On Sunday I had the children's sermon. The text was Luke 2:1-7 about Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem. As I read the text, I began to think about how Mary and Joseph would have to prepare for their trip. I decided that they would need three things for the trip.
First, I gave each child a penny. We know Mary and Joseph needed money for their trip because the story tells us they tried to stay at an inn. If they had been staying with friends or relatives, they would not need to pay for a place to stay.
Then I gave each child a "leather" bracelet to represent the donkey's bridle. Mary and Joseph used a donkey as transportation to get to Bethlehem. The donkey's bridle was needed to guide the donkey where they wanted him to go.
Since Mary was at the end of her pregnancy, they also needed to prepare for the baby by bringing along baby things. I gave the kids a bit of fuzzy flannel to represent the warm, soft, swaddling clothes they prepared for Baby Jesus.
In these three ways, Mary and Joseph prepared to go to Bethlehem where Jesus would arrive. These three things can also represent ways we can prepare our hearts and lives for Jesus's coming.
I gave the children a sheet of paper with these three questions on them:
Money: Am I using what I have for Jesus?
Leather (donkey): Am I letting Jesus guide my life?
Flannel blanket:Am I sharing God's love and warmth with others?
I made these little bracelets for the kids with the "leather" string and showed them how you can tighten and loosen the bracelet to fit.
We used a string about 10" long. Tie one end of the string around itself as seen above. Tighten the knot a little, but leave it loose enough that the string inside the loop can slide. Tie the same end again.
Now tie the other end around the other side of the string as above. Tie the end a second time.
You want to leave a little tail on the end of each of the knots. When the knots are close together, you can slip it onto your arm. Pull on the string as in this picture to make the bracelet bigger.
When you get the bracelet on, pull on the little tails and the bracelet will tighten up.