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[PYCL: Give joy to both the receiver and giver with gifts of the Spirit! (1, 5)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

“Christian Science”
on December 25, 2016

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

Pycl #1: I've been waiting for a subject where I could use this idea, and while it is not in the lesson, it still seemed appropriate, so I thought I'd offer it as a possible activity. It is from Galatians 5:22, 23 to :. "…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:" I figure that you could have them draw or trace fruit shapes from colored paper or color them in. Talk over these nine qualities or "fruits". Why does Paul refer to them as "fruit of the Spirit"? All aspects of that word are helpful in this symbolism because fruit is sweet, nourishing, beautiful, productive, and so on. Fruit also grows naturally from the right tree! We water and tend the trees that produce well so that we get a good crop, and so on. What does this have to do with our Bible lesson this week? Well, Christian Science is about healing! Healing is like that fruit! Once you have a selection of beautiful, bright "fruits" with qualities (they can have other ones than those mentioned!)—you can attach them to string or yarn, and hang them on your Sunday School wall like ornaments. No need to take them down after Christmas either! Revisit these lovely ornaments weekly and see what the children have been able to "grow" in their lives during the week.

Pycl #2: What is "holy ground"? (Golden Text) Can you talk together about the symbolism of holy ground? It is not a physical location. Where do we look for it? Ask the children to look around and tell you "where" it is. (You can make a deal of pretending with them.—Obviously, with older children this will not "fly".) What makes something holy? Do we each have the ability to "stand" on that ground? Can we recognize it? What did Moses recognize there in the desert? Sometimes we see something really unusual and know immediately that it is a "holy" opportunity. This happened to Moses. How was his thought prepared to receive that message of a bush that burned but didn't burn up, and to know that it was from God? What can we do to prepare our own thought? We might not be humbly herding sheep, is there an equivalent that we can do to develop that ready thought? Does it have to be a significant event like that bush—or can it be something more subtle? Can you share an example of your own where you recognized that you were on this kind of "holy ground" and what you did at that moment?

Pycl #3: There are so many classic Christmas passages and stories in this week's lesson that I certainly will only be sharing a few of them here. I love that passage in the Responsive Reading about the wolf and lamb dwelling together, etc. Can they understand the symbolism here? (Not that this shouldn't be taken literally as well, but there are certainly two levels to the passage.) It could be interesting to think about what those powerful animals represent and what the lamb and kid and child might represent. The power might be obvious, what about the grace, agility, intelligence, wisdom, etc.? Shouldn't these qualities work together and in harmony? Or should humility, gentleness, tenderness—be shredded, beaten down, consumed—by the more 'powerful' qualities? When we think of God as Love, don't we think of power, as well as of gentleness and tenderness? Think of Mrs. Eddy's poem "Mother's Evening Prayer", the first line. [“O, gentle presence, peace and joy and power…”] What about Jesus? At Christmas time we are reminded of his birth. That was a time of humility, gentleness. And yet, it was accompanied by the power and might of angels and a special star of prophecy. It also was accompanied by safety as Mary and Joseph were led to hide their child in Egypt until the king of Israel was dead (in other words, the more "carnivorous" quality of fear and greed was powerless to stop the Christ child from reaching his full potential.) You could bring them each a small print of some version of this passage, even if it is just something you print off the internet. It's a powerful image and includes the child leading these animals!

Pycl #4: Talk about the Wisemen. Who were they? Can we be Wisemen today? Do we have to be grownups to do this? What did these men see? How clear was the message to them that they travelled all those miles to visit a baby and bring him gifts? Can we sharpen our skills of looking for the signs around us that point to the ever present babe or Christ child in our experience? Again, this is an opportunity to talk about symbolism! You could bring a "treasure chest" with some qualities that symbolize those three gifts the kings brought. My boys had one Sunday School teacher who left one such tiny chest in her classroom. It contained both frankincense, and myrrh. I think she figured that the kids knew what gold was. My kids repeatedly would bring me to their class before Sunday School to show this little chest to me. What would we like to bring to the Christ child today? What gift would be valuable? (Think back to those fruits of Spirit!)

Pycl #5: I think you could maybe think about gifts today. You could talk about the kinds of gifts of Spirit that each can share with their families. They could wrap such a gift in Sunday School—a promise to be more helpful by emptying the dishwasher without being asked, or something like that on a piece of paper that they can either hang on the tree at home or just hand a parent or sibling. Such helpfulness is a reflection of Love, expresses Love in action. It gives joy to both the receiver and the giver!

Pycl #6: There are several references to angels. This is always a lovely way to illustrate how God speaks to us! One question Mrs. Eddy poses in citation S14 is whether we will "…open or close the door upon this angel visitant…"? Have them think about the "doors" in our thought. What opens our thought to receiving messages of good from God? What closes them? With the very young you can have them do simple open and closed motions with their hands to show whether something might open or close their thought to God's angels. For example: frustration or anger would close the door to hearing God's suggestions. While patience and perseverance would open it.

Have a great Sunday and happy Christmas!

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