvious choice to be anointed by Samuel, but God chose him because of what he saw on the inside. God cares deeply about each one of our hearts, and that’s why he sent us his Son Jesus! Continue reading Samuel Anoints David