Focus Passage: I Samuel 1: 1-28
Memory Verse: “Hannah named her baby Samuel, because she said ‘I asked the Lord for him.’”
Items for Preparation
-Collect some items used during your church’s family dedication process in worship, such as a Dedication Certificate, a small child’s Bible, a cross, whatever your church uses to mark this occasion in worship.
-Ask a new mother in the congregation if she will bring her baby into worship to sit near children for them to see as you deliver your sermon.
Read the adult lesson in Baptists Today and additional material at Nurturing Faith online. The story of Hannah gives us a little glimpse into the joy and heartbreak of life as one of multiple wives. But what we take away most from her story is the deep desire she had for a child, the deep love she gave her baby, and the deep faith and commitment to God she exhibited by giving this most precious gift back to God as she promised. As church families, we expect we will one day give our children over to God, to let them go, to send them out into the world to be God’s servants. This giving away of our precious children is a joyful and poignant spiritual moment. Let’s help children understand just how precious they are in our sight, and in God’s.
[Display your family dedication items for children to see, and begin by answering their questions about these things. Also have your new mom and her baby nearby, and if she’s willing, let children get very close.]
Say: Hannah was a woman who wanted more than anything to be a mother. She waited a long time and finally was very happy to have her new baby, and to present him in the Temple to the priest.
Say: Did you know that, when you were new babies, your parents presented you here in our sanctuary, and we celebrated that you were born into our church family? [Allow for answers. Maybe some children have observed a dedication service, or have been present as their siblings have been dedicated. Let them tell about this.]
Say: Hannah’s story helps us know how very important you are to God; we all love you just as God loves you, and when you were born, it was a happy time for our church. We said a prayer for you, and for your parents, that they would be wise and strong and good parents. We prayed that you would be healthy and strong, and grow up to know how much love we have for you.
Say: Are we doing a good job? When you are here in our church, do you feel loved by the grown-ups who are here with you? [Allow for answers.] Do you feel love for some of the people here too? [Allow for answers.]
Say: Every time a new baby is born, our church family is richer, because there is a new person to share God’s love. We know that one day, you will grow up, and you might go off into another city to go to college, to get a job, or to find a good way to serve God as a Jesus-follower. We know that one day, we will have to give you up just as Hannah gave Samuel up. But we also know that, no matter what, God will always be with you, loving you, and calling you to follow him. That is a very happy thing!
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O loving God,
You are like a mother and father to us.
You love us and take care of us
As we grow and learn to follow you.
Bless all new babies in our church
And all over the world,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.