Children dressed up for the Christmas pageant in Trinity Church

3 Ways Into Sunday’s Stories for Children: A Fresh Start

First Sunday After the Epiphany

In our liturgical calendar, Advent begins our new year. And after 12 days of Christmas (Christmastide), comes Epiphany (January 6) and Epiphanytide, when we get to know Jesus through the events in his life and his encounters with all kinds of people.

The First Sunday After the Epiphany, The Baptism of Our Lord, always occurs at the beginning of a new calendar year. A lot of people are thinking about starting new habits, fresh starts, and moving past mistakes and bad times from the year before.

Baptism was a way to wash away “sins.” We don’t systematically punish “sin” like churches used to, especially with children. But even the youngest children understand and feel the relief and hope of a fresh start after an incident or time or day that was hard.

Jesus wanted ordinary people to know that he was with them as a person who could make mistakes, feel pain, and seek forgiveness and fresh starts, too. 

Print, fold, read, and color the story booklet.

A line drawing of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus in the Jordan River

1. Sing and Dance

Sing and dance and Wade in the Water. Water is life to all who live on earth. About half of every human body is made of water. Water has also been a source of liberation for people throughout the ages.

2. Play and Pray

Play Freeze Dance. Dance or exercise while music is playing. When the music stops, everyone freezes. To get unfrozen and start fresh, tell the group about a mistake you made or bad habit you may have and want to change.

Pray: Dear God, thank you for Baptism and the promise of belonging it holds for us. Thank you for surrounding us with people who commit to being in faithful community with us. Amen.

3. Create

Create a relief painting. Use a white crayon on white paper to write the names or draw a picture of God’s and your beloveds (something or someone you value and love no matter what). Use watercolors to paint over your drawing and reveal the names and pictures of God’s beloveds.

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