Today's lesson is about when Mary and Joseph accidentally left a twelve-year-old Jesus behind in Jerusalem after a festival. When they returned to Jerusalem and found him in the temple, he asked them, "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
Maybe it's the approaching winter weather that has me aching to get active, or maybe it's the fact that I've just spent several weeks being incredibly lazy and eating too many holiday treats, but whatever the motivating factor was, I decided to make today's lesson memorable by giving the kids a hands-on experience with searching for Jesus.
Before class, I dressed a Ken doll as a twelve-year-old Jesus and hid him in the sanctuary. During our lesson, we talked about how panicky Mary and Joseph must have been when they realized Jesus was not with them on their journey home. In telling the story, I explained how Mary and Joseph probably went to each family member asking, "Is Jesus with you? Have you seen him?" I looked at each child and asked these questions, as if I were Mary, and each child stared back at me, instinctively playing along, replying "No," and shaking their heads. When everyone was sufficiently hyped up, I led them into the sanctuary and told them to go find Jesus. They frantically raced about the pews, the podium, the choir area, and the baptismal font until someone found him in the transept sitting beside a plant.
"Again, again!" they shouted. Of course everyone wanted to be the hider, so the kids took turns hiding the doll for several more rounds.
Things to consider:
--Make sure the rector/pastor doesn't mind the sanctuary becoming a temporary play ground.
--Remind the children the sacraments are holy and should not be disturbed if they are present.
--Do not hide Jesus inside anything (he must be visible without moving other objects).
--No screaming (This is still a place of worship).
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