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AdventChristmasLessonPlans-PinArt Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Teaching "Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of the Shepherds, Angelic Host, and the Stable" in Sunday School.

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Manger, Luke 2:8-20, Heavenly Host, Shepherds, Keeping Watch by Night, Glory to God in the Highest. Birth of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Nativity, Inn, etc.
Bible lessons for "Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of the Shepherds, Angelic Host, and the Stable" -with Art, craft, painting, construction,drawing, etc.


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Last edited by CreativeCarol
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"PUTZ" - Christmas Creche Scene from Moravian Tradition

Putz is from the German word putzen meaning "to decorate."   This is a take the traditional Christmas Creche also tells the story of Christ's birth.   The Putz uses carved wooden figures that are set it up upon a bed of live moss with pieces of drift wood and rocks:  Community Christmas Putz of Bethlehem, PA

[Volunteer Moderator added title and meaning]

Last edited by Catherine Curtis

"PUTZ"  - Use Legos!

Have you ever seen or made a putz?


It is a Moravian tradition of creating a scene of the Christmas story. It goes beyond a creche to create a whole landscape that could include a small Bethlehem village and the surrounding countryside.

Perhaps you could borrow from this to recreate the countryside of the shepherds.


  • Use your reference books to gather information on the shepherds--their dress, their way of life- and the geography of the Holy Land.
  • The display could be table size, use Playmobil or Lego figures for the shepherds. Find a model train enthusiest in the congregation--s/he would be an expert on building the landscape.

Speaking of Lego--you could ask for donations of Lego's from your older youth.
(You don't want Lego's that need to be returned unless they all come from one donor. Otherwise the nightmare of sorting and counting to get the right Lego's back to the right people will be a nightmare.)

  • Small groups of kids work together to recreate one scene from the story.
  • Watching flocks--angel appears--multitude of angels--shepherds go--shepherds at the manger--shepherds return.
  • Take pictures of each scene, the kids can write captions or use the scripture. each child can take home their own Lego story of the shepherds.
  • You can see Lego illustrations of bible stories at
Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

And an idea from...
Neil MacQueen
Moved Reply: November 08, 2005 01:50 AM

Shepherd Art -- 3 Bursting In's


There are 3 "bursting in's" in the story.

  • The angels do it to the shepherds, then the shepherds to the holy family, then to others "praising God."
  • So why not make the kids the shepherds and have them do the "bursting" to tell the good news.
  • One FUN way would be to pose a group in front of a large piece of paper, trace their "bursting" pose, then sponge paint bursts of color inside their tracings.
  • Above their heads you could add captions/talk bubbles (write out on separate "talk bubble" sheets just in case someone makes a mistake on the larger sheet).

Or, just glue some snowflakes and glitter on paper plates. 

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

3 Bursting In's Idea- A Success


We used Neil's art project idea with GREAT success! Did this as one of our Advent family rotations using long pieces of white newsprint with red and green sponge painting. Kids came up with some super "bursting with the Good News" comments which parents recorded in speech bubbles. Hung them on the wall in our Fellowship Hall as part of our Christmas brunch celebration decorations (for the Sunday before Christmas). Looks great!

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Originally posted by member LLL, 2003

Angel Pillow Case Project


This project could easily be adapted for Shepherd's and Angels and Stable motifs.

We did a rotation on angels last year and the craft project for that was doing a stencil of an angels and stars on to a pillow case.


We used fabric paint and our sewing ladies donated the pillow cases they made out of sheets for this project to keep the cost down.


Anyways the children really enjoyed this and my 2 younger boys have them on their pillows right now.


My older daughter donated hers (along with some other older children) to a mission. WOW talk about 2 lessons in one, this also made the older children want to do a really good job on the project.

In God’s Service,

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Modern Day Interpretation of a Nativity Scene

An interesting addition might be creating a nativity scene that includes figures in contemporary dress.

Throughout history artists have included their contemporaries in the depiction of Jesus' life. What would it look like today? For example, here is a 16th century "Adoration of the Magi in the Snow" set in a Dutch village by Peter Bruegel.  The link also includes commentary and background for leaders.

This could be done in a drawing, or with clothes pin figures, with a collage of modern scenes cut from magazines, or lots of other ways.


Last edited by Catherine Curtis

Jesus' Birth through the Eyes of the Shepherds, Angelic Host, and the Stable

Art Workshop

Shepherds And Angels: Messengers of the Covenant

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Discuss the sights and sounds of the visit of the angels, and the reaction of the shepherds. Allow students to choose from a variety of media to create a scene of their choice. [Note: 1st – 3rd graders visited this workshop.]

Scripture Reference:

Luke 2:1 and Luke 2:8-12

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Materials List:

  • Easel and appropriate marker
  • Bibles (for 3rd grade)
  • Story Bible for younger students: Read With Me Bible
  • Table covers (located in tub under small wooden table)
  • Construction paper – black or dark blue
  • A variety of art materials: Oil Pastels, Crayons, Glitter Glue, Gel Pens, Gel Markers, Colored Pencils
  • For use with oil pastels: craft sticks, toothpicks, Kleenex or Paper towel
  • Six cards with pictures that tell the story, two sets

Advanced Preparation Requirements:

  • Have materials ready to pass out. (It is best not to have them be on the tables where students will sit.)
  • Spread out the table covers.
  • Write the key Bible verse on the easel.


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Art Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance while you are starting your lesson.]

SAY: Today in our Bible story we will hear about how angels and shepherds were messengers, and we’ll talk about the news they shared. First, let’s start with prayer.

Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for sending a baby who turned out to be the guiding shepherd of us all. Help us to follow where this good shepherd leads us. And help us to go tell everyone everywhere the good news of Jesus’ birth. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.”

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:

  • What is a messenger’s job? (to deliver a message)
  • How many of you have a younger brother or sister?
  • Do you remember when your younger brother or sister was born?
  • Did you tell anyone about the birth of your brother/sister?
  • Did it feel good delivering that good news?
  • What is the good news about Jesus’ birth? (accept a few answers)

Say: Let’s go out to the Bible timeline mural and look at the pictures painted there. Let’s go see if we can see anything about good news.

Head out to the time line:
Remind students not to touch the art work.
Head towards the Creation portion of the time line.

Ask: Can anyone find one of the stories we covered since September? (Noah or Abraham & Sarah)

Say: This is what we call a “time line.” It is a way of seeing events that happened as time has passed. There are thousands of years pictured here. We can see events are listed on the bottom of the wall along with the dates of their approximate happening. [Point this out.]

Ask: Where can we find God in these pictures?
[There are lots of answers – here’s a hint: look for the color of peachy-orange. See it, for example, in creation, in the proclamation of Isaiah’s words (“unto us a son is born…"), and see it in the time line bar during Jesus’ life. The artist purposely painted this color everywhere she saw God.]

Say: Recall how I’d said we should come out here to see if we could find any good news.

Ask: Isn’t it good news to see that God has been involved in our history since the creation of the earth?

Say: It is also very good news that God is still involved in our lives.

Ask the students to find what part of the time line shows Jesus’ birth.

Head back to the classroom.

Back in the classroom:
Say: Let’s read our Bible story. We are looking for who first brought the message of the good news about Jesus’ birth.


  • Where in the Bible would we read a story about Jesus? (in the NT)
  • What are the names of the first four books of the New Testament?
  • What do we call those first four books? (the Gospels)

Say: The word Gospel means “good news.”

For 3rd grade and up:
Distribute Bibles. Have everyone find Luke 2:1 in the Bible.
Remind them of the quick way to find the New Testament. (Opening the bible in middle lands you usually in psalms. Taking just the back half and finding the middle of that, gets you to the beginning of NT.)

Ask the students if they can tell you the story. Have them check their Bibles for accuracy.

Ask: Who was the first messenger to tell the good news about Jesus’ birth? (an angel)
[If the students don’t know, ask them to follow along as you read to them Luke 2:8-12.]

Ask: What did the angel tell the shepherds?
Have the students find and read Luke 2:10. Point out that this is part of our key Bible verse. Have everyone repeat this part of the verse with you again.

For 1st and 2nd graders:
Say: We find our story in the Gospel that was written by Luke. Listen as I read you this story from a Bible story book.
Read pages 256 - 265 of the Read with Me Bible. Show the pictures as you read. [In later weeks of the Rotation, have the students tell you the story. Show the pictures to prompt the telling.

For all students:
Say: We have materials here for you each to create a picture of the shepherds and the angels or perhaps you’d rather show the shepherds visiting baby Jesus; it is your choice.

Allow the students to choose the material they would like to work with. It may be helpful to have all the students that want to use a certain medium, to sit by one another.

Some hints on working with oil pastels:

  • Experiment with line width. Create intensely colored lines by pressing hard with the side of the oil pastel. Add thin lines by lightly applying the tip to the surface of the paper.
  • Is possible to apply “layers” of color. Cover a thick layer of pastel with a layer of a second color. Scratch through the surface with a toothpick or craft stick to reveal color beneath.
  • Blend colors using a finger tip or paper towel or Kleenex.
  • Use the tip of the pastel to make a pattern of dots (stipple). Create the effects of shading by filling in areas with stipple dots.

Discussion: (while the students are working)
Say: The first messenger of the good news about Jesus’ birth was an angel.

  • What did the angel tell the shepherds? (refer to the key Bible verse)
  • How did the shepherds react? (frightened, terrified)
  • Why do you suppose they were afraid? (accept all answers)
  • What do you suppose it would have been like to have angels visit you?
  • What did the shepherds do next? (they looked for & found Jesus)
  • What did the shepherds do with this good news, did they tell others? (yes)
    [You may need to read to them Luke 2:17 or page 265 in the Read With Me Bible.]

Say: The Bible tells us that the shepherds were full of joy with their good news. Listen… Read them Luke 2:20.


  • How has the news of Jesus’ birth had an effect on you?
  • Can you think of anyone else who acts as a messenger of the good news of Jesus’ birth –not just in this story? (prophets; writers of the Gospels; Jesus’ disciples; parents, friends, teachers; us!)
  • Who is the “angel” who first told you about Jesus?
  • To whom would you like to tell this story of good news?

Extra Activities (For those who finish early)
Have students re-tell the story using a set of the story cards. Combine two sets of cards, mix them up and play a game of Concentration.

Say: On the very first Christmas God gave us Jesus; Jesus is God’s gift to us.

Ask: Why do you suppose God would give us such a gift? (accept all answers)

Say: God loves each one of us and wants to have a close relationship with each one of us. In order to help us have this relationship, God sent Jesus.
[Refer to the easel.]

Ask: Who heard the words from our key Bible verse: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”(shepherds)

Say: Ordinary shepherds doing their work of taking care of sheep heard those words.

Ask: Can we as ordinary people, hear those words this Christmas - “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

Say: Let’s say a closing prayer. “Lord, help us to remember why we are celebrating Christmas. We are celebrating Christ being here on earth! You sent Jesus because you love us. Help us remember that love as we go about our week. Amen.”


  • Crane, Amy. “Christmas through the Eyes of the Shepherds.” 2001.
  • Read With Me Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993.
  • Picture cards were created from Jesus is Born Story found at :

Why are we sending kids out to look at our timeline? Well, we are mighty proud of our timeline! It is a work of art! For pictures view the artist's website.

A lesson written by Carol Hulbert from: First UMC
Ann Arbor, MI
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all
cited references remain with this material

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by CreativeCarol

Jesus' Birth through the Eyes of the Shepherds, Angelic Host, and the Stable

Art Workshop

Summary of Activities:

Uses paper mache cones to make characters to recreate the pasture scene.

Scripture Reference:

Luke 2: 8-20 (the Shepherds and the Angels)

Lesson Objectives:

  • To find the story of the shepherds and the angels in the Bible.
  • To use imagination and creativity to recreate the pasture scene with the shepherds, angels, and sheep.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the Scripture and Background Materials
  • Gather Materials

Materials List:

  • Bibles
  • Pre-made paper maché cones about one foot high (click here for example)
  • Styrofoam balls
  • Cloth pieces of various sizes and colors
  • Yarn
  • Glue
  • Sequins, buttons, empty spools, etc.
  • Metal clothes hangers


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction

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

Dig- Main Content and Reflection

Lesson plan:
Begin the class session by looking up the story of the shepherds and the angels in Luke 2:8-20. Ask someone in the group to read the story. Take a few minutes to talk about shepherds. Shepherds:
· Were not wealthy
· Worked long hard hours
· Lived in the fields with the sheep
· Spent all their time outdoors, rain or shine
· Were sometimes old and sometimes young
· Protected their sheep from wild animals
· Made sure their sheep had enough food and water

Ask the children if they had any other idea about what shepherds were like. Take a few minutes to talk about the angels in this story. Angels in this story:
· Appeared in the heavens (sky)
· Brought good news of Christ's birth
· Said, "Do not be afraid"
· Said, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God favors."

Ask the children if they know anything else (from the story) about angels.

Divide the class into three groups. Explain to them that they will be recreating the pasture scene. The scene will require three main sets of characters. Shepherds, angels, and (of course) sheep. Each group will decorate pre-made paper maché cones (the teacher will need to have these made in advance in order to ensure they are dry for Sunday morning. Think about different shapes and sizes for the different characters) to create the appropriate characters for the story (ask each group to chose one character to begin with, adding another if time allows). Encourage creativity.

Use Styrofoam balls for heads, sequins, buttons, & yarn for eyes, nose and mouth, fabric for robes and wings, hangers for arms and (sheep) legs, and cotton balls and yarn for sheep hair.

This link will show some inspiration pieces that are Magi.


Close with a prayer.

Allow 5-10 minutes for clean up.

Display finished angels, shepherds and sheep in a public place during this Christmas rotation.

TIP from member "HilaryS":
Use plastic pop bottles as the bodies, adding a Styrofoam ball for the head. Varying the sizes of bottles will add variety to the pastoral scene for this lesson set.

TIP from member "Jcarey":
The plastic bottles get weighted down with rice in them. Cone shapes can be easily made from poster board or even try something like transparencies that will hold up better and both ideas are less work than paper mache. I have done the poster board ones and I remember I had to cut them slightly curved on the base and then they were stapled.  Here is an example.

A lesson written by St. Elmo's Choir, a rotation writer's group,

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Catherine Curtis
That time line is AWESOME! We have created six banners (which represent the six parts of scripture) due to not being given permission to paint the walls (yet). Our's were also done by a professional artist and are pretty amazing but i like yours as well! 
Originally Posted by CreativeCarol:
  • Why are we sending kids out to look at our timeline? Well, we are mighty proud of our time line! It is a work of art! For pictures view the artist's web site.


Last edited by Luanne Payne

My favorite Christmas craft: tongue depressor & clothes pinsNativity-1Nativity-2


These were made at the church bazaar activity center where time is more forgiving than Sunday morning and the adults like to make one, too, so there's lots of help -- is a tongue depressor and clothes pin craft of the Nativity scene.

We also had a treasured dad who pre-cut the clothes pins to the proper size. I love the rustic look of this. Somehow it's more authentic as a craft. But the ONLY work to be done here is hot glue -- which I don't like using with children without lots of adult supervision.

The angel's wings and lamb's legs are the ends of clothes pins. This craft uses both flat and round clothes pins. The 3rd photo shows the inside of the base where a whole flat clothes pin is used to stabilize the whole thing. It works wonderfully well. Last thought -- this sits on a table, rather than hanging on the tree. I like spreading the ornaments around!



Images (3)
  • Nativity-1
  • Nativity-2
  • Nativity-3
Last edited by Catherine Curtis

I like it too, Anne. Something "rustic" about clothespins. 

Glue always seems to be a problem due to time constraints and use by kids. Also don't like the fact that cheap glue dries out and projects fall apart. 

Several years ago I was helping glue projects in an Art Workshop with a hot glue gun that a teacher had brought from home. Was calling myself "The Glue Man," until the glue gun stopped heating.    Purchased two new glue guns for the church that next week 

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

We will be making snow globes as part of our Shepherds and Angels rotation this year, getting the kids to dress up as either angels or shepherds and then taking photos of them posing in front of a dark backdrop (blue or black sheet) with some fairy lights as the stars at the top. They will be dressed in the nativity costumes we already have. The photos will be laminated and then placed into jars with grated PVC pipe (for the snow) and a bit of glycerin so the snow falls gently when the jar is shaken. There are instructions on the internet if you want to see photos or step by step, just google "DIY photo snow globe" and you will have heaps to choose from.  Here is one example.

Last edited by Catherine Curtis

Here's a screenshot of the 3-part ornament project created by the Writing Team for its "Jesus is Born" Art Workshop lesson. Rather than glue guns, the project uses gold bead wire to quickly assemble the project with no drying time.


Full instructions with lesson wrapped around it in the Team's "Jesus is Born!" Art Lesson. Includes explanation of what the beads represent in the Luke story.


Images (1)
  • WT-Art-JesusisBorn
Last edited by CreativeCarol
Lynn C Wood posted:

Have you ever seen or made a putz?

It is a Moravian tradition of creating a scene of the Christmas story. It goes beyond a creche to create a whole landscape that could include a small Bethlehem village and the surrounding countryside.

Perhaps you could borrow from this to recreate the countryside of the shepherds.

Check out this website to see how to build the nativity.

Last edited by CreativeCarol

These angel crafts are great for lessons where the emphasis is making multiples of the Christmas ornament or decoration so that after the lesson, the children can be like the angels and share the GOOD NEWS with lots of people as they gift them an ornament. Most are the sort of craft that can be done by all ages, including preschoolers.

This paper angel from has a free printable (print it on cardstock) and can be embellished with stick-on jewels and stickers (because everyone knows angels are "shiny").


This angel craft from MessForLess is made with a peg clothespin, a coffee filter, and LOTS of GLITTER, and is particularly preschool-friendly.


Here is an another angel from made with paper fans.


Here is a fun paper plate angel from; you can put out assorted craft supplies and let the children get creative in their decorating the simple angel shape!


And finally, here is a toddler-friendly stained glass angel made using tissue paper and clear contact paper.


As you begin your group time, ask the children if anyone has ever shared good news with them. Maybe a favorite team won a ball game, an aunt is going to have a baby, you got a puppy, or you won a ribbon in an art show. Do you feel excited? Happy? Do you want to tell everyone you see?

Tell the children you have good news that you can’t wait to tell them.  Then, whisper in the ear of the child next to you, “Jesus is born!” and ask him or her to start passing the message around the circle; have each child whisper in his neighbor’s ears. Have the last person in the circle share the Good News message with all.

Read the passage from the Bible, Luke 2:8-18, or share the story from your favorite picture Bible.

Make angel ornaments. No matter which angel craft you choose, as the children work, recall how surprised the shepherds must have been to see the angels. Wonder together about what the angels said and did. What did the shepherds do after they saw the angels?

ASK: Who will you give your angel to and tell the Good News? (If time permits, have each child make two angels: one to keep and one-or more-to give.)


Images (5)
  • kid-made-angel-ornament
  • RedTedArtAngelPrintable
  • StainedGlassAngel
  • RedTedArtFanAngel
  • paper-plate-angel-preschool-Christmas-fairy-decoration9117787212
Last edited by Amy Crane

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