Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 apples, onion, 3 caramel wraps, wrapping paper, two gift boxes, two bows
Choose an apple and an onion that are about the same shape and wrap them both with the caramel wrap so they appear identical. Place each in a gift box and wrap the boxes with Christmas wrapping paper. Place a bow on each box. Make a second caramel apple and set it aside.
Here are two Christmas presents. (Choose two children to come and give them each a present. Be sure to give the wrapped onion to a child that will be able to deal with the taste of the onion.) Here is a gift for each of you. It’s fun to get a gift isn’t it? All of us want to have fun and be happy. God tells us that we can have real fun and happiness when we accept His gift of salvation. Satan tells us that we can have fun and happiness when we accept any of his gifts, such as disobedience, drinking, smoking, drugs, premarital sex, etc. Both gifts look identical. On the outside, someone might think that both gifts from God or Satan could bring happiness. That’s only because he doesn’t know or understand what those gifts will actually bring. Let’s see what gifts you have. (Have the children open the packages.) Oh, look! You both have the same gift! They look delicious! By watching some people, a person may think that both God’s and Satan’s gifts look wonderful. They may see some friends laughing and acting goofy after they have been drinking and think that being drunk can bring fun and happiness. They may see some other friends who go to church always smiling and having a good attitude and think that Jesus will bring fun and happiness. But there is still one step left. Once a person accepts God’s or Satan’s gifts, he discovers what it really brings. I know that your mouths have been just waiting for a great big bite of those juicy caramel apples. If you can wait to finish them later, you can go ahead and take a big bite now. (Have the children take a big bite out of their gift.) Why do you look so funny? What’s wrong? Oh, dear, that’s not a caramel apple at all. It’s a caramel onion! That tastes awful. It surely won’t bring a smile to your face like their caramel apple would. That’s the bottom line with God’s and Satan’s gifts as well. Satan’s gifts are like this caramel onion. He coats them and dresses them up so that you think they will bring fun and happiness, but actually they will only bring unhappiness and destruction. Drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc. will bring harm to your body. They will eventually lead to your eternal death. But God’s gift of salvation will bring you real fun and happiness and will lead to eternal life. It’s obvious which is the better gift! Now you don’t have to be fooled by the way Satan wraps his gifts. Instead, you can spend your time enjoying God’s wonderful gift! There might be someone here right now who would like to ask God to give you His gift of salvation. You can do that right now as we pray. (Lead in a prayer asking God to give the children His gift of salvation and bring them real happiness.) (Tell the child with the onion this: By the way, I have another caramel apple for you to take with you later.)
Copyright © 1996 by Rev. Gary R. Linn
Children’s Ministry Today