Someone online was asking for ideas for this story in an All-Age service, so here are some ideas:
I might engage with the different generations involved in this bit of the story:
- An older (part child-bearing age) couple
- A younger couple (perhaps a teenage girl?)
- Two babies
I would invite people of roughly appropriate ages to take part in an impromptu acting-it-out, with them each reading their 'lines' from the Bible text.
This is fairly easy, with no prep necessary for them. Simply print out the story from the Bible and high-light different lines on different scripts. You'll also need a narrator.
After this, I might get people to work in small group to think about how this story might have felt to the different characters involved, including Gabriel!
I'm a big fan of OT and temple stuff, so I might set up a gazebo for the temple and introduce the various things inside it, and what Zechariah's role of burning incense might have been like. I'd diffuse some frankincense into the room! (Done this before - such fun!!)
I've also done a mini study on the words Zechariah speaks after John is born, looking at where the words and themes are mentioned in the OT.
This could be an interesting, more word-y activity, asking people to think where they have heard similar words before, and linking his message into the whole Bible story.
Oh, and I'd look at various pieces of art depicting the scenes in the story and ask people to chat about which they like best and why? What does it add to their understanding of the story?
What would you do?