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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Luke 1, Matthew 1:1-25

Story Summary

This story combines angels foretelling the birth of Jesus and John the Baptist. Angels actually appear 3 times in the scriptures to foretell the events leading up to Jesus' birth:

  • To Zechariah (to foretell John the Baptist's birth) in Luke 1:5-25
  • To Mary (to foretell Jesus' birth) in Luke 2:26-38
  • To Joseph (to foretell Jesus' birth) in Matthew 1:18-25

Note that each time the angel appeared to someone, their first reaction was to be afraid. But the angels quickly calm them.

The Angel Appears to Zechariah

Zechariah was a priest who worked in the temple and was married to a woman named Elizabeth (who was a relative of Mary). Zechariah and Elizabeth did not have any children because they were well along in years (meaning "really old").

The angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the temple to tell him that he and his wife would have a son, and that they were to call him John. Gabriel told him that John would be special and that he would prepare the way for the coming Messiah.

Zechariah questioned the angel, not believing that this could happen since he and Elizabeth were so old. Because of his unbelief, Gabriel made him unable to speak until John was born.

The Angel Appears to Mary

Six months after the angel appeared to Zechariah, Gabriel went to Nazareth to visit Mary. Gabriel told Mary that she had found favor with God and that she would be giving birth to the Messiah.

She didn't understand how this could happen since she was a virgin, but the angel told her that Jesus would be conceived by the Holy Spirit. Notice that Gabriel did not rebuke Mary for asking the question as he did Zechariah. We can't exactly know why, but it is apparent that they received this news with different hearts. Gabriel then told Mary that Elizabeth was also pregnant.  So Mary went to visit Elizabeth.

The Angel Appears to Joseph

Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph. When she was found to be with child, Joseph planned to divorce her quietly. During those days, an engagement was as binding as a marriage. No on would have questioned Joseph terminating his relationship with Mary under those circumstances.

An angel appeared to Joseph to reassure him and tell him not to divorce Mary as she would give birth to a baby named Jesus who would save his people from their sins.

What You Will Need

Resource Sheets

Mary and Elizabeth Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts Mary and Elizabeth talking about their soon-to-be-born babies

Angel Outline

Use this angel outline for the reinforcement activities below (if desired)

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

For younger children: Does anyone know why we celebrate Christmas?

For older children: Have you ever had a cold and lost your voice so you were unable to talk? Was it hard to communicate? Listen in our Bible story for someone who was unable to talk for a while. 

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • What was Zechariah's role in temple? (he was a priest)
  • What was Zechariah's wife's name? (Elizabeth)
  • What was the name of the angel that appeared to Zechariah? (Gabriel)
  • What did the angel tell Zechariah? (his wife would have a baby boy)
  • Why didn't Zechariah believe the angel? (he and his wife were very old)
  • What happened to Zechariah because he didn't believe what the angel said? (he would be unable to talk until after the baby was born)
  • What was the name of the angel that appeared to Mary? (Gabriel)
  • What did the angel tell to Mary? (she was going to have a baby and was to name him Jesus)
  • Who did Mary go visit after this? (her relative Elizabeth)
  • What was the name of the angel that appeared to Joseph? (the Bible doesn't tell us)
  • What did the angel tell to Joseph? (not to divorce Mary)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • Angels appeared to these humans (Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph) to tell them that Jesus was going to be born (and John the Baptist). This helps us understand that there was something very special about Jesus - that he was God himself coming down to earth in the form of a man.
  • Do you believe that there is something special about Jesus? That it was God sending his only Son to the earth for us?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

Reinforcement Activities

Silent Game

Heads up! Good pre-lesson activity. You could require the kids to come into the room silently to pique their curiosity

Scripture The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I serve God. I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will have to be silent. You will not be able to speak until after John is born. That’s because you did not believe my words. They will come true when the time is right.” Luke 1:19-20

  • Allow students to have free play or an orgnanized activity, while having to remain silent.
  • Talk about how hard it is to communicate without speaking.

Handprint Angel

Scripture The angel greeted her and said, “The Lord has given you special favor. He is with you.” Luke 1:28

Supplies paper triangles, paper circles, card stock, glue, washable paint

  • Glue triangle to the center of horizontal card stock, to make the body of the angel.
  • Glue circle on top of triangle to make the head
  • Paint palm of hand with paint.
  • Press palm down (fingers out) on each side of triangle to make wings.

Sewing Angel Ornament

Scripture The angel greeted her and said, “The Lord has given you special favor. He is with you.” Luke 1:28

Supplies Angel pattern, colored string, plastic lacing needles (or toothpicks glued to string)

  • Print out copies of angel pattern for each student.
  • Punch holes around pattern.
  • Allow students to sew around angel with the colored string.
  • If you use toothpicks as needles, cut string the correct size and glue them to the end of the string ahead of time. They will need time to dry.
  • Glue a loop of string to the top to make an ornament.

Charade Match

Scripture The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I serve God. I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will have to be silent. You will not be able to speak until after John is born. That’s because you did not believe my words. They will come true when the time is right.” Luke 1:19-20

Supplies Charade cards

  • Make charade game cards.
  • Write terms on two different cards, so you end up with two sets.
  • Ideas:
    • Funny, happy, sad, rude, disappointed, scared, embarrassed, angry, loving, surprised, bored
    • Elephant, cow, giraffe, lion, tiger, parrot, cat, deer, hamster, horse
  • Create a deck of cards with pairs of terms, with enough cards for each student to take one.
  • Each student draws a card. Two students will get the same term.
  • NO TALKING OR SHOWING CHARADE CARD
  • When the teacher says "GO", the children act out the word or phrase on the card they have drawn
  • Children must find the person that is doing a similar act!
  • When they find that person, sit down with them, still NO TALKING.
  • Once everyone is done and sitting down together in pairs, go around and see if their charades cards actually match.
  • If they match they are winners, if they don't they are out!

Silent Line-Up

Scripture The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I serve God. I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will have to be silent. You will not be able to speak until after John is born. That’s because you did not believe my words. They will come true when the time is right.” Luke 1:19-20

  • Students must line up in the order of their birthdays without talking.
  • January birthdays are first in line, December birthdays are last, etc.

Pop Up Angel Card

Scripture Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah... Luke 1:11

Supplies White card stock, scissors, glue

  • Follow the directions to create a Pop Up Angel Card

Team Charades

Scripture When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple. They knew this because he kept motioning to them. He still could not speak. Luke 1:22

  • Split the class into two teams
  • Each team nominate a "Zechariah" that will act out a word or phrase of the group's choosing.
  • Each team must figure out what the other team's Zechariah is doing. The team that guesses correctly within 60 seconds gets a point.
  • Do 3 or 5 rounds

Write John

Scripture And now you will have to be silent. You will not be able to speak until after John is born. That's because you did not believe my words. They will come true when the time is right. Luke 1:20

  • Teams must get a person not involved in class to write the name John on a piece of paper without talking

Angel Pillow craft

Scripture Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah. Luke 1:11

Supplies fabric, thread, needles, scissors, stuffing

  • Have the children draw an outline of an angel onto a piece of fabric. You can use the angel outline in the resource sheets. It can be enlarged, if you would like a bigger angel.
  • Repeat, so you have two angels.
  • Cut out both patterns.
  • Sew angel patterns together.
  • Leave a small opening and fill with stuffing.
  • Close up stuffing hole.

Pasta Angel Ornament

Scripture In the sixth month after Elizabeth had become pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee. Luke 1:26

Supplies dry pasta (elbow, bow tie, ditalini, wagon wheels, stelline) 22 mm wooden bead, craft glue, white paint

  • Follow directions to make an angel ornament out of different pasta shapes.
  • Can use acrylic paints, if unable to spray paint.

Charades

Scripture The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I serve God. I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will have to be silent. You will not be able to speak until after John is born. That’s because you did not believe my words. They will come true when the time is right.” Luke 1:19-20

  • Play a game of charades.
  • Students take turns guessing what the person is acting out.
  • The actor may not use words or sounds of any kind.
    • deer
    • hamster
    • clock
    • balloon
    • elephant
    • swimming pool
    • hot dog
    • pizza
    • skateboarding
    • piano
    • fishing
    • watching a movie
    • building with legos

Coffee Filter Angel

Scripture Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah... Luke 1:11

Supplies washable markers, spray water bottle, wooden clothespins, 1 whole coffee filter and 1 quarter of a coffee filter per child, glue

  • Decorate the coffee filters with washable markers.
  • Spritz filter with water.
  • Allow to air dry or use hair dryer for faster drying.
  • Pinch together the whole coffee filter inside the clothespin (this makes the wings)
  • Glue the quarter coffee filter on the clothespin (this makes the dress).
Coffee Filter Angel Example

Disappearing Ink

Scripture He asked for something to write on. Then he wrote, "His name is John." Everyone was amazed. Luke 1:63

Supplies Lemon juice, white paper, thin paintbrushes (like for watercolors) or cotton swabs

  • Write the name John in lemon juice on a white piece of paper.
  • Let dry
  • After it is dry, hold up to a light bulb or other heating source to reveal the secret message
  • Teach the children how to show their parents the secret message when they get home

Paper Plate Angel

Heads up! If doing this with early elementary children, you might want to consider having a hair, face, and hands stencil that they can trace.

Scripture Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah... Luke 1:11

Supplies scissors, paper plate, glue or stapler, paper, crayons or markers, tape, aluminum foil

  • I got this idea from the website http://www.holiday-kids-crafts.com/Angel-crafts-paperplate-angel.html
  • You may find the instructions and picture of an example by visiting the link.

Paper Angel Chain

Supplies paper, angel template, scissors, glue glitter, markers

  • Follow directions to make an angel paper chain.