Immanuel: God with Us


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Brief Description

Intersection includes complete resources for teaching both younger and older youth, including learner’s materials, teaching guides, and handouts. The teaching guide is options-based, so teachers can customize sessions to match their favorite approach.

“Immanuel: God with Us”

During the Christmas season, many Christians observe Advent, a time of preparation and reflection whose name means “arrival” or “coming.” During Advent we celebrate the arrival of the Christ child and declare that Jesus is the Messiah, God with us, and the Word made flesh. This unit provides ideas and activities that assist youth in preparing to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

In session one, we review Isaiah 2:1-5 to learn that Christ is present, empowering us to follow the path of God’s instruction. Though perhaps helpful in dealing with younger children, telling youth what to do or think is less effective than a style of instruction characterized by guidance and coaching. God wants to relate to us like a mentor, allowing us to question and discover learning for ourselves. This kind of mentoring relationship with God is the path to finding our best and truest selves.

Session two is about the character or nature of God and how the same traits or qualities are demonstrated in God’s Son. Isaiah 10:33-11:10 describes the characteristics of the Messiah and declares that the Messiah fulfills God’s purposes. Christians have concluded that the rich and symbolic images in Isaiah’s prophecy are references to Jesus. He embodied such divine qualities as wisdom, understanding, strength, righteousness, and justice. Teenagers are challenged to imitate Christ.

Session three invites youth to consider how God is with them during times of trouble. Although Isaiah 35:1-10 was directed to the exiles, the message relates to persons of all times and places. Many teens are desperate to hear Isaiah’s hopeful assurance: Be strong, do not fear! Your God will come and save you (35:4). With patience, strength, and diligence, your youth can discover that God has been working to bring hope, joy, and lasting peace to their lives.

Session four takes a new approach to Jesus’ birth by focusing on the mystery that surrounded the nativity. Two stories that occurred 800 years apart are connected when the angel in Matthew 1:18-25 quotes from Isaiah 7:10-17. Jesus is given the name Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” Angels, dreams, prophecies, a virgin birth, and God in human form are examples of the mysterious aspects of the Christmas story. In the face of such mystery and despite rational explanations, Christians continue to affirm the truth that both stories declare: Jesus is the Messiah, God with us.

Session five is the culminating point of the unit. Jesus is not only the Messiah sent by God, but is the Word made flesh, the embodiment of the very presence of God. John 1:14-18 reveals that the Word has existed since the very beginning of time, has always been with God, and is uniquely God. This session deals with what it means for a holy, all-powerful God to make the leap to an imperfect and limited human existence. God’s willingness to enter the world as a human demonstrates how much God is willing to participate and be present in the lives of youth.

by Cherie Smith

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The purchaser of this file has permission to print twenty copies of this Learners Study Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

The purchaser of this file has permission to print one copy of this Teaching Guide. Neither the file nor the printed contents may be sold, copied or transferred to another person or church. The purchaser may make a backup copy of the file.

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