Scripture: Isaiah 9:6,7 and Luke 1: 46-55
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be
called children of God." (NRSV)
· Jesus is the Prince of Peace
· Jesus came to earth to teach us about peace.
· God wants us to work for peace and justice.
· The children will talk about Jesus as the Prince of Peace.
· The children will talk about ways to resolve conflict.
· The children will sing and play rhythm instruments.
Welcome and Introductions:
1. Greet the children and introduce yourself
2. Ask the children to sit in a circle. Sit cross-legged so that each child’s knees are almost touching.
Say: Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Pass it on.
As you say this, make a special motion with your hand. You can clap, snap your fingers, rub your tummy, pat your legs, wiggle your fingers, pat your head, etc. The next child in the circle will say the same sentence, repeat your hand motion and add another hand motion. When it goes full circle back to the workshop leader, start again, this time going in the opposite direction.
Say: Jesus wants us to work for peace. Pass it on.
Younger Children: Say the words and do the hand motions in unison allowing each child in the circle to add a new motion when it is their turn. Keep it simple!
Show the children the peace sign. See the background information at the end of this lesson for the history of this symbol. The index and middle fingers raised in a “V” accompany the word “peace”. Practice the sign and saying “peace” to your neighbor.
4. Tell the children that this lesson is about peace. Jesus was born on earth to teach us how to be good peacemakers. How can we keep peace with each other?
1. Prepare to read Isaiah 9:6-7. This passage from Isaiah was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. The author was writing at that time about a new baby king. The passage also describes Jesus. Jesus was born to be the Prince of Peace; to teach us how to live peacefully with each other. Ask the children to follow along silently with you.
Workshop Leader: Listen for the word of the Lord.
“A child has been born for us. We have been given a son who will be our ruler. His names will be Wonderful Advisor and Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace. His power will never end; peace will last forever.” CEV
Workshop Leader: The Word of the Lord
Children: Thanks be to God.
(Encourage the children to respond to the reading of scripture in this way as we do in worship)
1. Ask a shepherd to participate with you in a puppet skit. The first skit is about how not to behave in conflict. You can follow the script and ad lib as needed to make the point.
2. Stop the skit and discuss. Workshop leader: ask the children: What went wrong? Ask the children to give advice to the puppets. Your puppet should then do the talking in the first person to the children. eg. puppet says, “What! What are we doing wrong?” “How can I be nice when I feel mad?” “What should I say”, “What if he yells back at me?” “How do I respect his feelings?” Ask: “What would Jesus do (WWJD)?” Write WWJD on the board. The children should respond and provide advice to the puppet.
3. Brainstorm ideas for resolving conflict. You may write ideas on the white board to validate the children’s suggestions or simply have a discussion.
Here are some ideas that you may want to draw out of the discussion:
Level 1 - Ignore, avoid (it’s not worth it, you’ll get hurt), ask for assistance from an adult, use humor to ease the tension, distraction
Level 2 “I” messages use your words to tell how you feel. Eg. “I feel uncomfortable when you ask me to ignore other people”, “I feel confused when you leave me out of the conversation”
Level 3 assumes the other guy is open to negotiation. Listen to the other person, repeat what you think you heard, state what you want, ask for understanding, ask if there is some way you can both get something that you want. Level 3 is pretty tough for kids to get to (adults too!).
Discuss how it takes courage to confront others peaceably, to use “I” messages, to do what is right (WWJD?). We need to rely on God to help us. Jesus IS the Prince of Peace. Children can pray to Jesus for help to have the courage to say the right words and NOT nasty words. Count to 10 helps us to pause when we are angry or upset, give a quick prayer for courage and then think WWJD?
Start the skit over again with the workshop leader and shepherd, this time using the suggestions of the children. As time permits, demonstrate 1 or 2 scripts or the following options.
Optional for Younger children: Ask for volunteers to play the other puppet part with you in the skit and demonstrate “I” messages.
Optional for Older children: Pair up the children and hand out the puppets. Give each pair the opening 2 lines from a script. Give the pairs a few minutes to rehearse how they would solve the problem in a more peaceful way that respected feelings. Let the pairs then demonstrate their ending to the skit for the group.
Give each child a rhythm instrument. If there are not enough instruments, hand out puppets who will sing. Display the words of the songs so the children can sing along. Play the audio accompaniment tape and practice the songs, singing and tapping to the beat. Switch instruments around for the second song if the children want to try another instrument.
Hymn #368 - I’ve got Peace like a River.
Hymn #40 - Joy to the World
Collect the instruments and get ready to reflect.
1. Ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and colored pencils/markers. Write the word “Peace” across the top. Then write: “What Would Jesus Do?” as an acrostic with “WWJD” down the page. This will remind us to think about what Jesus would want us to do. Make each letter a different color.
2. When the children are finished, hand out the WWJD? Bracelets. Tell them to wear them as a reminder to think about Jesus when they need courage to do what is right.
Prayer: End with a simple prayer: Thank you God for sending Jesus to teach us how to be peaceful. Help us to not fight but be kind to others and respect the feelings of others. We pray to you for courage to think and act as Jesus would have us do. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." Amen (raise your hand in the peace sign so everyone follows in making the peace sign)
Go in Peace.
Teacher preparation in advance:
1. Read the scripture passages.
2. Write your key scripture verse on the white board.
scripts for shepherd and workshop leader
Copies of script prompts for older children
Words to the songs for display
Thanks to Edla Prevette for her suggestions on handling conflict.
Peace symbols: http://www.rosella.apana.org.au/~mlb/cranes/symbols.htm
WWJD? Bracelets Oriental Trading Company
Background Information for the Workshop Leader
peace sign or victory salute is made by holding the index and middle fingers in
the shape of a V. This sign is said to
have begun in Europe during World War II when the
V for victory (victoire in French, vrijheid in Dutch) sign was painted on walls in the dark as a symbol of freedom from occupying forces.
It was also used as a sound, with the dot-dot-dot-dash
(di-di-di-dah) of Morse code. Coincidentally this sounds a lot like the opening
bars of Beethoven's Symphony No.5 (and the Roman numeral for 5 is V!).
As a result these bars were (along with the Morse code signal) broadcast by the BBC constantly during the war and became known as 'Fate knocking at the door'.
The victory sign was described as 'the most amazing piece of propaganda devised in this war'.
It became immortalized when Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill was repeatedly filmed using the sign as a victory salute.
The sign was very widely used by peace movements in the 1960's and 70's as a symbol of victory for peace and truth.
Peacemaking Script 1
Mike: (aside, to the kids) Here I am sitting at the lunch table at school with all the really cool kids. They just started to let me sit with them this week. I’m finally cool. Oh look! There is Jeff. He’s my buddy.
Pat: Look. There is that goofy kid Jeff. What a loser! Mike, don’t you think he’s a loser?
Mike: Well, er, ah, I .....
Pat: Come on Mike. That guy is nowhere. Don’t tell me you like him?
Mike: ah, um, Me? of course not! He is so not cool. Why! he’s a nerd. Who would like him?
Pat: Not us of course! We’re cool!
Mike: Yea! No way you could like Jeff! No how! Jeff, Smeff! Not cool! Nah, I don’t like him!
Peacemaking Script 2
Mike: I got into a really big fight with my friend Jeff. He’s really upset with me. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
Jamie: Who cares what Jeff thinks? Let’s talk about the school trip. It is going to be SO much fun.
Mike: But I’m worried that Jeff is feeling bad.
Jamie: Don’t worry about it. We should plan what we are going to do on the school trip.
Mike: I can’t think of fun things right now.
Jamie: You are no fun at all. All you think about is Jeff. Jeff this and Jeff that. What about me? I have feelings too. You don’t care about me.
Mike: Well you are selfish! You just think about yourself!
Jamie: Mike! You are so mean!
Mike: I am not! You are selfish!
Jamie: Am NOT
Mike: AM TOO
The scripts, up to the ------- line can be cut into strips and given to the older children as prompts for their puppet demonstrations.