Lesson 1: An Angel Announces Jesus’ Birth 01/27/2023
Classroom: My Classroom
Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25 Large Group Leader Guide

Teachers Dig In

 

Dig In to the Bible

  • Read: Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25
  • In This Passage: Mary was a young woman from Nazareth, engaged to Joseph, a carpenter. Neither of them seemed particularly remarkable, and yet in these passages an angel appears to each of them with an impossible message: They’d be the ones to parent God’s Son. Mary would give birth to God’s Son, bringing God to earth in a tangible way! Through these unlikely candidates, God did the impossible. He became a baby.
  • Bible Point: God does the impossible.
  • Summary Verse: “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14).

 

Dig Deeper

  • You’ll Be Teaching: God does the impossible. Kids often feel as if they aren’t good enough or special enough for God to work in their lives. But God used two ordinary people to do something so incredible and impossible. Kids need to know that God can do the impossible in their lives, too!
  • Think About: What’s an impossible situation you’re dealing with? How have you tried to take control of the situation? What would it look like to trust God to do the impossible?

 

Dig In to Prayer

  • Think of the kids in your group who are in difficult situations. Pray for God to do the impossible in their lives.

 

Quick Tip

  • Having elementary kids follow along in their Bibles as one person reads helps them focus, and it helps them learn how to navigate the Bible. But try to ask only experienced readers to read aloud in order to keep everyone’s focus.

This Lesson at a Glance

Opening

Kids share about a topic related to the lesson.

Supplies

  • Bible

Music Video

Kids sing songs of praise to God.

Supplies

  • “What Child Is This?” (watch or download here)
  • “Angels We Have Heard on High” (watch or download here)
  • “God Is Always With Us” (watch or download here)

Core Bible Discovery

Kids discover messages the angel shared with Mary.

Supplies

  • Bible

Talk-About Video

Kids watch a video and discuss God doing the impossible.

Supplies

  • “Al Risket, Stuntman” teaching video (watch or download here)

Object Lesson

Kids press balloons on thumbtacks.

Supplies

  • 20 flathead thumbtacks for every 4 small groups
  • one 3x5 index card for every 4 small groups
  • clear tape
  • table
  • uninflated balloons

Easy Prep

  • For every four small groups, push 20 thumbtacks through an index card in a filled-in rectangular pattern with all the points facing the same direction and the heads of the tacks touching each other. Put tape over the heads of the tacks to keep them in place.

 

High-Energy Game

Kids close their eyes and walk across the room.

 

*Marked supplies can be reused from Core Bible Discovery

Let's keep kids safe! You can help by using supplies as instructed for only ages 3+, purchasing child-safe items, and being aware of allergy concerns.

Opening [5 min]

Welcome

Supplies

  • Bible

Welcome

            Thank kids for coming.

            Just for fun, have kids shake hands with four friends using the back of their hands.

            Make announcements.

            Introduce new kids.

            Celebrate birthdays by singing a birthday song off-key.

            Collect the offering.

 

Introduce the Lesson

            Say: God does the impossible. Today we’ll learn that an angel told Mary and Joseph that God would do something impossible in their lives—he'd give them his Son for a baby.

 

Share

            Say: The angel told Mary and Joseph to name the baby Jesus.

            Tell kids something about your name, such as where it came from or what it means.

            Have kids form pairs and share with their partners something about their names.

 

Summarize

            Open a Bible, and say: Today we’ll explore how God does the impossible and what that means to us. We’ll dig in to the Bible to find out. The Bible isn’t an ordinary book; it’s God’s special book. The Bible is one way God talks to us. God is here right now, ready to talk to you.

            Pray, thanking God that he does the impossible.

Music Video [10 min]

What Child Is This?

Supplies

  • “What Child Is This?” (watch or download here)
  • “Angels We Have Heard on High” (watch or download here)
  • “God Is Always With Us” (watch or download here)

Tip

  • Don’t have internet in your classroom? That’s okay! You can choose your own worship songs from our Best Of Dig In Music DVD here.

 

Sing Songs to God

          Sing the three songs in any order.

Core Bible Discovery [20 min]

Amazing Angel Announcements (Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25)

Supplies

  • Bible

Share Surprising News

            Say: I’m looking forward to digging in to today’s Bible story, but before we do let’s relax a little, okay? Have kids form two groups, and have groups sit on the floor at opposite ends of the room.

            Just sit back and talk quietly in your group about your week, what you’ve been doing at school, something funny that happened—you know, the normal stuff of your life. Go ahead and talk.

            As kids are talking, go up to one group with your back to the other group. Bend down and huddle everyone together. Whisper excitedly: I have big news for you! Very soon, you’ll wake up and your skin will be green! Bright green! It’s true! Now you can go back to your conversation.

            Don’t explain, even if kids have questions. Go to the other group and repeat the process, whispering excitedly: I have big news for you! Very soon, you’ll wake up and your skin will be purple. Bright purple! And that’s not all—you’ll also be taller than anyone else on earth! Now you can go back to your conversation.

            Pause for about a minute, letting kids wonder about your statements.

 

Talk About It

            Have kids each find a partner from the other group to sit with.

            Say: Tell your partner what news you just received and what you think about it. Give pairs time to talk. I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Call out your answers to these questions.

            Ask: • What did you think and feel when you heard your news?

            • Do you think it’s possible that your news will come true? Why or why not?

            Say: Hmm…you don’t seem sure that your news is possible. You know, this sort of reminds me of today’s Bible story. I’ll show you what I mean.

 

Share a Message

            Hold up a Bible opened to Luke 1:26.

            Say: The Bible tells us about a guy named Joseph and a girl named Mary, and they both loved God. Joseph was a carpenter, and Mary was probably a teenager, and they were engaged to be married. Back then, girls married younger than they do today.

            Mary and Joseph each received a surprising message. Today, people receive messages in all kinds of ways. Hop up and face your partner.

            Have partners stand facing each other.

            Let’s pretend you have an important message for someone. Think about how you’d deliver it.

            Maybe you’d talk directly to the person. Cup your hands around your mouth. Maybe you’d call the person on a phone. Pretend to hold a cellphone to your ear. Maybe you’d text. Pretend to text with your thumbs. Or maybe you’d email. Pretend to type. When I count to three, strike a pose to show how you’d deliver an important message. 1…2…3! Pause, and then have kids sit.

            See? There are lots of ways to deliver news! But the way Joseph and Mary received their news was impossible—at least for humans. But God does the impossible! Here’s what happened.

 

Angelic Messages

            Say: God sent an angel named Gabriel to give Mary some news. Did you know there are only a few angels actually named in the Bible? Gabriel is one of them. Gabriel told Mary she was going to have a baby boy and that she should name him Jesus. And this baby would be the Son of God! Whoa! Son of God! Amazing!

            But Mary was confused. She asked Gabriel, “How can this happen?” After all, she wasn’t married yet. Gabriel said that the power of the Holy Spirit would come upon her.

            Then an angel spoke to Joseph, too, telling him that Mary was pregnant through the Holy Spirit, and the baby would be the Son of God.

            Ask: • How do you think Mary and Joseph reacted to the angel’s news?

            • How similar do you think their feelings were to yours when I gave you some surprising news earlier? Talk with your partner.

            Give kids time to talk, and then ask a few willing kids to share their thoughts.

            When you heard my news, you were confused. You knew that it wasn’t physically possible. Mary and Joseph knew their news wasn’t physically possible, either! But God does the impossible! Mary and Joseph loved God, so they trusted this miracle and did what the angel said.

 

Hidden in the Heart

            Say: In a few weeks, you’ll hear more about Mary and what some people said about Jesus. The Bible says that Mary listened and hid these things in her heart. Today, I have something I want you to hide in your heart. Listen.

            Mary and Joseph were regular people. Not rich, not famous, nothing out of the ordinary. But they loved God, and God did the impossible through them. I want you to remember that even though you may not feel very special, and even though you’re young, God can do impossible things in your life, too! 

Talk-About Video [10 min]

Al Risket, Stuntman

Supplies

  • “Al Risket, Stuntman” teaching video (watch or download here)

Tip 

  • Don’t have internet in your classroom? That’s okay! You can download the videos before class using the “download” button at the link provided, or purchase DVDs here.

 

Discuss and Watch "Al Risket, Stuntman"

          Have kids form pairs. Say: Talk to your partner about a time you did something difficult. What made you decide to try to do that thing, and what happened? I’ll go first. Share your own story about a time you did something difficult. Take about a minute to share to model the type of sharing you’d like kids to do. Then invite kids to share their own stories with their partners.

          Allow about two minutes for kids to share with their partners, and then continue.

          Ask: • What’s something that would be impossible for you to do? Allow two minutes for kids to share with their partners, and then invite a few kids to share their answers with the whole group.

          Say: Let’s watch a video about someone who likes to try to do the impossible.

          Watch “Al Risket, Stuntman.”

          Ask: • What did you think was the funniest impossible trick that Al Risket tried? Invite several kids to share with the entire group.

          Say: Al tried some funny things and some dangerous things—but even he admitted that there were things that were impossible for him or other humans to do; things that are only possible for God.

          As we are looking at the Bible today, we’ve been learning that an angel came to Mary and told her that she was going to have a baby—and that he would be king over Israel and everyone! That seemed impossible to Mary, but she trusted God to do something that seemed impossible to her.

          Ask: • What are impossible things that you believe God can do?

          • Mary trusted God even though what he said was going to happen seemed impossible. When have you trusted God with something that seemed impossible? I’ll tell you something from my own life first. Share about a time you trusted God with a situation that seemed impossible. Then invite kids to share with their partners. Allow about two minutes for sharing.

          Say: Only God can do what seems impossible to us. He did the impossible—and something wonderful—when he brought Jesus to earth for us.

Object Lesson [10 min]

Believe It

Supplies

  • 20 flathead thumbtacks for every 4 small groups
  • one 3x5 index card for every 4 small groups
  • clear tape
  • table
  • uninflated balloons

Easy Prep

  • For every four small groups, push 20 thumbtacks through an index card in a filled-in rectangular pattern with all the points facing the same direction and the heads of the tacks touching each other. Put tape over the heads of the tacks to keep them in place.

 

Experiment With Balloons

          Say: God told Mary and Joseph that Mary would give birth to God’s Son, Jesus. To them, that seemed impossible. But God does the impossible! Let’s see what it’s like to experience something that seems impossible.
         
Have each small group combine with three other small groups. Direct groups to gather around a prepared index card with the thumbtack points facing up.

          Give kids each a balloon to inflate to about medium size. Have the older children help the younger ones inflate and tie the balloons closed.

          Once the balloons are inflated and tied, ask: • Who believes you could push your balloon onto these tacks without it popping? Have a few kids explain whether or not they think it’s possible.

          Let each child set his or her balloon on the tacks and push down on it. (You can push a balloon fairly hard onto the tacks and it won’t pop.)

          If there are kids who are afraid to push on their balloons, let them set a balloon on the tacks while a leader pushes down on it for them.

          Warning: Have leaders watch for kids trying to push so hard on the balloons that their hands might hit the tacks if the balloon pops or slips. Eventually if you press hard enough, the balloon can no longer withstand the pressure.

 

Talk About It

          Ask: • What surprised you about this experiment? Discuss in small groups.

          Give kids an example of a time someone told you something that seemed impossible. For example, perhaps you thought it would be impossible for a friend to be healed from cancer or for you to get a job you really wanted.

          • When has someone told you something that seemed impossible but it was true? Allow a few moments for kids to share in their small groups. Then have a few kids share with the large group.

          Say: What God told Mary and Joseph seemed impossible. But God does the impossible. We can trust God to do the impossible in our lives, too. Have kids pop their balloons by stomping on them and shouting, “God does the impossible!”

High-Energy Game [10 min]

Blind Walk

Walk With Eyes Closed

            Say: God told Mary and Joseph that Mary would give birth to God’s Son. For Mary and Joseph, that seemed impossible! They had to trust that God does the impossible—even when they didn’t know what would happen. Let’s see what that might have been like.

            Have kids stand around the perimeter of the room.

            Direct kids to close their eyes tightly—no peeking!

            Say: Your goal is to walk to the opposite side of the room and return to where you started with your eyes closed the whole time. You can take only baby steps, and you can’t touch the walls.

            Have kids spin around two times and then start walking.

            To prevent injuries, keep an eye out for kids who might collide.

            Play for several minutes or until kids think they’ve returned to where they started.

 

Talk About It

            Let kids open their eyes, and have them sit with their small groups and discuss the following questions.

            Ask: • What thoughts or words were going through your mind as you played this game?

            Say: Now think about Mary and Joseph. An angel told them that something impossible was going to happen! Talk about this with your small group:

            Ask: • Compare how you felt during this game to the way Joseph and Mary might have felt when they heard the angel’s message.

            Give groups about a minute to talk. Then take a few responses from the groups.

            Say: When we’re faced with something impossible, we can’t see what’s going to happen next, but God knows! We have to trust that God does the impossible and he’ll guide and care for us along the way.

            Lead kids in celebrating that God does the impossible by giving each other high-fives.

Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25 Small Group Leader Guide

Teachers Dig In

 

Dig In to the Bible

  • Read: Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25
  • In This Passage: Mary was a young woman from Nazareth, engaged to Joseph, a carpenter. Neither of them seemed particularly remarkable, and yet in these passages an angel appears to each of them with an impossible message: They’d be the ones to parent God’s Son. Mary would give birth to God’s Son, bringing God to earth in a tangible way! Through these unlikely candidates, God did the impossible. He became a baby.
  • Bible Point: God does the impossible.
  • Summary Verse: “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14).

 

Dig Deeper

  • You’ll Be Teaching: God does the impossible. Kids often feel as if they aren’t good enough or special enough for God to work in their lives. But God used two ordinary people to do something so incredible and impossible. Kids need to know that God can do the impossible in their lives, too!
  • Think About: What’s an impossible situation you’re dealing with? How have you tried to take control of the situation? What would it look like to trust God to do the impossible?

 

Dig In to Prayer

  • Think of the kids in your group who are in difficult situations. Pray for God to do the impossible in their lives.

 

Quick Tip

  • Having elementary kids follow along in their Bibles as one person reads helps them focus, and it helps them learn how to navigate the Bible. But try to ask only experienced readers to read aloud in order to keep everyone’s focus.

This Lesson at a Glance

Core Bible at Home

Only available in One Room class format.

 

Preschool Puppet Skit

Recommended for preschoolers.

 

Deeper Bible

Kids explore why Mary was favored.

Supplies

  • Bibles
  • mailing labels
  • pens
  • “Mary’s Biography” handout (1 per child) (download here)

Low-Energy Game

Kids use pencils to pick up ping-pong balls.

Supplies

  • small paper cups (1 per child)
  • water
  • unsharpened wood pencils (2 per child)
  • ping-pong balls (1 per child)
  • large bowl

Easy Prep

  • Fill one paper cup per child about half-full with water.
  • Place the bowl in the center of the room, and spread ping-pong balls around it.

 

Craft

Kids make “impossible” flying cups.

Supplies

  • 3 ounce paper cups
  • “Flying Cups” handout (1 copy for every 3 kids) (download here)
  • construction paper
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • markers
  • standard metal paper clips (1 per child)

Easy Prep

  • Make a sample craft to show kids.

Life Application Wrap-Up

Kids make angels with their hands.

 

Take-Home

Kids receive a take-home page about the lesson.

Supplies

  • this week’s “Dig In @ Home” handout (1 per child) (download here)

Easy Prep

  • Add your church announcements to the “Dig In @ Home” handout.

*Marked supplies can be reused from Core Bible Discovery

Let's keep kids safe! You can help by using supplies as instructed for only ages 3+, purchasing child-safe items, and being aware of allergy concerns.

Core Bible at Home [20 min]

Not available for this age level.

To use this feature, please ask your DIG IN Director to create a One Room classroom. For instructions and tips on creating a classroom for at-home lessons, click here.

Preschool Puppet Skit [10 min]

Preschool Puppet Skit

Not available for this age level.

Deeper Bible [15 min]

What Did Mary Do to Be Favored?

Supplies

  • Bibles
  • mailing labels
  • pens
  • “Mary’s Biography” handout (1 per child) (download here)

Make a List

          In groups of about four, have kids write characteristics that make people popular. Each characteristic should be on a different label.

          Have kids divide the labels evenly and stick them on each other’s backs.

 

Get Popular

          Kids will try to be the most popular by accumulating the most labels. Kids can gather labels by taking them off each other’s backs. When they take labels, kids can stick them to the fronts of their shirts where they can’t be stolen.

          End the game when there are no labels on anyone’s back. Count labels and see who’s the most popular. Read some of the labels on that person’s shirt.

Ask: • What are some things that famous or popular people do that seem impossible for you to do?

 

Read

          Say: In the Bible, God chose Mary—a young woman who wasn’t famous or popular—to have his Son, Jesus. Let’s dig in to the Bible to find out more about Mary.

          Tell kids they’ll read some verses so they can answer this question: What do you think it means that Mary is called “favored”?

          Have kids read Luke 1:28 and 30.

          Ask: • What do you think it means that Mary is called “favored”?

          • How is being “favored” like being popular? How is it different?

 

Learn About Mary and Jewish Culture

          Have kids each read Luke 1:27 and fill out the “gender” and “married or not” sections of their “Mary’s Biography” handout. Explain that women were not seen as very important in that culture.

          Explain that we know from other books that Jewish women at the time usually got married around age 12 or 13. Have kids fill out the “age” section.

          Explain that we also know women at that time didn’t get to go to school or learn as much as men. Have them fill out the “education” section.

          Have kids read Matthew 13:55 to find out what Joseph’s job was. Explain that research tells us that carpenters didn’t have much money. Have kids fill out the “money” section.

 

Compare

          Ask: • How does this list about Mary compare with the things you said make someone popular?

          • Based on what you know about Mary, do you think she’d be popular in your school? Explain.

          • Is there anything on your list that shows you why God would favor Mary? If so, what?

          • Does Mary seem like a good candidate to do something impossible? Explain.

          Say: Mary seems like a surprising choice to do God’s impossible work. But we don’t have to be popular or famous for God to do impossible things in our lives. God does the impossible!

Low-Energy Game [10 min]

Ping-Pong Pickup

Supplies

  • small paper cups (1 per child)
  • water
  • unsharpened wood pencils (2 per child)
  • ping-pong balls (1 per child)
  • large bowl

Easy Prep

  • Fill one paper cup per child about half-full with water.
  • Place the bowl in the center of the room, and spread ping-pong balls around it.

 

Pick Up Ping-Pong Balls

            Say: When Joseph found out Mary was pregnant, it seemed like an impossible situation. He came up with his own plan to take control. But God sent an angel to tell Joseph that things would be okay and that he could trust God to take care of this impossible thing. God does the impossible. Let’s play a game to see how good it feels to give God the things that seem impossible in our lives.

            Have children sit in a circle around the ping-pong balls and bowl.

            Give each child a cup of water and two pencils.

            Instruct children to hold the cup of water in one hand. Then have them use the same hand—while still holding the cup—to work the pencils like chopsticks and move the ping-pong balls from the floor to the bowl without spilling any water.

            If there are more than six kids in your group, consider forming additional groups.

            Play the game a few times.

 

Talk About It

            Have kids gather in groups of three or four and talk about these questions.

            Ask: • What was the hardest thing about this game?

            • What’s something hard or impossible you’re facing?

            Say: We all face things that seem impossible at times. When that happens, we can let go of those things and give them to God because God does the impossible. We can trust him to take care of those things for us.

            Remove the ping-pong balls from the bowl.

            Have kids pour the water from their cups into the bowl as a way of giving God the hard or impossible things they’re facing.

            Have kids set their cups beside the bowl and play the game one more time, without holding the cups of water. The water can be left in the bowl since the ping-pong balls will float.

            As kids play, discuss the difference it makes to play without holding the cups and how that’s similar to when we let go of our hard or impossible things.

Craft [20 min]

Flying Cups

Supplies

  • 3 ounce paper cups
  • “Flying Cups” handout (1 copy for every 3 kids) (download here)
  • construction paper
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • markers
  • standard metal paper clips (1 per child)

Easy Prep

  • Make a sample craft to show kids.

Tips

  • Depending on the weight of your cup, you may find that regular paper works better than construction paper. You may also need to use a jumbo paper clip or two standard-sized paper clips instead of just one. The cup works when the weight is balanced, so experiment with paper type and clip size to find what works best with your cups.
  • For best results, adjust the propeller as needed so it sits straight up before dropping the cup.

 

Drop Cups

          Give each child a paper cup.

          Say: I think it’s possible to drop this cup from above your head so that it lands upside down every time. Do you think it’s possible? Give it a try!

          Have kids drop their cups. If a cup does happen to land upside down instead of on its side, challenge kids to repeat that five times in a row. No one should be able to do it.

          Take out your sample craft and drop it from above your head. It will twirl down and land so the cup is upside down every time.

 

Make Wings

          Say: In today’s Bible story, we’re learning that God does the impossible. And he sent an angel to tell Mary about the impossible thing he was going to do.

          Let’s make a craft that will allow our cups to land upside down every time to remind us that God does the impossible.

          Have kids each cut out a shape from the “Flying Cups” handout, and have them trace the shape onto construction paper, including the markings for folding and cutting.

          Next, have kids cut out the shape from the construction paper, making sure they cut the center line exactly where it was on the template.

          Finally, have kids fold the “wings” where the solid line was on the template, folding the wings in opposite directions.

          If they’d like to, kids can also add fun patterns to their wings.

 

Make Them Fall

          Have kids carefully cut a slit in the bottom of their cups and stick the narrower part of the wings through the slit. Kids will need to reach inside the cup and attach a paper clip to the bottom of the construction paper.

          Allow time for kids to decorate their cups. Then let kids try dropping them from above their heads. The cups will fall gracefully and will always land upside down.

 

Talk About It

          Ask: • Before your cup had wings, how did you feel when you were trying to drop it so it would land upside down?

          • How does your craft remind you that God does the impossible?

          Say: God does the impossible. He sent his Son to be born as a baby human! When things feel impossible in our lives, we can remember that with God, all things are possible.

          Have kids take their crafts home and show their friends and families the flying cups by first taking out the wings and challenging them to do the impossible before showing them the trick.

Life Application Wrap-Up [5 min]

Angel Hands

Talk About God’s Promises

            Say: Today we learned about a promise God made that might’ve seemed impossible.

            An angel came to Mary to give her a message from God about Jesus. The angel said that God would do the impossible. Hold one hand out, palm up. Hold out one hand like this and talk to God about something that seems impossible in your life. Pause for about 30 seconds of silence.  

            Say: Mary knew she was in God’s hands, and she trusted that God does the impossible.

            God came to Joseph in a dream to give him the promise of Jesus. God promised that Jesus would be Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Hold your other hand out, palm up. Hold out your other hand like this, and thank Jesus for being with you when things seem impossible. Pause for about 30 seconds of silence.

            Say: Joseph knew he was in God’s hands and trusted that God does the impossible.

 

Make Angels

            Have kids turn their hands so their palms are facing out and join their thumbs so their hands form angel wings.

            Say: Mary and Joseph trusted that God does the impossible. You can trust God to do the impossible, too. You’re in God’s hands.

            Invite kids to pray silently, asking God to help them trust him when things seem impossible. Allow for a few seconds of silent prayer, and then close the prayer.

            Thank kids for coming, and encourage them to trust God to do impossible things this week! Tell kids you look forward to seeing them next time.

Take-Home [0 min]

Dig In @ Home

Supplies

  • this week’s “Dig In @ Home” handout (1 per child) (download here)

Easy Prep

  • Add your church announcements to the “Dig In @ Home” handout.

           Distribute a copy of the “Dig In @ Home” handout to kids as they leave, or email it to parents during the week.