Drama, Newsroom, and Puppet 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 Drama, puppets, scripts, skits, acting, newsroom, etc.


The following "NEWSROOM" Drama lesson was originally posted by member Cissy Green and moved here by Wormy.


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

Drama Workshop
Jesus' Birth - Newsroom Workshop 

Summary of Lesson Activities:
The children will hold a press conference concerning the birth of Jesus.

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'


Presentation:


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

Script:
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
questions.

(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

Closing:

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 

Original Post

 

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

Puppet Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Puppets are used to tell the story of the birth of Jesus, focusing on the experience of the shepherds and the sheep. Children make sheep puppets to take home with them.

Scripture Reference:

Luke 2: 1-21 (also Luke 1: 1-80, 2: 22-40 and Matthew 1:1 - 1:23)

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

  • Locate the book of Luke in the New Testament and identify it as the third of four Gospels.
  • Relate the story of the birth of Jesus.
  • Understand the shepherds' fear, amazement and joy.
  • Know that God's Good News truly is for all people, young and old, rich and poor, educated and not.
  • Know that Ruth and Boaz are the grandparents of King David, who is a great- great...grandfather of Jesus.

Leader Preparations:

  • Read the scripture and background materials
  • Gather the Materials

Materials List:

  • Bible time puppets
  • Halo for a puppet to be an angel (silver or gold tinsel garland works well)
  • Small doll to be baby Jesus (or something wrapped to look like a baby in a small basket to be a manger
  • Rough stable outlined at one end of the stage (make it from sticks or cardboard in an arch shape)
  • Cardboard
  • Black construction paper
  • Cotton balls
  • Craft sticks
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Glue 
  • Flipchart
  • Markers.



Presentation

 

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction

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

 

Dig- Main Content and Reflection

Background comments on the story:
It is significant that the first to hear the news of Jesus' birth directly from God's messengers were the shepherds -- dirty, smelly outsiders, despised by the orthodox followers of the law (shepherds had a hard time following the cleanliness laws out in the fields). But the Good News is truly for all people, not just the rich and clean, living in fine houses. Barclay suggests that the shepherds in this story may have been those "in charge of the flocks from which the Temple offerings were chosen. It is a lovely thought that the shepherds who look after the Temple lambs were the first to see the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." The angel's surprises continue: the proof of the truth of what the angel said is that the shepherds will find the baby born in a very lowly place. Babies are born daily! But they went to see this miraculous baby, and told everyone everything, and sang God's praises. Jesus was born as a commoner, not a king. He grew up surrounded by common people and went on to minister to and with the common people.


Early Arrival Activity: Make sheep puppets: precut 3 inch circles from cardboard. Children cover cardboard with cotton balls, add four construction paper legs and a pear-shaped head and ears. Draw a face using crayons. Tape a stick to the back and allow the glue to dry while the group hears the story. (Children should write their names on the backs and take the sheep home after class.)

Bringing the story to life: Puppetry
Group time:

Open with prayer.
Read the scripture: Luke 2: 1-21
Discuss the story before acting it out.
Characters: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, angels, shepherds, sheep, other animals, innkeeper. (If time and class size permit, add King Herod and the three wise men from Matthew to your telling of the story.)
Where did the story take place? Bethlehem and the surrounding hills.
How would you feel if you were? Mary and Joseph hearing the shepherds tell about the angel's news? The shepherds seeing a rather ordinary-looking baby (or do you think he was ordinary-looking?)?

Outline the story: list key events and phrases on the flipchart.

Warm-up or follow-up exercises: (as time permits)
Say to the students: "Close your eyes. [turn off lights in room] Imagine a hillside in the country on a cool evening. You are sitting by a fire. There are sounds of sheep sleeping and moving restlessly nearby. You have just finished dinner. You are sleepy, but watchful since you have heard that wolves have been seen in the area. You are thinking about getting up to walk around the flock to see that all is okay. Suddenly, there is a bright light!! [turn lights on] (Remember, in your world there is no electricity. The only light at night you have ever seen was some sort of fire or candle, so this bright light is really scary!) There is an angel, who tells you not to be afraid, but to listen to the Good News.

"Who do you tell?"

"Do they believe you?"
(If you were able to find the book The Legend of the Christmas Rose, this would be a good time to show the picture of the shepherds' amazed excitement when they share the news with their family.)

Take a few minutes to review puppet manipulation techniques. Have all the puppets quietly sing "Away in a Manger" together, while they rock a pretend baby, put him in bed, etc.

Assign parts and act out the story with puppets. Put the flip chart with the story outline and key phrases where the children can see it. Encourage them to be creative and use their imaginations to extend the story and to create dialog where none is written in the Bible. (What did the shepherds talk about as they walked from the fields to the stable? What did they tell their families the next morning? Did the sheep say anything?)
If time permits, discuss what might have been missing, reassign parts, and act out the story again.

Reflection:

  • How did God keep the promise to Abraham by sending Jesus?
  • I wonder why God sent the Angel to the shepherds with the Good News, instead of to important people in town?
  • The shepherds would have been considered outsiders in their community. They spent much time out in the fields with the sheep, and they weren't always clean. (Think about how hard it is to stay clean if you have ever been camping, or even spent a day outdoors.) Are there outsiders in our community? How can we invite and welcome them into our church family as the angels and God invited the shepherds to see the newborn king?
  • The army of heaven's angels sang "Glory to God in the highest heaven." How can we show glory to God? Is it enough for us to be good to one another, or does God require more?

Closing-

Closing Prayer:
Dear God,
Thank you for sending a baby who will be the shepherd of us all. Help us to follow where the good shepherd leads us. And help us to go tell everyone everywhere the Good News of his birth with the excitement of the shepherds who heard the Good News first. Amen.

Have the kids assist you in putting the room back in order before they are dismissed.


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 King James English) or look for:

  • Allan, Nicholas. Jesus' Christmas Party. 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. Clarion, 1996. (The story from an angel's point of view.)
  • Hickman, Martha Whitmore. A Baby Born in Bethlehem. Whitman, 1999.
  • Hooks, William. The Legend of the Christmas Rose. HarperCollins, 1999. (Luminous paintings illustrate this story of a little girl and her shepherd brothers traveling to Bethlehem to see the baby king.)
  • Mayper, Monica. Come and See: A Christmas Story. HarperCollins, 1999. (Smiling shepherds lead the townspeople to the stable, ending with all dancing for joy around the stable.)

 

Resources:

  • Barclay, William. The Gospel of Luke: The Daily Study Bible Series, Revised Edition. Westminster Press, 1975.
  • The Interpreter's Bible: Volume VIII: Luke and John. Abingdon Press, 1980.
  • Wehrheim, Carol. Celebrate Teachers Guide: Ages 3/4/5, Year 3. Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, 1996. Sheep pattern and instructions, page 149. (Summarized below.)

 

A lesson written by Amy Crane from: Palmetto Presbyterian Church

Tampa, Florida

Copyright 2001 Amy Crane. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included

 

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

 

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

 

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.

Scripture Reference:

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

Lesson Objectives:

  • 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

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the Scripture and Background Materials
  • Gather the materials


Materials list:

  • Costumes for shepherds, angels, and sheep
  • Camera 
  • Manger and/or special props
  • Paper pieces or tongue depressors with a number 1, 2, or 3 on them


Presentation

 

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

Lesson Plan:
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).]

Reflection:

  • 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?

Closing

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.

I created a simple drama for children to follow the event of Jesus' birth as the shepherds did. I used adults as the head shepherds and for the Angel. You could probably adapt this for other uses. We used it in Sunday School. You could video it and show it during a Christmas Eve service. All of the directions, script, and pictures are located here: https://www.kidfrugal.

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