Advent 1: Isaiah 43:1-13
Main idea: New things are scary. It is okay to be scared, but the new thing could be amazing, so it’s okay to be scared. God is with us.
Who here has been scared to try something new?
Maybe you were scared while you were learning to ride your bike?
Maybe you were scared when your family moved or you started a new school?
Are there any other times when you have been scared to try something new?
(pause if the children have other answers…the goal is to talk about new experiences, not so much fears like room monsters, so use guiding answers like “That does sound scary, can you think of any scary times that were around doing a new activity or being in a new place?)
After the children have had a chance to answer, continue:
Sometimes, when we have these nervous, scary, new times, there is someone around to offer us words of comfort. Maybe a parent, a teacher, or a friend is there that we can talk to when we are scared. Have you ever thought about talking to God when you are scared, when you are standing right on the edge of doing something new, exciting, and a little scary?
Today, Pastor L is going to read from the book of Isaiah. This book was written for people when they were in a scary place. God had made promises to them about how wonderful their life would be and all the amazing things in store for them, but when for this group, they were far away from home and scared. If you listen to the reading, count the number of times you hear the words, “do not fear”.
God knows we get scared sometimes. But, sometimes, to have an adventure, to try a new thing, to grow up, we have to be afraid and keep going. When we are afraid, we can talk to God and receive God’s comforting words, “do not fear”. And then we can keep looking for the wonderful new lessons and adventures God has in store for us.
Let us pray.
God who is with us always,
Sometimes we are afraid. Sometimes we are brave. Always, you are with us. Always you are giving us comfort and encouragement to grow and learn. When we are afraid, remind us of your love and presence. When others are afraid, help us remind them they are not alone.
Advent 2: Esther 4
What time is it?
When is the last time you asked that question? Was it on a long car ride? Or when you were waiting for your favorite TV show to come on? Or maybe it was almost time for recess at school and you looked up at the clock 1000 times in five minutes.
What time is it?
Is it time for school? For church? Is it time to go play outside or to come in and get ready for dinner?
There are other reasons to ask about what time it is. Questions that are less about the clock on the wall and more about being ready.
Is it time to ask for help on your homework? Or time to help a classmate once your homework is finished? Is it time to go and sit with the kid in class that other people pick on? Is it time to buy a new coat or maybe look through your closet for last year’s coat that you can donate to a coat drive because it is now too small for you?
Being ready to help others, to use what you have, from coats you have outgrown to sitting with a lonely classmate takes courage. It takes willing being willing to step out and take a risk. It may be scary, but it may also have wonderful results. It takes courage.
Today, we are going to hear about Esther. Esther was a queen and when her family was in danger, she bravely stood up to the king to protect them. She stood up against his bullying. It was a dangerous job to do, but she knew that it was time, this was her moment to stand up and be courageous. God was with her and she was brave.
Let us pray:
God who is with us always,
Sometimes we are afraid. Sometimes we are brave. Always, you are with us. Always you are giving us comfort and encouragement to grow and learn. When we are afraid, remind us of your love and presence. Even when we are afraid, help us to know when it is our time to be courageous.
Advent 3: Genesis 2
Did you know that you all have a superpower? In fact, everyone has this superpower. It is your breathing. Maybe it doesn’t sound super because you do it all the time without even thinking about it. But it really is like a super power. When you take depth breaths, you can run faster, sing clearer, or even smell cookies sooner while they are baking. You can even control some of your feelings with your breathing. Next time you are angry or scared, trying breathing in and out slowly, even counting 1-2-3-4 as you breath in and 1-2-3-4 as you breath out. You will be amazed how much breathing can help.
So, as amazing as our super power breathing is, can you imagine how super and amazing God’s breathing is? Today in church we are going to hear about how God created our whole. Can you guess how our world was created? God’s breath. God breathed and a wind came over the chaos and the whole world came into being. God created with a big breath, but we create a new moment with each breath we take, big or little, happy or angry, scared and brave. God is in each breath we take and each moment we experience.
Sometimes we are afraid. Sometimes we are brave. When we breath in, you are with us. When we breath out, you give us comfort and encouragement to grow and learn. When we are afraid, remind us of your love and presence. When others are afraid, help us remind them they are not alone.
Advent 4: Luke 5:1-10
How many of you have played Simon Says before? Let’s try a little: “Simon says pat your head. Simon says hop on one foot. Simon says clap your hands three times.” (If the children are purists, you may have to tell them that Simon says to stop all of those actions, they may just stop when you say the next thing. Try to get them back to sitting however you can, whether you need to tell them that Simon says to sit down or not.) In today’s Bible story, Jesus gives two commands, just like Simon says. Jesus has come to the house of a man Jairus. To the grown ups in the house, Jesus says, “Do not fear!” To the child in the house, a little girl who was so sick in her bed that some people thought she had died, Jesus took her hand and said, “Get up!” Jesus heals her and she has a brand new chance to live her life. This story is a miracle, but it also seems like really good advice for our church today. Jesus, like Simon, says two major commands, “Do not fear!” and “Get up!” So, let’s practice, Jesus says to the little girl, “Get up!” and she got up and started walking around so let’s stand up and walk in place. Jesus tells the adults, “Do not fear!” So let’s say that to our adults, say it with me “Do not fear!” (Maybe do this a couple times if the kids are not loud the first time). Now, as we are standing, and while we walk in place, we are going to do another thing Jesus teaches us and say a prayer.
Sometimes we are afraid. Sometimes we are brave. You are always with us. You are always there to tell us to “get up” and not to be afraid. You fill our days with possibilities to live and to show your love in our world. You created this wonderful world and you created each of us. Help us to get up go out into the world without fear, sharing your love and your stories. Amen