Ask a child to tell you what gifts they have, and they’ll describe the presents that were under the Christmas tree. As we know, gifts are more than the objects we give one another on special occasions. They are the God-given predispositions we discover within ourselves. In this lesson, children will explore the idea of gifts of talents and abilities from God and will examine those that God placed within them before they were born.
You will need
- A Bible
- Legal-sized paper, crayons or markers (optional)
- A computer with Internet access connected to a data projector or television, YouTube video “Kids Share Their Hidden Talents.” (optional)
Greet the children as they arrive.
Ask the children to sit in a circle on the floor or around a table to face one another. Tell them that you will be playing a game called Thumbs Up/Thumbs down. You will name an activity and if a child thinks they are good at that activity, they’ll give a thumbs up. If they don’t think they are good at the activity, they should give it a thumbs down.
List a number of activities such as sports, music, reading, math, dancing, writing, friendship, problem-solving and praying. You can also include activities that you know particular kids are interested in.
After playing the game, ask:
- Why do you think you are good at some things but not others?
- How do you become “good” at something?
Encourage the children to keep their answers in mind as they hear and discuss the scripture reading.
Exploring the passage
Say a prayer.
Provide context for the lectionary reading (Isaiah 49:1-7):
- The reading comes from the Old Testament book of Isaiah.
- If you have been using these lessons throughout the previous year, ask the children what they remember about Isaiah from previous lessons. If you haven’t, share that Isaiah is speaking to the people of God who are exiled from the place where they feel the closest to God.
Read aloud Isaiah 49:1-7.
After reading, ask:
- What does Isaiah say about the person who will speak on God’s behalf and who will share what is important to God? (Encourage the children to focus on verses 1-5).
- How could a person be a prophet before they are born?
- What does this say about us? What does God do for us before we even exist?
Relating the passage to our lives
Help the children explore God’s love in action in the world through one or more of these activities.
- Who am I? Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: legal-sized paper and crayons or markers. Remind the children that the reading from Isaiah shows us God provides us with gifts and talents even before we are born. God knows who we are before we do. As we discover ourselves, we see the amazing gifts God has given us.
Hand each child a sheet of legal-sized paper. Have them fold the piece in half lengthwise. Then, ask them to fold it into thirds. When they open the paper up, there should be six boxes created along the fold lines. Ask the children to trace along the fold lines with a crayon or marker to make them visible.
Ask each child to write their name in the first box. Then, tell them to draw pictures that represent who they are in the other boxes. Encourage them to focus on aspects of their personalities or abilities that they believe are gifts from God.
After each child has completed their drawings, have them share their art with the group.
- Hidden talents: Gather the materials you’ll need for the activity: a computer with internet access connected to a data projector or television. Remind the children that the reading from Isaiah shows us God provides us with gifts and talents even before we are born. God knows who we are before we do. Sometimes it takes us a while to recognize the gifts God has given us.
Show the YouTube video “Kids Share Their Hidden Talents.”
After watching the video, ask the children what they noticed about the hidden talents the kids shared. Encourage them to share any talents that they may not always share with others.