Important for the integrity of this children’s sermon is that the person who leads it truly enjoys helping others by contributing to One Great Hour of Sharing.
What makes you happy? How do you show you are happy?
(Invite the children to demonstrate. Answers might include:
• At a ballgame when I am happy, I clap and shout.
• When my dog licks me, I laugh.
• When I open a birthday present, I jump up and down.
• When my parents kiss me goodnight, I hug them.
• When recess comes, I skip to the playground.
• When I see one of my adult friends at church, I smile.
• When I get to play in the bath, I sing.)
Showing that we are happy actually makes us feel even happier. When we laugh, we feel even better than we felt before. Smiling makes our face feel good, so we want to smile some more. And it doesn’t seem possible to stop when you’ve only jumped twice. You just have to jump more!
One thing that makes me happy is to “count my blessings.” That means that I think about how God has been kind and good to me in so many ways. (Tell the children some of the blessings you are thankful for.) When I think about how wonderful God has been to me, I feel thankful and joyful, and I want to share the blessings. (Show the children your One Great Hour of Sharing offering envelope or coin box. The amount you contribute should not be shown, but your name on the envelope or coin box should be clearly written. Place your offering in an offering plate.)
This is one way I share God’s blessings and show how happy I am. One Great Hour of Sharing blesses people in need by providing clean water to drink and healthy food to eat when people are hungry. It helps build schools, medical clinics, and homes in communities that don’t have them or that have been hurt badly by earthquakes, hurricanes, poverty, and war. It makes me feel really good inside to share what God has given me to help other people. I like giving to One Great Hour of Sharing. I hope giving makes you and your family happy, too, because your offering helps people who really need it.
(End with prayer, thanking God for the abundance of blessings in our lives, the joy of love, and the joy that comes from helping others. Ask for blessings on the work of One Great Hour of Sharing.)
- glass pitcher filled with water; add to it a packet of Kool-Aid or Lemonade mix
- light bulb screwed into a lamp with a cord that can reach an electrical outlet
- two sheets of paper of the same color and size, one of which has been folded into a different shape (Many websites and books offer simple origami instructions if you need a refresher.)
- lump of malleable play dough
- One Great Hour of Sharing coin box or offering envelope, containing money
Engage the children in a discussion about what “transform” means (to change something to make it very different, to alter something). Show examples:
- Using a glass pitcher filled with water, add powder mix to it, changing it into a beverage
- A light bulb is a tube of glass with gas inside (compact florescent) or a globe of glass with wire inside (incandescent). (Turn on the lamp.) Electricity transforms the bulb into a source of light for our classrooms on rainy days or so we can see to eat breakfast on dark mornings.
- Origami transforms a flat sheet of paper into (a drinking cup, bird, or whatever you have the skills to make).
- Our imagination can transform a lump of play dough into (a snake, basket, or whatever you can quickly make while the children watch).
God’s love transforms us when we really come to understand that God loves and forgives us completely. We’re still ourselves and yet we are so different—in our relationship with God and in how we live sharing God’s love with other people—that Jesus compared it to being “born anew,” “born from above” (John 3; 1 Peter 1:23; NRSV), or “born again” (KJV). We are so excited and happy about God’s love, we want to share it so other people feel it, too.
(Display an OGHS coin box or OGHS envelope.) Our One Great Hour of Sharing offering today is also a transformer! We give to the offering so we can share the joy of being loved by God. (Empty out the coins and/or bills inside the offering container.) This looks like regular old money, but with God’s blessing and our love, our offering transforms into clean water for thirsty people, school books and play grounds for kids who don’t have any, and medicine for sick people. It brings doctors and nurses to people who have been hurt in earthquakes. It becomes seeds and trains farmers to raise healthy food in places where there is not much food. It transforms into shovels, seeds, sewing machines, and house-building tools where those are needed, throughout the world.
Just as God’s love transforms us and brings us joy, we can help transform other people’s lives by helping them through One Great Hour of Sharing. That makes me happy! And our caring for God’s hurting children throughout the world makes God happy.
A Note to Those Who Work with Children
Sharing, an abstract concept, can be difficult for children, with their concrete minds, to understand. The One Great Hour of Sharing theme, “Sharing brings joy,” may seem odd, if not downright wrong, to the youngest members of the congregation. Leaders in the field of child development suggest that most children cannot grasp the concept of sharing before approximately age six, although some very compassionate souls can begin to understand around age four. (You may even have encountered some adults who have trouble sharing!) Children have to learn to share. And it can take years before sharing seems like a natural and good thing to do.
It may be helpful to prepare the children in your congregation for the One Great Hour of Sharing offering by using some of the resources listed below in the weeks before the offering is received, to familiarize the children with the concept of sharing. Other good resources may be available through your local library.
• The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll by Patricia C. McKissack (New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2007)
• The Big Birthday Surprise: Junior Discovers Giving by Dave Ramsey (Brentwood, TN: Lampo Press, 2003)
• The Boy Who Wouldn't Share by Mike Reiss (New York, NY: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2008)
• Chubbo's Pool by Betsy Lewin (New York, NY: Clarion Books, 1996)
• The Delicious Bug by Janet Perlman (Toronto, Canada: Kids Can Press, 2009)
• It's My Birthday by Pat Hutchins (New York, NY: Greenwillow Books, 1999)
• Little T Learns to Share by Terrell Owens (Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, 2006)
• The Mine-o-saur by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (New York, NY: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2007)
• My New Sandbox by Donna Jakob (New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children, 1996)
• The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister (New York, NY: North-South Books, 1992)
• Sharing Christmas by Kate Westerlund (New York, NY: Minedition, published by Penguin Young Readers Group, 2007)
• The Story Blanket by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz (Atlanta, GA: Peachtree, 2008)
• Why Should I Share? by Claire Llewellyn (Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, 2005)