Title: Prophecy of Light and Names
Age: 3 to 10 years
Subject: Messianic Prophecies
Liturgical time: Advent
- Isaiah stated the Messiah would be like a "great light." This description or prophecy about Him tells us something about who Jesus is and what he would do.
- Jesus the Savior was known by many different names to the people waiting for Him. Isaiah talked about some of these names. Each name tells us something about who He is or what He does.
- The people were waiting because God had communicated that their Savior would come through a group of people, known as Prophets. One of those prophets was a man named Isaiah who spoke about the coming of Jesus 700 years before he was born! In Advent we learn to wait again for the birth of our Savior and we recall the prophecies of Isaiah.
- The role of a prophet is to listen to God, pay attention to His message, and tell His message to everyone.
- The incarnation of Christ, the reality that God would become a human being, has always been God's plan and the coming of the Messiah (Savior) was foretold by the prophets.
- Advent is a season of the Church before Christmas, it is a time of waiting for the Nativity of Jesus.
- Waiting for something can be holy and good.
Direct Aim: The direct aims include becoming acquainted with the prophecy of Isaiah and to identify roles of prophets: they listen to God; they pay attention to His message; and they tell His message to everyone. This lesson also aims to explore the mystery of Jesus as the Great Light.
Indirect Aims: This lesson is also a preparation for the Feast of Nativity of our Lord. Indirect aims include for the student to achieve greater participation in the life of the Church; enhance preparation for prayers; open our minds to God's message; to introduce the Messianic quality of the Jewish and Christian faiths; to introduce the idea that God has a plan; to further develop the children's understanding of the nature of Jesus, to address His incarnation, and to further wonder, "Who is this Jesus?" This lesson also emphasizes the holiness of waiting and that God is faithful.
- Isaiah 9:1: (Isaiah speaking about Jesus approximately 700 years before his birth): "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined." And Isaiah 9:5: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'"
- John 8:12: (Jesus speaking about himself): "Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"
- Luke 2:29-32 (The words of the Prophet Simeon said upon seeing and then holding the baby Jesus in the Temple): "Lord now let thy servant depart in peace, according to your word, for mine eyes have seen your salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory of your people Israel."
Materials for the Lesson:
Candle, matches, snuffer, Prophecy cards: Isaiah 9:1 & 9:6 printed on a piece of paper mounted on red 8x11 card stock (red for the color of Advent), and stands for cards.
Prayer table with its articles, including: a statue of Good Shepherd, a book of matches, candles, snuffer, etc.
Note: These prophecy cards should be matted on red, the color that is used for the Advent season.
The Lesson Plan:
Invite children to the prayer table. Begin the presentation by talking about the new season. For example, say, "We are coming up to a season to celebrate when Jesus was born." If it is age appropriate, discuss what to do in the classroom to mark the changing of the season (i.e. changing an altar cloth/fair linen, getting out an advent wreath, etc.). Review the doctrinal content above.
Emphasize the idea of prophecy and of waiting in Advent. A prophet is a special messenger of God. Isaiah was one of these special prophets. Isaiah spoke about Jesus before Jesus was born. These are some of his prophecies about Jesus. A prophecy is a saying about future events before they happen. Prophets like Isaiah listened to God, and because of what he said, people also began to wait for a special baby to be born. Long ago, they were waiting like us, except today we know Who it is they were waiting for and we know His name, Jesus.
Continue the presentation by saying, "Before Jesus was born, people knew that He was coming. People were waiting for Him, because Prophets told them that Jesus was coming."
Explain who Prophets are and what they do by saying, "Prophets are very close to God. They hear special messages, prophecies, from God. They listened to God's message and they told everyone they knew about it." Prepare to read the Prophecies of Isaiah by saying, "I am going to read two of the messages. These Prophecies were told by the Prophet Isaiah."
Introduce or review the preparation for reading from Bible, by saying, "These words are from the Bible. I am going to light a candle." Light a candle and dim the light. (If you are not already on the floor with children,) Sit with children and get ready by sitting up straight.
Read Isaiah 9:1 and 9:5. Then read them again.
Discussion questions, depending on ages of the children:
- What do we know about light?
- This light is Jesus. What kind of light would that be?
- What does that tell us about Jesus?
- What would we want to say to Jesus in our hearts or with our voices?
Explain the meaning of different names
- Counselor: a helper;
- Mighty God: a child, yet he calls him Mighty God;
- Everlasting Father: His reign and presence never ends;
- Prince of Peace: Peace is what He comes to bring to our hearts.
Have the children pick one of the prophecies of Isaiah and make out a prophecy card. Using nice construction paper, markers, etc., have them decorate one of the prophecies to be hung or displayed in their home prayer corners. You may want to provide the script for the children or you can have them write out the prophecy themselves.
Close with a prayer.
For the individual lessons mentioned in the synopsis, see the Related Assets below.
Notice: This lesson plan utilizes training and the general philosophy/method of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Materials found in this document, however, have been created specifically to incorporate the theology and dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church. The author of this lesson offers special recognition to Mrs. JoAnne Padget, CGS Instructor, who provided instruction and guidance in the CGS method. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program requires intensive study and strongly recommends that teachers using their program enroll in and complete coursework through an authorized CGS instructor. More information about CGS is available at http://www.cgsusa.org.