Here are ideas for you to use in reflecting on the upcoming Sunday’s scriptures with your classes.
- Isaiah 8:23—9:3
- 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
- Matthew 4:12-23
“You have brought them abundant joy” (Isaiah 9:2a).
Remember the joy of Christmas.
Teaching for Primary Grades:
1. Recall the joy of Christmas one month ago.
A special feature of that season was light. Ask the children what they remember about Christmas lights—on trees, in windows, in church, over the manger, on houses, in yards. These were all reminders that Jesus came as a light for the world. What does light do on a dark night or in a dark room?
2. Darken the classroom and let children take turns using a flashlight to point out an object in the room.
What shows up more on that object when light touches it? After several examples, talk about what people see in us when Jesus’ light touches us. Sing “I Am the Light of the World” by Greg Hayakawa (OCP).
Teaching for Intermediate Grades:
1. Ask the children if they still feel the joy of Christmas.
How does that spirit carry over into the year? Read the words of the prophet Isaiah in chapter 9, verses 1-6. It is a Christmastime reading, but it reminds us again this week that the purpose of Jesus’ birth was to bring light to a dark world, along with rejoicing and peace. Discuss the areas in our world today that need the light of Christ.
2. Divide the class into groups of four or five and give each group a poster board.
Let them cut out pictures and headlines from newspapers or download and print material from the Internet to create posters showing where light is needed in the world now. Complete these posters by drawing light as it comes from God to touch each situation.
Teaching for Secondary Grades:
1. So as not to forget the joyful spirit of Christmas and the reason Jesus came into the world, prepare a ritual to celebrate the one-month anniversary of the Christmas message: light for the darkness.
Assign preparation tasks to groups of students. Musicians can plan to teach songs about Christ as light (for example, “Christ, Be Our Light” by Farrell; “We Are the Light of the World” by Greif; or “I Am the Light of the World” by Hayakawa).
2. Some students could research areas of darkness in the world today and plan a presentation on how light can be brought to these situations.
Students who like to read aloud could practice with this Sunday’s readings from Isaiah and Matthew. Artists could create some visuals related to the light theme.
Let a student committee assemble the various parts of music, art, readings, and research into a ritual format. Then the class can experience the ritual together.