christmas 1. LEADER PREPARATION

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1 christmas Week 1: Mary This includes: 1. Leader Preparation 2. Lesson Guide 1. LEADER PREPARATION LESSON OVERVIEW Mary is one of the most important characters in the Christmas story, a teenage girl given an amazing, crazy, incredible calling. She was told that she would carry God s Son, and she recognized that she would face tough questions, yet she was willing to used for God s glory. This lesson will help your students discover that they can learn a lot from this young girl about how to respond to God s call on their lives. LESSON OBJECTIVES 1. WHAT: Mary s life and attitude allow us to see that one person really can make a significant, meaningful difference in the world. 2. WHY: Teenagers desire to lead lives of significance and make a lasting impact on other people and the world around them, and obedience to God opens the door to having that kind of impact. 3. HOW: This lesson will encourage students to carefully examine Mary s response to God s plan and see that if they follow her example, they also can impact their world. PRIMARY SCRIPTURE Luke 1:26-56 SECONDARY SCRIPTURE John 2:1-11 TEACHING PREP The short overview below is designed to help you prepare for your lesson. While you may not want to convey this information word-for-word with your teenagers, you ll definitely want to refer to it as you lead. Read Luke 1:26-56.

2 Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a young teen girl whose obedience allowed her to be used by God to change the world. Mary was engaged to marry Joseph. It was likely that she was between 14 and 16 years old. She wasn t rich or well-known. When the angel appeared, he acknowledged her and said that she was favored. The angel revealed the plan to Mary. She appeared more confused than resistant to this message she didn t understand how it would or could happen because she was a virgin. The angel offered a few more details, and here s where Mary gets amazing: It s safe to say that most people would still be unsure and have questions, but Mary responded with willingness and submitted herself to God s plan. This plan would change her life and her willingness to the plan opened the door to God s plan for changing our lives. THE BEFORE & AFTER [optional] Text Message Questions We ve provided a couple of different text message questions to send out to your students prior to your meeting. Feel free to use one or both of the questions below. As with the rest of the curriculum, edit these questions to fit the needs of your ministry. Parent Would you risk your reputation for the good news? Mary did; find out how tonight! As a teenager, can you really change the world and history? Learn about the amazing story of one teenager tonight! We ve provided you with an below that you can send to your parents following the lesson. Our hope is to encourage parents to continue the conversation at home. Feel free to edit and customize the to fit your ministry needs. Dear parents, As we approach the Christmas season, our students are spending several weeks studying the very first Christmas, as recorded in the Bible. This first week, we looked at the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This young girl changed the history of the world, and we can learn important lessons from her.

3 We studied Luke 1:26-56 and saw how Mary handled her calling to be the mother of Jesus. We saw how she responded when the angel appeared to her with the news of God s plan for her life. What made her so special was her willingness to do what God had called her to do, even though it would change her life. Mary didn t have the foresight to fully understand all the good that would come from her obedience, but she still chose to fully surrender to God. I d encourage you to talk with your teenager this week about the life of Mary. You also could use these questions to fuel dialogue: What stands out to you most about the story of Mary, and why? How might you respond if you were asked to do something so huge at such a young age? How can we be more like Mary in our attitude toward what God is calling us to do? Thank you for your prayers that our students would follow God with the same kind of obedience Mary did so long ago! Have a blessed week!

4 christmas Week 1: Mary 2. LEsson guide GETTING THINGS STARTED [optional] Bring, borrow, or buy a nativity scene ideally, a scene that is different from what most people display at Christmas, but one that still includes the central characters from the birth of Jesus. Welcome your students and invite them into your meeting area. Open in prayer, and then lead the activity below. Display the nativity scene for your students, and ask volunteers to explain the role and significance of the various characters in the scene. If you took Mary out of this story, how would it change? What kinds of emotions do you think Mary experienced on this particular night, as she looked down and saw this baby boy promised by God? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: We re going to spend a few weeks talking about various people from the Christmas story. Each person played an important role. Today we focus on Mary, a young girl whose life was radically changed because she said yes to God s plan. It s hard for us to even imagine this story happening in today s world and it s even harder to imagine how a teenage girl would handle the most amazing calling in the history of the world. Mary can teach us so much about living a radical life of obedience to God. If you came up with an opening activity, movie clip, or game that worked well with your group, and you d like to share it with other youth workers, please us at TEACHING GUIDE The goal of the Teaching Points is to help students capture the essence of each lesson with more discussion and less lecture-style teaching. The main points we have chosen here are (1) Mary s first response was to question, (2) Mary s second response was to submit to God s will, and (3) Mary s third response was to worship.

5 Remember: All throughout these lessons, it s up to you to choose (1) how many questions you use, and (2) the wording of the main points keep ours, or change the wording to make it clearer for your audience. Read Luke 1:26-56 together as a group. Consider dividing verses among your students so everyone has a chance to read. SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Let s spend a few minutes looking at the story of Mary as she received the news of God s call on her life and discovering what we can learn from her. 1. Mary s first response was to question Are you surprised by Mary s initial reaction to the angel s message? Why or why not? Can you think of other questions Mary might have wanted to ask the angel? What stands out most about Mary s question? Is it bad to ask God questions? Why or why not? Do you ever question what God is doing in your life? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Mary s life was about to change in a radical way. We don t know if she fully understood the road she was about to travel, and she seemed to wonder if any of it was even possible. It s natural for us to initially respond to God with questions; God isn t intimidated or threatened by our questions. Fortunately, Mary didn t get stuck at the question stage she moved forward in obedience. 2. Mary s second response was to submit to God s will What is your reaction to Mary s words in verse 38? Why? What do you think it means to be the Lord s servant? In verses 39-56, we see what Mary did right after she got the instructions from the angel. Why did she visit her relative, Elizabeth? What did this visit do for Mary s soul? How do you think Elizabeth knew that God had an amazing plan for Mary?

6 SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Mary welcomed God s plan for her life. She seemed fully aware of her position in relation to who God is: she is the servant and God is the master. She was willing to do whatever God called her to do. Submitting to God s plan can be difficult particularly when we don t know everything God has in store. But we can find confidence knowing that God s plan surpasses anything we can dream of or imagine. God s plan for you involves leading a life of significance, meaning, and impact. 3. Mary s third response was to worship Instead of stressing or dreading what God called her to do, Mary sang a song. Why do you think she responded this way? Mary seemed to get it; she proclaimed her understanding of exactly what God would do in and through her. What does this reveal about God s character? What things seem to be important to Mary from this passage? How are they important to us as we seek to follow God? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Mary worshipped because she was thankful and grateful to be included in God s great story of redemption and love. After reading this passage, it is easy to see why God selected her for this big job. She was willing to obey despite her doubts and fears. She displayed her gratitude at being included in God s work in changing history. We can learn so much from her young life. ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION [optional] Read John 2:1-11. This passage occurs as Jesus has begun his earthly ministry he likely was around 30 years old at the time. How would you describe this interaction between Jesus and Mary? What do these verses reveal about Mary s awareness of Jesus ability to perform miracles?

7 APPLICATION In what ways can we be like Mary? How do others play a role in our willingness to follow God? How does worship play a role in our willingness to follow God? Ask students to form groups of two or three for these questions. What are some specific ways God might be challenging you to greater obedience? Do you think you can obey and follow God like Mary did? Why or why not? Do the questions in your life overwhelm your willingness to obey? Why or why not? How can we encourage each other to follow God like Mary? SUMMARY End your lesson here. Provide your teenagers with a quick summary or take-home challenge based on (1) the content of this lesson, (2) the dialogue that took place during the lesson, (3) your understanding of the issues and struggles your teenagers are facing, and (4) the big picture of your youth ministry and what your leadership team wants accomplished with the teaching and discussion time. FOR KEEPS [MEMORY VERSE] Encourage and/or challenge your teenagers to memorize the verse below. Mary responded, I am the Lord s servant. May everything you have said about me come true. And then the angel left her (Luke 1:38).

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