On the second Sunday of Advent, we explore the peace of Christ, the peace that surpasses all understanding. While children often think of peace as an internal feeling of calm, it is also the unity and equity that Jesus calls us to seek in the world. In this lesson, children will explore the concept of peace through the hymn “Come Now, O Prince of Peace,” a prayer-in-song form. Then, they will consider how they might create and experience peace within themselves and their communities.
You will need:
- Pillar candle and matches or lighter (optional)
- “Come and Fill Our Hearts With Your Peace” (audio only)
- Chart paper or a whiteboard and markers
- “History of Hymns: ‘Come Now, O Prince of Peace’”
- Video recording(s) of “Come Now, O Prince of Peace.” Here are a few you may want to choose from:
- Roll paper, a pencil, old magazines, scissors, glue sticks, and crayons or markers (optional)
- Copies of the paper dove template, bowls of scraps of colored construction paper torn into small pieces, and glue sticks (optional)
- A computer with Internet access connected to a television or data projector, videos: “CBC Kids: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Explained” and “Israel-Palestine: What It’s Been Like for Children,” chart paper, and markers (optional)
Greet the children as they arrive.
Have the children sit on the floor in a circle. Ask them to settle their minds and their bodies by slowly inhaling and exhaling three times. If you would like, dim the lights and light a candle.
Invite the children to close their eyes or to focus on the candlelight. Play the audio of the “Come and Fill Our Hearts With Your Peace” video.
Ask the children to open their eyes. If you have lit a candle, blow it out.
Invite the children to reflect on the experience. How did their bodies feel? How did their minds feel?
Singing the faith
If the children participated in the “Sing of Hope” lesson last week [insert link to the lesson on Outlook], ask them to recount what they remember. If you did not use this lesson, share that music is one of the ways we experience, express, and explore our faith. We will be thinking about the Advent theme peace through music.
On a sheet of chart paper or the whiteboard, write “Peace.” Ask children to share the words or phrases that they associate with this word. Record their ideas on the paper/whiteboard.
Provide background on the hymn that the group will be listening to, “Come Now, O Prince of Peace” by reading aloud or summarizing the information in “History of Hymns: ‘Come Now, O Prince of Peace’” beginning at the sixth paragraph (“Korea was divided into two countries…”)
Play “Come Now, Prince of Peace.” You may choose to play any of the recorded versions listed above and project the video, as many include the lyrics. You may also want to choose a version you love or that is familiar to your congregation. You could also play multiple recordings so the children can experience it in different musical styles. If you would like, you can ask the children to sing along with the video.
After listening to one or more recordings, ask the children:
- Jesus is the Prince of Peace referred to in the song. What does the song ask Jesus to do as the Prince of Peace?
- Why do you think that the author asks the Prince of Peace to come “now” rather than waiting?
- What does reconcile mean? How can people be reconciled?
- As disciples of Christ, what role(s) do we have in creating peace?
Connecting to the song
Help the children to the song through one or more of these activities.
- Prince of Peace collage: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: roll paper, a pencil, old magazines, scissors, glue sticks, and crayons or markers. On the chart paper or whiteboard used earlier, write “Prince of Peace.” Ask the children to think of words, phrases or images that fit with this title. Write their responses on the chart paper/whiteboard. Then, unfurl the roll of paper on the floor. Ask one of the children to lay on it prone and have another child trace the child’s outline with the pencil. Cut the roll paper so you have the section with the outline of a person on it. Write “Prince of Peace” above or next to the image. Have the children go through old magazines selecting pictures that they associate with this title. They may include those they brainstormed or they may be new images. They also can choose both words and pictures. Have them cut the images/words out of the magazines and glue them on the paper person. If they are unable to find enough words and images in the magazines, they can use crayons or markers to write or draw on the paper. Hang up the completed collage and reflect on the collection of ideas included. Be sure to highlight ways that peace is represented as an internal feeling and unity amongst people.
- Mosaic of peace: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: copies of the paper dove template, bowls of scraps of colored construction paper torn into small pieces, and glue sticks. Hand each child a paper dove template. Tell them that the dove is often considered a symbol of peace. If you have time, you may want to read, retell or summarize the story of Noah’s ark to help the children see the biblical connection to the symbol. Place several bowls of paper scraps in front of the children. Ask them to glue them inside the dove outline to create a multi-colored dove. Encourage them to think about ways they can bring about peace as they put the pieces of paper together. After they have completed the activity, ask them to share ideas they have for creating peace.
- Prayer for Peace: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: a computer with Internet access connected to a television or data projector, videos: “CBC Kids: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Explained” and “Israel-Palestine: What It’s Been Like for Children,” chart paper, and markers. Ask the children to share what they know about the recent unrest in Israel. Play the video “CBC Kids: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Explained.” Then, note that there are many families with children living in the area where the conflict is taking place. Play “Israel-Palestine: What It’s Been Like for Children.” Together write a prayer for peace in the area on a piece of chart paper. Encourage the children to include the experiences of the children they learned about in the second video. Read the prayer aloud together. You may also want to share it with the congregation.