Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Christian Pumpkin

Through the years I have taught all different age groups at church, as well as daycare. I love pumpkins, I love fall and these are some of the lessons I've used over the years based on the age group! "The Gospel Pumpkin" was one that was fun to do with my toddler class. We would pre cut the shapes and have the kids glue them their paper as we went through the poem. I also think this would make a great felt board story for circle time :)

The Gospel Pumpkin
I am a Jack O' Lantern 
My light will shine so bright. 
For I am a Christian pumpkin 
My symbols tell what's right.

My nose is like the cross 
on which our Savior died. 
To set us free from sin 
We need no longer hide.

My mouth is like a fish 
The whole wide world to show
That Christians live in this house 
And love their Savior so! 

The story starts at Christmas
My eyes are like the star 
That shone on Baby Jesus 
And wise men saw from far. 

My color it is orange 
Just like the big bright sun 
That rose on Easter Day 
Along with Gods' own Son.

And so on Halloween 
Let's set our pumpkins out 
And tell the trick or treaters 
What Gods' love is all about! 
Author Unknown

With my 4-6 year old Sunday School class we enjoyed this Pumpkin themed lesson called "The Pumpkin Prayer." Just demonstrate on a large carving pumpkin and have the kids watch and/or help. Have them pray this prayer, as well as give them a copy to take home.

The Pumpkin Prayer
Dear God,
As I carve my pumpkin help me say this prayer:

Open my mind so I can learn about You;
(Cut the top of the pumpkin)
Take away all my sin and forgive me for the wrong things I do.
(Clean out the inside)
Open my eyes so Your love I will see;
(Cut the eyes out in heart shapes)
I'm so sorry for turning up my nose to all you've given me.
(Cut a nose in the shape of a cross)
Open my ears so your word I will hear.
(Cut the ears shaped like the Bible)-we did rectangles
Open my mouth so I can tell others You're near
(cut the mouth in the shape of a fish)
Let Your light shine in all I say and do! Amen.
(Place a candle inside and light it)

At a chapel service I attended the youth pastor shared a message on how a pumpkin is like a christian. Here is the meat of that message. This would be great for elementary school kids.

How A Christian is like a pumpkin:
"God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off you may have gotten from the other pumpkins. Then he cuts the top off and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see."

1. Take a pumpkin. "You aren't a pumpkin, but all of us are something like one. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off you may have gotten from the other pumpkins." Talk about how a pumpkin is like us: it has an outside and an inside. The outside is what people see. The inside is like our soul or our heart. A pumpkin left to itself will soon rot and die. We will die some day too." 

2. Carve out eyes and a small "o" shaped mouth.  As you make the holes and pull out the pieces of rind, ask people what they see inside (yucky stuff). "This is what we look like to others and what we are like when are hearts are not changed. The hearts of men are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live (Ecclesiastes 9:3). How can we get rid of this icky stuff?" 

3. "God is the only one who can change our heart. But in order for God to change our heart we must become open to him." Carve an opening in the top of the pumpkin big enough to put your hand through. You might want to quote Revelation 3:20: Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 

4. Put in your hand and pull out the insides. "God scoops out all the yucky stuff inside of us. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, impurity, and greed." Talk about the cross and how Jesus was willing to become messy for us, so that we might be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:25b-27). 

5. "But if we leave a pumpkin with just the insides taken out, then it's just hollow. We need to have a light inside that will truly make us alive! Jesus said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' Add a light to the inside of the pumpkin. "When Jesus lives inside of you, you can glow! You will want to be kind and honest. You will want to please God, to help others, and to tell other people about your Friend and Lord." 

6. At this point you might want to carve the mouth into a smile! "God carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see."

Happy Fall, Ya'll