Focus Passage: I Samuel 2: 12-26
Memory Verse: “And the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.”
Items for Preparation
- Have a little Christmas treat to give each child today, something they can munch on as you tell your story.
Read the adult lesson in Baptists Today and additional material online at Nurturing Faith. Just telling part of Samuel’s story is a wonderful lesson for after Christmas; it’s such a good story, it stands alone. Maybe many adults in the sanctuary will not be aware of the exploits of Eli’s two dastardly sons, and the contrast between them and the boy given by his mother, Hannah, back over into God’s keeping in the Temple at Shiloh.
Say: Today’s story is about the boy whose mother loved him very much. Her name was Hannah, and she had cried and cried as a young woman because she wanted to have a new baby, and had to wait a long time before she finally became a mother. She prayed a famous prayer while she was waiting, and told God in her prayer that if she could have a baby, she would make sure the baby knew and loved God, and she’d give the baby back to God as a servant to minister to other people.
Say: Well, God heard her prayer, and soon, baby Samuel was born. Hannah was a happy mom; she sang another song that was a prayer thanking God for making her so happy and giving her a son. Moms love their babies. When Samuel was old enough to walk and talk, Hannah took him up to the temple at Shiloh, and gave him to the priest there, named Eli, so that he could start learning how to minister to people in the temple.
Say: Now, old Eli was an okay priest, but he wasn’t a very good Dad. He had two sons of his own who should have been learning how to minister to people in the temple. But they didn’t do that. They were silly, good-for-nothing rascals. One of them was named with an Egyptian name, “Hophni,” which you pronounce “hoff-nee,” which means “Toad.” The other one was named with a Hebrew name, “Phinehas,” which you pronounce “fin-ee-us.” That means “brass lips.” [Give kids a moment to laugh at this one.]
Say: So Toad and Brass-Lips didn’t do any of the work in the temple. They didn’t help out their dad, the priest Eli, at all. They had no clue how to be ministers or to do the things that kept the temple ready for God’s presence. They were ridiculous.
Say: But it was a very good thing that Hannah had been a good mom, and had been a faithful servant of God. Because she wanted to be a mother, and because of her faithful love for God, and her willingness to give her boy back to God’s care, it was her boy, Samuel, who became one of the most important servants in the temple. It was Samuel who God spoke to. Samuel kept growing and learning, and was very good at keeping the temple ready for God’s presence. One night, God spoke just to Samuel, whispering in his ear, and telling Samuel that old Toad and Brass-Lips were so bad that God was going to get rid of both of them.
Say: You can read what happened to Samuel, Toad and Brass-Lips, and the priest Eli, in I Samuel chapter 3. It would be a very fun bedtime story to read on this first Sunday of Christmas. I’m not going to give away the ending! But, can things be looking very good for Toad and Brass-Lips? No way!
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O God of Christmas,
We thank you for babies
Who bring us love, mercy and joy.
We thank you for baby Samuel
And for baby Jesus,
And ask your blessing for us and all your children,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.