GOD VIEW: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN JOY AND GOD’S CHARACTER, AS SHOWN THROUGH GOD’S BIG STORY. JOY IS FINDING A WAY TO BE HAPPY, EVEN WHEN THINGS DON’T GO YOUR WAY.
Key Question: What’s the difference between joy and happiness? As kids grow into their preteen years, they will start to wonder how they can be happy even when life isn’t going well. We want them to start thinking about how they can choose joy no matter what is happening in their life. We pray this question will get them thinking about how they can trust God to give them joy.
We kick off December with some Old Testament prophesies found in Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 53:8, and Micah 5:2. The story of Christmas begins with promises God made long before. God’s people had been waiting for hundreds of years, but all of that was about to change. We take a look at important promises that pointed to Jesus.
Bottom Line: You can have joy because God keeps His promises. Sometimes it’s hard to find joy in the middle of a tough situation. Thankfully, when we look through the Bible, we can see that God has always been at work. Knowing that God faithfully kept His promises in the past can give us joy knowing that He’ll be with us in the future.
Key Question: What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen? Often, to see past our circumstances, we need a reminder of God’s ability to do the impossible. We start with a question that gets preteens thinking about the amazing things they’ve seen and experienced in their life. We pray the conversation will lead towards celebrating the amazing things they’ve seen God do.
In week two, we head to Luke 1:5-25; 57-80 where we find Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were unable to have children. On top of that, they were older and it seemed impossible that they’d ever have a child of their own. But one day an angel came to Zechariah and told him that he would indeed have a son, and that son would prepare the way for the Promised One, Jesus. Zechariah and Elizabeth learned that anything is possible with God.
Bottom Line: You can have joy because anything is possible with God. We will face some difficult moments throughout our lives. But no matter what we face, we can find joy because God can do anything. He may still allow us to go through whatever we’re facing, but He’ll be with us and will give us what we need to get through it.
Key Question: What are some ways to find joy when you’re afraid? Some the most difficult times to find joy are in those moments when we are scared of what might happen next. We hope that as kids discover more about joy, they’ll figure out how they can choose joy no matter what they face.
We continue the story of Christmas in Luke 1:26-56. The Messiah had been promised for generations, but no one would have guessed that God would use a young woman to bring that promise to fulfillment— including that young woman herself. Mary was awestruck when the angel came to announce that she was about to have a child who would be the Savior of the world. She finds joy, trusting that God is up to something bigger than she could have possibly imagined.
Bottom Line: You can have joy because God is with you. Our circumstances do not have to determine how joyful we feel. We may not be happy about what is happening, but joy goes beyond happiness as it is rooted in our trust that God will carry us through whatever we face.
Key Question: What’s the best part of Christmas this year? No matter what is happening at home, Christmas can be joyful experience because God sent Jesus to be our Savior. Because preteens might have a hard time seeing why they can be joyful, we start with a question that gets them thinking about the great things that might happen during Christmas this year.
In Luke 2:1-20, we read that God didn’t announce Jesus’ birth to kings or government officials. Rather, He sent an angel choir to announce this news to a bunch of shepherds on a hillside. The shepherds ran to find Jesus, where they worshipped Him. They were so full of joy that made sure to tell everyone what they saw when they left.
Bottom Line: You can have joy because God sent His Son. Christmas is the perfect time to talk about joy. God’s people had waited so long for God to send the Savior. When Jesus was born, the shepherds knew they need to celebrate big. We pray that the kids in your ministry will do the same when they remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
Key Question: How can you find joy all year long? Joy isn’t something we need to only find during the Christmas season. God offers joy to us each and every day. Sometimes kids just aren’t sure where to start. We pray that kids discover how they can choose joy as they grow in their relationship with Jesus.
In Matthew 2:1-12, we see how the announcement of Jesus’ birth was far-reaching. Wise men from the East saw a star that set them on an adventure to find a promised King of Israel. When they finally found Jesus, they worshipped Him as king. God protected Jesus and the Wise Men from Herod’s plot to kill Jesus.
Bottom Line: You can find joy when you search for God. When we believe that Jesus is the promised One sent from God to rescue us from our sins, we become part of God’s story. That story isn’t something we can keep to ourselves. It’s a story we need to share with everyone.