This month I have been teaching Pre-K through 4th grade Sunday school at our church. We have a rotation system where each grade attends a different class each Sunday. I'm in charge of Good News where I teach the theme of the month which is, The Gift of Jesus. As we all know, we don't know exactly what time of the year Jesus was born but the month of December has been set aside to celebrate. As far as I'm concerned there is nothing wrong with that and am thankful that most of the world celebrates the birth of our Savior at this time. I decided that not only would I teach the birth of Jesus and the events that led up to it, but I added another gift that wasn't in the lesson plan.
I brought a large box wrapped in beautiful red foil paper with a big red bow and set it in the middle of the table that we were all sitting around. I told the children that this was another gift that I considered the "Greatest Gift" of all and that we would open it after the lesson. Yes, the birth of Jesus is a wonderful gift but not the greatest. They were quite interested in this large present on the table and what could be in it. Was it something for them they wanted to know. I told them it was for everyone. After discussing the story of the birth of Jesus and how it was a wonderful gift, I was now ready to share with them the greatest gift of Jesus. As I opened the box they were all eyes. The first thing I pulled out was a whip that had many leather streamers with bits of medal attached to each streamer. They knew imediately what it was. I told them how Jesus was whipped before he was crucified and how he must have suffered during and after the beating. Then I pulled out a "crown of thorns". Yes, it was a true to life replica. We discussed how Jesus was bullied and made fun of. Then I pulled out a large nail that was also a replica of the real thing. We discussed the suffering of Jesus as he hung on the cross. After this discussion I then asked them what they thought was the greatest gift of Jesus and in unison they exclaimed, "His death."
I asked the children why Jesus had to die on the cross and I was surprised to hear a first grader reply, "For our sins." We discussed what sin was and why Jesus died for our sins. These kids are bright but I was completely caught off guard by how much they knew and understood. I hope the props I used in telling the story will be a memory they won't forget.
Yes, the birth of Jesus was a gift, but the greatest gift was His death. My prayer is that the world believes and accepts this gift.