The story of the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth is an integral part of the Christmas story as found in Luke 1:5-25; 57-66. Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visits Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. In the presence of Christ in Mary’s Womb, John the Baptist jumps in Elizabeth’s womb. But this story is not only about John the Baptist and Jesus. Elizabeth and Zachariah are wonderful examples of patience and belief.
Christmas Time Line Relay
- Index Cards
- On the index cards place the following events from the story of the Birth of John, one per card. Make a set for each team.
- On a wall/ board across the room place the numbers 1-10.
- Shuffle the cards and place them at the front of the line for each team.
- Zechariah draws the small straw so he goes into the temple to burn incense
- An angel of the Lord appears to Zechariah
- The Angel Gabriel prophesies about the birth of John and his life
- Zechariah doubts
- Zechariah’s voice is taken away so he cannot speak
- Elizabeth became pregnant
- Elizabeth has a son
- Elizabeth wants to call the baby “John”
- Zechariah sings a song of prophesy
- John the Baptist grew and became strong in the Spirit and lived in the desert
What to Do
- Zechariah had to communicate using his hands to gesture or by writing on a piece of paper. Play Christmas charades with the youth using the Bible events from the story of Zachariah and Elizabeth. Divide into 1 or more teams and give them the cards with the various events.
- The first person for each group must take a card and act out the Bible person or situation while the rest of the team tries to guess the event. Only once the event is guessed, can it be placed on the timeline.
- Once the event has been guessed, the youth must run and place it in what they think the correct position (positions 1 to 10) on the timeline and then run back to the line. They may rearrange those cards already placed on the timeline while they are there.
- Teammates can shout help.
- If at the end of the relay, not all cards are in the correct order, the next person in line can go up and rearrange the cards and come back.
- Do not tell the team whether it is correct until they come back. If something is out of place, do not tell them which events are out of order, but simply tell them it is incorrect.
- The first team to complete the time line in the correct order wins.
To make things more interesting, or to make it last longer in a small space, give the teams straws and peanuts or peas. They must pick up a pea or peanuts using suction through the straw and carry it to the timeline and back. If the person drops the pea/ peanut that he must return his card to the deck and go to the end of the line. The next person then goes.
Instead of charades use pictionary so that youth must draw the events on a whiteboard or large sheet of paper.
Take it to the Next Level
Make it Spiritual
At Christmas, most of us see gifts under the Christmas tree long before Christmas Day. It takes patience to wait until Christmas Day to open the gifts. Israel had waited a long time for the promised Saviour, the Messiah. But the long awaited Messiah had not come yet. Even though Zachariah and his wife were childless, and quite old, he still served God faithfully and continued to pray for a child. Like Israel, he He had waited for a very long time. On this occasion, while he was faithfully serving in the temple, the Angel Gabriel appeared and told him his prayers were about to be answered. He and his wife would have a son and God would use that son – to be named John, to bless Israel and usher in the long promised messiah. God was about to present not only he and his wifeWhile Zechariah was faithfully serving in the temple and praying for the birth of a child for him and his wife a very special blessing, but all of Israel with an incredible blessing as well.
At the angel’s appearance, Zechariah was at first scared, and then when he heard the message he had trouble believing it. Because of his disbelief, Gabriel told him that he would not be able to speak until the baby was born. He had been given a very special message, but he couldn’t speak about it for 9 months. Everyone knew something special had happened, but Zachariah had to patiently trust God that when the baby was born he would get his voice back. After the birth, when there was a question of what to name the baby, Zachariah wrote down the name John. Immediately, Zechariah could speak again.
Make it Practical
- What are some of the promises of God given to us?
- What are some promises you have seen become real in your own life?
- What are some of the promises of God you are still waiting to see become real for you?
- What are some things we pray for in life?
- What lessons can we learn from the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth related to God’s promises and prayer?
- Why is patience and belief important to Christians when it comes to God’s promises and answered prayer?
Make it Personal
- What promises of God are you most eagerly awaiting to be fulfilled in your life?
- Why? What different would this make to your life?
- What is the most persistent prayer you make to God?
- Why? What different would this make to your life?
- What lessons regarding patience, faithful service, and prayer can you apply to your own life?
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