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DRAMA (PHOTOGRAPHY), PUPPET, NEWSROOM workshop lesson plans and ideas for the story of Jesus' presentation in the Temple; Simeon and Anna.

Scripture reference: Luke 2:21-40

Post your lessons and ideas below.

Simeon & Anna

Drama Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this workshop, children will have the opportunity to share a tradition that is important to them, as well as learn about the “Rocking Baby” tradition from England. Finally, the group will act out the presenting of baby Jesus in the Temple.

Scripture Reference:

Luke 2:21-40

Memory Verse: Luke 2:22
“When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” (NRSV)


  1. God works through everyday experiences and ritual traditions.
  2. Our community of faith helps us to be obedient to God.
  3. God uses others to help us see more clearly our calling.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time
  • Gather the following materials:
    • NRSV Bibles
    • Wooden baby cradle
    • Artificial holly
    • Poinsettias
    • White Christmas roses
    • Rosemary
    • Evergreens
    • For children who can read: copies of “A Rocking Baby” from the book by Judy Gattis Smith (see References)
    • A baby doll
    • Blanket
    • Costumes for Mary, Joseph, Simeon, and Anna
    • Journaling supplies

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction

Greet the children and introduce yourself and any helpers that you have.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection

  1. Have the children seated on the floor. Talk about traditions or ideas that are handed down from generation to generation. Share with the group a tradition that is important to you. Ask them to think of a tradition that is important to them and/or their family. Allow each child to act out a tradition using only actions, no words. Allow the group to guess what tradition the child is acting out. Keep in mind that the traditions can be something associated with Advent and Christmas, but could also be something from another time of year such as birthdays, vacations, etc.
  2. Gather the children around the cradle. Talk with them about the longstanding tradition in England called the “Rocking Baby.” This is a tradition in which a cradle is decorated with flowers and greenery. Parents of a recently born baby bring the child to the church where the baby is rocked in the cradle. A short play describing the presentation of Jesus in the Temple is presented. The baby’s name is added to a book of all the others that have been presented during past years during the “Rocking Baby” ceremony called the "Register of Rocking."
  3. Ask the children to use the flowers and greenery to decorate the cradle. Use the information provided with this lesson to talk with the children about the different traditions or stories that have been passed down concerning the flowers and greenery. For the children that can read, ask them to read the different stories as the flowers are placed on the cradle. You can share the stories with the non-readers as they place the flowers and greenery on the cradle. Let the children take turns placing the baby in the cradle and rocking.
  4. After the cradle is decorated and everyone has had a turn to rock the baby, ask the group to act out the story of Jesus being presented in the Temple. You will need Mary, Joseph, Simeon, and Anna. Use the baby doll for Jesus. One child could be the narrator and tell the story in their own words, or you could read it from the Bible.


After acting out the story, talk with the children about why traditions are important. You might ask:

  • Why do you think traditions are important to us?
  • Why do you think the people in England want to have the “Rocking Baby” ceremony each year?
  • Why do you think Mary and Joseph thought the tradition of presenting their baby in the Temple was important?

Closing prayer:
Close the class with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
Gracious God, thank you for the traditions we have that hold us together as a family and as a community of faith. Help us to cherish old traditions while learning new ones. Amen.

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Have them answer the following: "Why are traditions important? If you could start a new tradition what would it be?"

Smith, Judy Gattis. Birth, Death, and Resurrection. Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN 1989.

Written by Jan Marshall from Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Brentwood, TN

Last edited by Luanne Payne
Original Post

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Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of Simeon & Anna
Puppet Workshop


In our "Master's Mountain Theater" students will reenact the story of Simeon and Anna with puppets, then puppet characters will be asked questions, by teacher, and respond from their characters point of view.

Bible Background: Who were Simeon and Anna?

Scripture References:

Luke 2:21–39 and others as cited in “Biblical Explanation and Background for Teaching”

Memory verse: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” II Corinthians 9:15

Theme: God leads a prepared Simeon, and a prepare Anna and US to know his son, Jesus, when we prepare to know him and seek Him in obedient faith.

Lesson Objectives:

  1. Children will become familiar with the faith stories of Simeon and Anna in relationship to Jesus’ birth.
  2. Children will learn that God reveals himself to those who prepare and seek him in obedient faith, just as Jesus, God’s Son, our Savior, was revealed to Simeon and Anna.
  3. Children will thank God for sending Jesus as their Savior from sin, just as Simeon and Anna did.

Leader Preparations:

  • Read the scripture and bible background ahead of time
  • Gather the Materials


  • “Simeon”, “Anna”, “Mary”, “Joseph” and “baby” puppets
  • Backgrounds to look like Bethlehem
  • Jerusalem and the Temple. The Temple and a palm tree can be mounted on a stick and moved across the stage to simulate the travelling. Or, you can have the kids draw the scenery IN ORDER across a long sheet of paper, which can be rolled onto two poles and 'scrolled' by helpers behind the puppets to simulate movement and scene changes. This idea turns your scenery-making time into a learning/memory time.

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction

Greet the children and introduce yourself and any helpers that you have.

Post the Bible memory verse, II Corinthians 9:15. The children should already have their own copies. Repeat the verse with the children before beginning to teach the lesson.

Teach the lesson. If this is the first Sunday of the rotation, most children will either not be at all familiar with the Simeon and Anna story, or will maybe only have heard of it vaguely. Children who can read should be encouraged to open their Bibles to Luke 2: 21-39 to read the story in the Bible before you teach the important points of the lesson. You will need to outline a version for yourself using the goals, concepts and background material as a guide to what you choose to emphasize, and especially explain any parts that pertain to the drama, like the words “sacrifice” and “salvation”. You will also need to explain how God promised to send His Son long before Jesus was born. You could start with a brief review of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and the shepherds’ visit to worship Him (the wise men had not yet visited at this point, we think.)

PUPPET SCRIPT: Simeon and Anna meet Baby Jesus

Younger children can move the puppets as a narrator reads the script. Older children can have the script tape inside the stage and speak into a microphone mounted in front of them behind the stage. (Microphones have the effect of focusing their attention).

Scene I: Bethlehem

JOSEPH: “Mary, are you ready to go to Jerusalem today?”
MARY: “Yes, Joseph. It is several miles, but we can carry baby Jesus and get there in time to offer our sacrifice in the Temple.”

Scene II: Jerusalem

MARY: “Joseph, isn’t the Temple magnificent?”
JOSEPH: “Yes, it’s the place to offer our sacrifice and worship to God. What a privilege to be one of his people!”
(Joseph and Mary walk off stage, and Simeon comes on. He kneels and bows his head, praying quietly, then looks up as if he’s listening.)
SIMEON: “Yes, Lord, I will go to the Temple today. I’ll leave right now.”
(Simeon walks off stage, going to the Temple.)

Scene III: In the Temple

JOSEPH: “Mary, you must wait here while I go in to the priests with the sacrifice.”
(Joseph walks off stage, then returns shortly afterward. Mary and Joseph walk back and forth on the stage, carrying baby Jesus. Simeon approaches them.)
SIMEON: “May I see your baby?”
MARY AND JOSEPH: “Yes. Here, would you like to hold him?”
SIMEON: (He holds baby Jesus as he speaks. He seems to be speaking both to God and to Mary and Joseph) “Lord, I praise you, for you’ve kept your promise to me and to your people! You are allowing me to hold the promised One before I die! This baby will bring salvation for all people. He will be a light to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel.”
(Mary and Joseph listen. They are quietly awestruck by what Simeon is saying. Simeon turns and speaks directly to Mary.)
SIMEON: “This child will cause the falling and rising of many in Israel. He will be a sign that will be spoken against, and the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. You, too, will experience great suffering.”
(As Simeon is speaking, Anna comes up behind Joseph and Mary. When Simeon is done speaking, he steps back to one side, and Anna looks at Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.)
ANNA: (speaking prayerfully to God) “Thank you, Lord, for letting me see your promised One!” (Anna embraces Mary, Joseph and the baby affectionately.)

SCENE IV: On the way back home: (an ending suggested by the editor)

This scene takes place in front of the stage where everyone has a puppet to answer the teacher's questions. The teacher asks each character to respond from their character's point of view. Suggested Questions: What did Mary and Joseph talk about on the way home? What did Simeon and Anna say to others in the Temple after they had made their predictions? What would Simeon say to our class? How are we all like Anna every year...thanking God for letting us "see" the Christ child?

Other Possible Discussion Questions:

  1. What did Simeon mean when he thanked God for keeping his promises? (ANS: He meant two things. First, there were many prophecies about the coming of God’s Son in the Old Testament; these were promises to God’s people, the Jews. Second, God had especially promised Simeon that he would get to see the Messiah, God’s Son (Jesus) before he died.)
  2. Who was Anna talking about when called Jesus the “promised One”? (ANS: She meant God’s Son, the one who would die on the cross for our sins and be raised on the third day.)
  3. How did Anna and Simeon know about the promised Son of God? (ANS: They had spent time learning and meditating on God’s word, the Bible, and they each spent much time in prayer.)
  4. What attitude did both Simeon and Anna have toward God when they saw baby Jesus? (ANS: Each one was thankful, praising and loving God.)

Journal: Suppose you were a child who happened to meet Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus after hearing from Anna that Jesus was the Savior God promised to send. What would you think of baby Jesus? What questions would you ask Mary and Joseph?


Close with "Anna and Simeon's Prayer.
Pass around the Simeon and Anna Prayers asking each child to move the puppet into a praying position and speak a line of prayer in the puppet's voice thanking God for something in the story, and for letting them know the Christ Child. You may write their suggestions on a flipchart and have students take a suggestion and turn it into their prayer during their turn with the puppet.

Celebrating is a privilege God gives us each and every year. Invite the children to come back next week and to bring their Bibles as they attend their next workshop.

This lesson contributed by Silverdale UMC
It is based on lessons ideas previously posted at and additional presentation ideas were contributed by Neil MacQueen.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of Simeon & Anna

Drama and/or Photography Workshop

The Incarnation: God Keeps His Promises

Scripture Reference:

Luke 2:1-40

Lesson Objectives:

At the end of the session the children will be able to:

  • Identify Luke as one of the four books known as the Gospels and locate it in the New Testament.
  • Relate that "Gospel" means "Good News."
  • Relate the story of the birth of Jesus and identify each character.
  • Identify Simeon and Anna as prophets who waited in the temple to see the promised Messiah.
  • Begin to understand our trust in one true God who keeps His promises to His people.
  • Experience some of the feelings and emotions of all involved with the birth of Jesus.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the Materials

Materials List:

  • Bible-time costumes
  • Sheep cut out from posterboard
  • Doll (Baby Jesus)
  • Shepherd crooks
  • Angel wings
  • Halos (gold or silver tinsel work well)
  • Flip chart
  • Digital camera [alternate option if digital pictures not used: Polaroid camera and film to fit it]
  • Posterboard
  • Photo mounting tape or corners
  • Markers.


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction

Greet the children and introduce yourself and any helpers that you have.

Background comments on the story:

  • Read also Luke 1 and Matthew 1-2. Note that the Luke account does not include the wise men or Herod.
  • God's message is given to all: lowly shepherds, Gentiles (2: 32).
  • Mary and Joseph's actions in the Temple in Jerusalem fulfilled the requirements of Jewish law (Luke 2: 39); Jesus grew up participating in and following the laws given by God to Moses, even though as an adult he often acted in opposition to the law.
  • Jesus fulfilled God's promise of salvation, as noted by both Simeon and Anna. Simeon declares who Jesus is and foreshadows what he will do. Note that Jesus drew no attention from the Temple officials, only two pious people in the Temple.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection

Take time to talk with the students about their Holiday plans for travel and visitors. Talk about Holiday excitement and anticipation: not only about hoped-for gifts but also about gifts to be given to others. If anyone has (or will have) a new baby in the family, ask them to share their feelings of expectation.

Bringing the story to life: Photo tableaus

Read the scripture: Luke 2: 22-40

This is a familiar story, spread out over two Gospels. Do not read or tell the entire story, but do review the highlights of Luke 2:1-40.

Characters: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, Angel, army of angels, shepherds, innkeeper, Simeon, Anna

Where did the story take place? road to Bethlehem, stable, sheep field, Temple in Jerusalem

Talk about Simeon and Anna.
How would you feel if you were Mary, Joseph, innkeeper, shepherds, Simeon when he sees Jesus, Anna when she sees Jesus, Mary and Joseph's reaction to everything?

Outline key scenes and key phrases from the story on the flip chart. Select from the list on the flipchart approximately six scenes that will tell the story. These will be photographed. Possible scenes are:

1) Birth of Jesus
2) Innkeeper
3) Angels/Shepherds
4) Shepherds/Manger
5) Temple/family with Simeon
6) Temple/family with Anna

Warm-up exercises: Before class: write the names of the characters in the story on slips of paper (depending on the number of people in the class, some names may be used more than once). Have each child draw the name of a person in the story. Divide the class into pairs. Each child should work with his or her partner to decide what each partner's character would say and do when they first heard about Jesus or saw Jesus.

Assign parts and run through the scenes listed on the flipchart, deciding where to stop the action to form a tableau that will tell the story without words. (If different people will have the same part in different pictures, make sure the character is always wearing the same costume.) Work on facial expressions that "say something," since the pictures will be silent. After the class is happy with the selected scenes, run through it again and take the pictures.

If you are using a digital camera and doing this as a two week lesson or have a computer at home: use the program that came with the digital camera to add captions to each picture. Print a copy of the book for each member of the class and one for the classroom or church library.

If using one week lesson/Polaroid photo option: Mount the photos on posterboard and write meaningful captions for each one. Make sure to list the participants' names. Hang the poster in the hallway for everyone to enjoy.

Pulling it all together:

  1. What did God do to bring [the people] back to the covenant? (Belonging to God: a First Catechism (PCUSA) question # 21)
    Although God judged the people when they sinned, God still loved them and remained faithful to them. God sent them prophets to speak God's word. God gave them priests to make sacrifices for their sins. God called kings to protect the needy and guarantee justice. At last God promised to send the Messiah.
  2. Was Jesus just another human being? (Belonging to God: a First Catechism (PCUSA) question #24)
    No. Although he was truly human, he was also God with us. As someone who was truly human, he could share all our sorrows. Yet because he was truly God, he could save us from all our sins.
  3. Discuss "Gospel" = "good news." The shepherds certainly heard Gospel. (Luke 2: 10: "But the angel said to them, ‘Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all people.'" What good news is there in our life? Can we share it as the shepherds did?
  4. What promise did God make to Simeon? Did He keep it?
  5. What do we know about Anna? (She was an old prophetess, a person who proclaims a message from God.)
  6. What promises of God can you think of? (God promised to Noah that there would be no more floods; God promised to bless Abraham and make him the father of a great nation; God promised to always care for His people; God promised He would save His people; God promised Simeon and Anna they would see the promised Messiah before they died ...)
  7. I wonder how Simeon and Anna knew to go to the Temple at the right time and knew Jesus was the baby they were looking for?
  8. "Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them." (Luke 2:19. Also 2:33.) What do you think Mary thought?


Have the children assist in putting everything away and then end with a prayer.

Closing prayer: Father: Send your Spirit upon us, so that we too may see your salvation. Thank you for your promises to us, especially your promise of salvation at Easter through your son born at Christmas. Help us to keep sight of this promised salvation throughout this hectic season. Amen.

Books for sharing before and after class: there are many picture book versions of the Christmas story available in the public library. Some are better than others. Look for ones with particularly attractive pictures or different ways of telling the story (not just those written in King James English).

  • dePaola, Tomie. Mary, The Mother of Jesus. New York: Holiday House, 1995. (Scripture and legend woven together; includes Simeon and Anna episode.)
  • Heyer, Carol. The Christmas Story. Nashville: Ideals, 1991. (Includes the Simeon and Anna episode.)
  • L'Engle, Madeleine. The Glorious Impossible. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990. (The life of Jesus illustrated by Giotto's frescoes; includes Simeon and Anna episode.)

Other Christmas books (don't include Simeon and Anna)

  • Ganari, Anita. The Story of Christmas. (Photos show children in costumes acting out the story.)
  • Mayper, Monica. Come and See: A Christmas Story. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. (Smiling shepherds lead the townspeople to the stable, ending with all dancing for joy around the stable.)
  • Allan, Nicholas. Jesus' Christmas Party. New York: Random House, 1991. (This story is not quite Biblically accurate, but it is great fun to imagine the innkeeper's reaction as a parade of visitors knock on his door, looking for the baby.)
  • Clements, Andrew. Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers. New York: Clarion, 1996. (The story from an angel's point of view.)

A lesson written by Amy Crane from: Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church
Tampa, FL

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Jesus' Birth through the Eyes of Joseph, Mary, Inn Keeper, Simeon, Anna

Drama Workshop
Jesus' Birth - Newsroom Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:
The children will hold a press conference concerning the birth of Jesus, through the eyes of Joseph, Mary, Inn Keeper, Simeon and Anna.

Moderator copied this over from the "Jesus Birth" forum as it includes Simon and Anna and could easily be adapted to focus more on their characters.

Scripture Reference:
Luke 2: 1-20, Luke 2:21-38 , Matthew 1: 1-16

Memory Verse:
"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:11-12 (NIV)

Lesson Objectives:

  • Know that Jesus' genealogy fulfills prophesies
  • Know that many old testament characters play an important role in Jesus' lineage

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture passages and lesson plan.
  • Learn the memory verse.
  • Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.
  • Preview the cameras and know how to operate them.
  • Make press badges
  • Simeon & Anna cue cards since these are lesser known characters

Materials List:

  • Movie camera with fresh tape
  • Microphones
  • TV
  • Bible time costumes
  • Baby doll and baby toiletries
  • Press badges
  • "Kids on the Move" Zion 7 News Holiday Pack Christmas 1 & 2 (aka KOTM)

Advance Preparation Requirements:

  • Remove anchor desk
  • Manger scene backdrop
  • Place chairs for an audience to face the press conference 'platform'


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction
Greet the children and introduce yourself as well as any new child.

Open with prayer

Explain the purpose of this workshop: "Today, we will hold a press conference concerning the Birth Narrative. We will have a few of you portray our main characters while the rest of you will be the press who are asking questions.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection

Scripture/Bible Story:
Read the scripture: Luke 2:1-12, 21-38

There will not be a full suggested script for this lesson, only an opening, closing, and suggested press questions. The actors should be encouraged to become their character and try to imagine what they would have thought and felt about their role in our Savior's birth.

Characters: narrator, Joseph, reporter, Mary, Inn Keeper, Simeon, Anna

director: Lights!……Camera!……Action!

narrator: We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you
this special announcement. Joseph, the carpenter's son, has agreed to make a full statement concerning the birth of his fiancÉ's child, Jesus. We'll cut now to go live to Bethlehem, where our reporter is standing by waiting to begin the press conference.

reporter: I'm here in Bethlehem at the town's well where everyone is
waiting for the guests of honor, Joseph, Mary, and a few others. There has been a lot of different versions as to the unusual circumstances surround this "barn baby", and these people have agreed to help set the facts straight. If you listen closely, you can hear the press buzzing disbelief about this lowly baby being the fulfillment of scripture. The guests should be arriving soon. (pause) Wait, here they come now!

Joseph, Mary (carrying baby), Inn Keeper, Simeon, Anna enter)

reporter: Welcome, esteemed collegues! We are honored you would
join us! Why don't begin with introductions? One at a time, would you each please state your name and give us a brief description of your role?

(each character should introduce himself and give a good descriptive idea as to his role)

reporter: Now that everyone is introduced, we'll begin taking

(encourage the 'press' to ask a lot of questions. Each child with a question should raise their hand and wait to be called upon. At that point, the child is to stand and introduce herself, "Hi, Simeon, I am Gracie from FUMC Beebe and I have a question….")

Suggested Questions:

  • Mary, how did you feel when you found out you would be having a baby?
  • Joseph, did you have any doubts about Mary and her story?
  • Simeon, how old did you say you were? What made you think this baby was the promised Messiah?
  • Anna, is it true that you never left the Temple? If so, what led you to believe this baby was The One?
  • Mr. Inn Keeper, if you had known this baby was special, would you have provided better arrangements?

    Remember to encourage the children to think of their own questions!

reporter: Well, Joseph, Mary, Simeon, Anna, and Mr. Inn Keeper,
thank you all for sharing your stories with us and helping us to better understand and believe in our own salvation through this special child. Mary, with your permission, I'm certain we would all like the opportunity to see this gift from God.

narrator: Well, as you can see, this has been a very special press
conference. It seems as though many people have come to believe this child is indeed special; a special gift from God to us. This child, in fact, is God in human form, whom has come to offer us salvation. What better gift is there?

director: CUT!

End of script

Reflection- ask the following questions:

  • If we could have a Press Conference with God right now what questions would you ask Him about Christmas?
  • How do you think He would respond?
  • Why do you think some people immediately knew who Jesus was and others never accepted it?
  • If this story happened today, would you believe it? Would you believe someone who told you they had seen an angel? Or that the Messiah was here?

    Additional Suggestions:
    If you have a lot of time left, show the KOTM Zion 7 News presentation


Close with prayer

Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help tidy the room. Give any specific instructions for clearing the workshop room.

A lesson written by Cissy Green from: First UMC
Beebe, Arkansas

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