Here are the items I used:
- Accessible Electrical outlet
- Lit Christmas tree
- 2 additional trees, strung with lights but not lit yet. (Be sure the strings of lights will plug into each other)
- A nativity scene set up under the trees (optional, but helps with focus)
What makes light bulbs work? (allow for kids to answer one by one)
Answer: They have to be connected to a source of power, don't they? Well, today this Christmas tree is plugged into the electrical outlet, which is the source of power. So the electrical outlet for this lesson is symbolizing God, and the lit tree here is hooked up to God and is our symbol for Jesus.
Read John 8:12.
12Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world: he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.(NKJV)
So, what is this saying? Jesus says that He is the Light of the world, and that those who follow Him will not walk in darkness but have the light of life. What is the light of life? (allow kids to give an answer)
The light of life is eternal life with Him. (define eternal if needed) If we turn from our sins (define sin), which are what He is talking about when He says "darkness", and trust Jesus to save us from our sins, we will have the light of life. We will get to go be with Him, forever, someday.
Refer to lit tree and review that the lit tree symbolizes Jesus being the Light of the world.
Now let's look at Matthew 5:14-16
In this passage, Jesus is talking to his disciples, most of whom are believers.
14You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hidden.
15Nor do they light a lamp, and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand; and it gives light to all that are in the house.
16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven.(NKJV)
So, Jesus is telling believers that they are the light of the world. Imagine a city on a hill and the light it shines at night. (Have a helper turn off the room light to accentuate this point--and the lit tree) Can that city be hidden? No. Do you turn on your nightlight at night and then cover it up so you can't see it? No. A light is meant to be seen: it is meant to shine. And Jesus tells us here in Matthew that the reason we should shine is so that people will see our good works and glorify God the Father in heaven.
So, Jesus is the Light of the world. (gesture to the lit tree)
Jesus says here in Matthew that we (believers) are to be the light of the world as well. Where do we get our power to shine? (Allow for kids to answer: Jesus! and plug the cord to one of the unlit trees into the Jesus tree cord)
What are some ways that we can shine for Jesus? (Allow kids to answer. Answers may include, but are not limited to: telling others with words, singing about Jesus so others can hear, giving to people, sharing verses we have memorized with others, going to church and bringing a friend, etc)
What is the purpose for which we are letting our light shine? (to glorify our Father in heaven)
Look at this other tree that is not lit. It has lights, but is not hooked up to the source of power. Maybe it doesn't even know there is a source of power and that it can even be plugged in. There are people we meet every day that have not heard of Jesus or know why He came to earth. Perhaps if we told them (let our light shine), they might also trust Jesus to save them from their sins and they too can be hooked up to the source of power (God/Jesus) and let their own lights shine as well! (Plug in the unlit tree, preferably into the other tree lights)
Let's share the Light of Jesus with others!
Close with Go Tell it on the Mountain or This Little Light of Mine.
Or if you're looking for a more "adult" hymn: "The Light of the World is Jesus"
Or something with a bit more, uh, flair. :) Jesus is the Light of the World by Carmen