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Making Room for Jesus

First Sunday of Advent

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Scripture Reference: Luke 21:34

Preparation: Bring a doll’s crib or a small manger filled with crumpled papers on which you’ve printed “worry and bad-attitude statements” (“Why can’t I have that toy?” “What if she doesn’t like me?” “I want my own way,” “He makes me so mad,” “I need to buy new clothes,” “What if those kids pick on me?” etc.). Also bring a doll, representing the baby Jesus, wrapped in “swaddling cloths” and a blanket.

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. We can see one candle lit on the Advent wreath. It’s also the first Sunday in the new church year. Even though most calendars start the new year on the first day of January, the church’s new year starts on the first Sunday of Advent. Time is passing quickly; a new year has begun again.

Advent season is a time of waiting. We usually think of it as a time of waiting for Christmas—when Jesus came to the earth for the first time. The Bible verses that we read in church on the Sundays during Advent, however, remind us that it is also a time of waiting for Jesus to return once more to Earth.

In the reading from Luke, Jesus tells his friends to watch and be ready for him to return. Jesus says, “Watch out! Don’t let me find you . . . filled with the worries of this life.” During this season of Advent, Jesus says the same thing to us. “I’m coming back,” he says. “Don’t let me find you filled with the worries of this life.”

I brought something very special with me this morning. (Bring out or point to the manger filled with crumpled paper.) This is a manger that I need to get ready for the baby Jesus. I can’t very well use this the way it is, though. Why can’t I put the baby Jesus in this crib? (Let children respond.) It’s full of stuff, isn’t it? What do we need to do to get the manger ready for Jesus? (Let children respond.) Yes! We need to clear out the manger to make room for the baby.

As we get ready for Advent, we want to make room in our hearts for Jesus. We need to clear out the things in our own lives that crowd out Jesus. Let’s see what we have to take out of this manger to make room for Jesus. (Read some words scribbled on the crumpled papers as you pitch them in a waste basket. Empty out manger.)

Now that we’ve gotten rid of all that stuff, there’s room in the manger for the baby Jesus. And when we get rid of all the worries and bad things in our hearts, we make room in our lives for Jesus. Now we can place the baby in our manger. (Place doll in manger.) This Advent, let’s clean out all the bad and unkind and worried things in our lives to make room for Jesus.

Prayer: We know you are with us, Lord Jesus; help us always to remember to keep our hearts clean and ready to be your home.

6 comments to Making Room for Jesus

  • thank you thank you. the sermons are soooooo good. I really appreciate the help with the little ones. Linda

  • BOLA

    Thank you so much. what a relief this has brought, because I was slated to teach the toddlers and I didn’t know how to go about it.

  • Betty Cutler

    I want a manger like this one, please let me know the cost. Thanks and Merry Christmas! Betty Cutler

    • ruth

      Betty, my family used to have a small manger like this. I think my dad made it. We would do good deeds during Advent and then put a straw in the manger for every kindness. By the time Christmas morning came, there was a soft bed for the baby Jesus doll to lie upon.

  • Patty Lavranchuk

    I would also like to buy a manger like this one. I have a baby Jesus who is15 inches long and I need a manger for him. Do you know of someone who sells these mangers? Please let me know. Thank You.

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