By: Jenny Bruce
Hello all! Here's part two in a four part series on using carols to teach the Christmas story to your kids. Last Saturday we looked at "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and today we'll dive into "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."
Music Appreciation: Play a recording of the carol and listen to it with your kids. Depending on your child, you may want to let them draw or dance while they listen to the music. Then discuss questions like: "What is one word you would use to describe this song?" "Did you like listening to this song? Why or why not?" "How did this song make you feel?" "What kinds of pictures entered your mind as you listened to this song?" It might be fun to compare and contrast "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" with "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."
Discuss The Carol: Read through "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" with your kids, explaining what each line means. Since this carol is rooted in the Old Testament, it provides a wonderful opportunity to look up references to Old Testament prophecies (and expose your kid to sections of the Bible they might not be familiar with.) Check out Isaiah 7:17 (O come, O come Emmanuel), Isaiah 28:29 (O come, Thou Wisdom), Isaiah 11:1 (O come, Thou Rod of Jesse), Isaiah 22:22 (O come, Thou Key of David), and Haggai 2:7 (O come, Desire of Nations.)
I like to use this carol to focus on Jesus as Savior and King. You can explain why Israel longed for Emmanuel to come and how the people needed a savior to deliver them from their sins and a king to deliver them from their enemies. A few questions you might want to discuss include: "What two big problems did Israel have?" "Who did God promise He would send to solve these problems?" "How would Jesus solve the problem of sin?" "How would Jesus solve the problem of being attacked by other nations?" "Will Jesus ever come back and rule as a perfect King?"
Sing The Carol: Sing along with a recording, play instruments, or sing it acapella.
Do A Word Search: Visit Discovery Education's Puzzlemaker and make your own word search using lyrics from the carol such as Emmanuel, ransom, exile, tyranny, etc.
Make An Ornament: Buy shatter-proof ball ornaments, Mod Podge, paint brushes, and holiday scrapbook paper. Type the lyrics to the carol in a variety of fun fonts, print them on a few pages of scrapbook paper, and cut out the lyrics. Help your kids brush the Mod Podge onto the backs of the lyrics and glue them all over the ball. When they're finished, coat the entire ornament in Mod Podge. You can talk about the lyrics to the carol as you complete the craft.
Play Savior/King Scramble: Make a sign that says "Savior" and tape it to one wall and a sign that says "King" and tape it to another wall. Have your kids stand in the middle of the room. Explain that God promised to send both a savior and a king to the Israelites and those promises are recorded in the Bible. Say that you will read a promise about Jesus from the Old Testament and then say "go!" The kids should run to the "Savior" wall if they think the promise refers to Jesus saving us from the punishment for sin and the "King" wall if they think the promise refers to Jesus ruling as a perfect king. Savior verses include: Isaiah 53:2-12 (read one verse at a time), Psalm 22:16-18, and Zechariah 12:10. King verses include: Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 31:1, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Daniel 7:13-14, Isaiah 16:5, Zechariah 6:13, and Zechariah 9:-10.
Sheep Magnets: Buy wooden sheep cut outs, white hole reinforcements, small magnets, and yellow paper. Glue a magnet to the back of the sheep and let your child give it wool coat by covering it in hole reinforcements. Then cut a crown out of yellow paper and glue it on the sheep's head. Explain that this magnet will remind you that Jesus is both Savior and King. Talk about the Passover and how a sheep reminds us of Jesus' sacrifice for us. The crown reminds us that Jesus is King and will rule forever.
Christmas Countdown Chains: Help your child cut strips of paper and then make a chain - one link for every day until Christmas. Explain that you will remove a link from the chain each day to help count down to Christmas (you might want to write a fun activity on each link and then do that activity on the day you remove it: eat fancy ice cream, play a family game, build a fort out of the couch, etc.) Then talk about waiting for Christmas to come and discuss other things that require waiting. Talk about how Israel waited for Jesus to come to earth and why they longed for Him to arrive.