Jesus' Birth through the Eyes of the Shepherds, Angelic Host, and the Stable
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will perform skits and create screen shots of each scene of Jesus' birth from the point of view of the shepherds.
Luke 2: 8-20 (the Shepherds and the Angels)
- To learn the story of Christ's birth from the perspective of the shepherds and the angels.
- To find the story of the shepherds and the angels in the Bible.
- To experience the story as it might have been 2000 years ago.
- To experience the story in a 20th century context.
- To explore four key elements of the Shepherds encounter with God:
· Hearing the glad tidings
· Believing the angels' proclamation
· Discovering the Christ child
· Praising God
- Read the Scripture and Background Materials
- Gather the materials
- Costumes for shepherds, angels, and sheep
- Manger and/or special props
- Paper pieces or tongue depressors with a number 1, 2, or 3 on them
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction
Greet the children and introduce yourself and any helpers that you have.
Dig- Main Content and Reflection
Time allotted: 45-60 minutes
As the children come in have them choose a piece of paper (or tongue depressor) with a number 1, 2, or 3 written on it. Divide them into groups by numbers. Have children in each group locate the story of the shepherds and the angels and read the story aloud. Tell the children that they will each be taking a role in the story. 1s will be the shepherds (some can also be sheep), 2s will be the angels, and 3s will be the characters in the manger scene.
After parts are assigned, have adults help the children find appropriate costumes and/or props.
Tell the children they are going to act out and photograph "freeze frames" of the important parts of the story. Explain to the children that they are going to be doing a skit that imagines how the story happened 2000 years ago when Christ was born. Let them know that there will be four "freeze frame" scenes in this skit. Explain each scene and let them set up how they think it might have happened. The scenes are based on the shepherds' experiences in this story. Encourage children to come up with appropriate facial expressions and hand motions for each freeze frame.
Scene 1: The shepherds hear the angels tell of Christ's birth (good news!) (children should show fear, awe, and excitement among other things).
Scene 2: The shepherds believe the angels' proclamation (children should show more excitement and anticipation as well as praise to God).
Scene 3: The shepherds discover the Christ child (children should move to the manger scene and greet the child with thanksgiving and awe and excitement).
Scene 4: The shepherds return to their homes and fields, glorifying and praising God (children should express praise and thanksgiving to God).
After scene 4, explain to the children that the skit will be done again using each of the above scenes, but the second time will be as a modern skit. Children should think of an appropriate modern location, modern characters (if not shepherds, who would the angels appear to today and why?), modern costumes and modern language. Encourage creativity. Allow children to be a different character if they choose.
During the skits take a picture at each scene (either polaroid or regular cameras will work). Put the photos together for a display outside the door of the drama room for others to see as weeks go by.
[Older children may do the same thing, or create a video news report of the story. Have one person be the reporter in the newsroom (at a table), then go to a reporter in the field who interviews the various participants in each scene (animals included).]
- What did it feel like to be a shepherd? Angel? A character in the manger scene?
- Why did the angels appear to the shepherds and not someone else?
- Why did the shepherds drop everything to go find out about some baby?
- What does this "baby" mean to them?
- What does this "baby" mean to us?
Close with a prayer and have the children assist in the cleanup before they are dismissed.
A lesson written by St. Elmo's Choir, a rotation writer's group.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.