We started out talking about John the Baptist,and his baptism of repentance. I mentioned that John baptized people, that's why they called him John the Baptist. One smart child then asked, "But why was he called John?"
Because that's what the angel said to name him.
They're mouths dropped open! They had never heard that story!
So I told them the whole story (which knocked off the lesson timing, but it's better to answer an actual question than follow my plan- you never know what the Holy Spirit is doing).
We talked about Jesus coming to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire - that was the baptism they got! How it washes away sins and makes them a child of God.
And we talked about Jesus' baptism. No sins, already God's son. Why was He getting baptized again? He was identifying Himself with us so that he could take on the guilt of our sins and pay for them on the cross.
Also, it was another epiphany, a revelation of the Trinity!
We took a little field trip to the parish baptismal font, but not before I taught them how to baptize! I think that's why the doll looks a little traumatized, it had just been "baptized" 8 times!
In an emergency, anyone can baptize- even an atheist can perform a baptism as long as they follow the Trinitarian formula and intend to actually baptize the person. You wouldn't think it would come up often, but in that one room with 8 people, 2 of us (Oob and I) had been emergency baptized by our mothers, and I knew of at least two more!
We talked briefly about Jesus' time in the desert (laying groundwork for Lent),and how he showed the Kingdom of God by showing his power over the devil.
Then we talked about how he showed the Kingdom of God by showing his power over nature. We acted out the story of the loaves and fishes (using crackers and swedish fish as props- boy, was that a hit!), and Jesus walking on water.
We also talked a little about Jesus revealing the Kingdom through parables, although we were running out of time, so I just did the Treasure in the Field.
The kids loved the story, and I had a quick game called Treasure Hunt.
I just put stickers on index cards, but I'm sure there's a more elegant way to do this. I had stickers of random things kids like: cookies, a ball, a dog, a snowman, macaroni and cheese (no, I don't know how I ended up with a sticker of that), and Jesus.
I put all the cards face down and the kids took turns picking cards. This worked really well because all the images were things they liked, but things they wouldn't give everything they had to get (except Jesus!).
Since it was the very last day of the Christmas season, I gave out candy canes when they found Jesus (I let everyone play until they won).