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Expect the unexpected

To show that because God promises to be always with us, happiness comes in unexpected ways.

by Lee Jennings

Suitable for Key Stage 3


To show that because God promises to be always with us, happiness comes in unexpected ways.

Preparation and materials

  • Gift wrap some presents containing items that people may not expect (for example, a big, exciting looking present with a disappointing gift inside).
  • Put some money inside a small, scruffy looking box.


  1. Invite volunteers to come forward, and ask each to choose a present. Ask why they chose that particular one.
  2. One by one allow them to open the present they have chosen, asking how they felt when they saw the gift inside. Most should feel disappointed. (Or annoyed at you for stitching them up!)

    Finally, let the volunteer who has the small, scruffy box open this present. Ask how it felt to be getting a good present.

    Thank the volunteers for their help.
  3. One day Jesus was going to Jerusalem, and he rode on a donkey. People were excited that he was coming. They waved palm branches and people came out on to the streets to see him.

    But there was a problem. The Jews were expecting a king who would come and set them free from the Romans. Many of them didn’t think Jesus could save them. Because of this, they thought he wasn’t telling the truth. So some of them took Jesus to court, tried him, and then decided to kill him. They had expected something, and were disappointed with what they got.

    However, Jesus came back to life again, which was an even bigger surprise to his friends than to his enemies. Their sadness turned to happiness.
  4. God brought Jesus back from the dead – something we remembered at Easter. Christians believe that Jesus is still alive, and cares for each one of us.
  5. Sometimes in life we don’t get what we expect. Sometimes people let us down, and sometimes we can feel that God has let us down. But God promises that he will never leave us.

    When Jesus came alive again, he said that he would send his Holy Spirit to be with us and to help us. This would be the same as having Jesus with us. This is what Christians remember at Pentecost – Jesus sending his Holy Spirit to be a helper for Christians in every aspect of their lives.

Time for reflection

A woman who lived in Norwich many centuries ago said that God gave her a vision. In her vision she was holding something about the size of a hazelnut. When she asked God what it was, God replied that it was everything that was made. When she asked God about the sadness that people live with, God replied, ‘All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.’


Lord God,

thank you that you promised to be with us always.

Thank you that you promise that all will be well.

Help me to remember that, no matter what.


Publication date: May 2012   (Vol.14 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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