A Banner making lesson for
teaching the story of Jesus' Birth, through the eyes of Joseph

Matthew 1:1-24; 2:13-15, 19-23; Luke 2:1-7

Key/Memory Verse -- Matthew 1:21 – “She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Summary:

Children will explore the character of Joseph and create a banner about him. They are going to decorate strips of cloth with symbols and words that describe Joseph. Then they will weave the strips together to form a banner. The cloth strips are like the bands of cloth that were used to wrap Jesus when he was a baby (swaddling cloths).

To weave the cloth into a banner, you will need to create a "weaving warp" out of yarn on a large table. See instructions below. You will weave strips of cloth in and out of the yarn, then attach the yarn to two dowel rods.

Materials and Preparation

  • Bibles
  • Dowel, 40” (3/8” – 5/8” diameter)
  • Muslin cloth (heavy thread count) in mutliple colors and textures suitable for cutting, decorating and writing on. Cut fabric into various strip widths between 2" and 3".
  • Materials to decorate/draw/write on the fabric:  quick drying paint pens, markers. gel pens, glitter, puff paints, etc.
  • Quick stick-on decorations, such as rhinestones, stars.
  • Markers for newsprint pad or white board
  • Scissors
  • Masking Tape
  • Various colors of thick yarn cut into lengths to form the "weaving warp." See instructions below.


Create the weaving warp:
To weave the cloth into a banner, you will need to create a "weaving warp" out of yarn. You will weave strips of cloth in and out of the yarn. The warp is the strands of yarn evenly spaced and fastened down on either end so they don't move during weaving of the strips. After weaving, you will take the taped ends and tie them to the dowel rods for hanging.

On a large table, TAPE the top of the first piece of yarn to the top of a table (flat surface) or a door. Repeat with the bottom of the yarn section, forming a vertical line. Repeat with the remaining yarn pieces, spacing each piece of yarn about 1.5 to 2 inches apart to desired width of banner. Be sure to have an even number of yarn strands. This creates the warp of the weaving.


Lesson Plan

Open – Introduction

Welcome the children and tell them that today they will be learning more about Joseph, Jesus' earthly father, and creating a special banner that describes him.

Say: Our story this month is about Jesus' birth. Some of you have heard this story before. This month we will focus on the story from Joseph's point of view. What must it have been like to be Jesus' earthly father? Did Joseph know who Jesus really was? How did he feel to be the father of the Messiah? Was he worried about being a good enough dad to Jesus?

Study

The teacher should lead the class through the following exploration of the story. Brainstorm for 1-2 minutes with the children about the birth of Jesus. Write down their responses on a newsprint pad or a white board. Leave the list visible during the class.

Distribute Bibles or ask the children to use their own. Help the children locate Luke 2:1-7 in the Bibles. Tell them you will ask them what the verses teach us about Joseph. Read as the children follow along or assign readers. 

What do we learn about Joseph from these verses? (He lived in Nazareth and went to Bethlehem; he was from the line of David; he was engaged to Mary.)

Say: There are other verses that tell us a little more about Joseph. Let's find some of those verses now. ASSIGN children to look up the following verses and report back what they learned about Joseph. For younger children, simply explain what the Scripture references say without having the children find the verses.

  1. Matthew 1:19a - Joseph was a godly man. He was kind and treated Mary gently in her time of need.
  2. Matthew 1:20-21 - Joseph was visited by an angel.
  3. Matthew 1:20 - Joseph was a "son of David" (Comes from King David's family line.)
  4. Matthew 1:24 - Joseph obeyed the angel.
  5. Matthew 1:2-16 - (genealogy) from line of David (for older children only)
  6. Matthew 2:13-15 - Joseph had another dream and took his family to Egypt to escape King Herod.
  7. Matthew 13:55 - Joseph was a carpenter.
  8. Luke 2:22-24, 41, 42 - Joseph was a faithful Israelite and followed all the Temple ordinances.


Notes: We learn from the Bible that Joseph was a faithful man. His name in Hebrew means, "the Lord shall add children." He was kind and caring toward Mary and Jesus. He listened to and obeyed God. He was a carpenter and taught Jesus to be a carpenter, too. He was a good earthly father to Jesus. Many Bible scholars believe Joseph died when Jesus was a young man, because we don't hear about Joseph after Jesus is twelve.

Ask: Are there symbols we can draw in addition to these words that will describe Joseph? (Heart, praying hands, carpentry tools, angel). Write the list on the newsprint pad or the white board.

Now let's think about what it might have been like for Joseph to be Jesus' earthly dad. Did Joseph know who Jesus was? (Yes, the angel explained to him in his dream.) I wonder what it might have been like for Joseph to have this responsibility -- to be the earthly father of the Messiah? I wonder what ran through his mind when the angel spoke to him….

Have students suggest MORE symbols that might represent the ideas you just covered, and draw these on the flipchart.

Weave a Joseph Banner

Creating the strips for weaving

Say: We are going to decorate strips of cloth with symbols and words that describe Joseph. Then we will weave the strips together to form a banner. The cloth strips are like the bands of cloth that were used to wrap Jesus when he was a baby (swaddling cloths).

Use different colors of muslin, and have student decorate them using stick-on beads/rhinestones, paint pens, and quick drying gel pens or markers. You may choose to use other drawing materials, just keep in mind that the writing/illustrations need a few minutes to DRY before weaving with them.  Remind students to use little and work quickly. Have a fan or hair-dryer to speed drying.

Tip:  Tape the ends of the cloth to the table using masking tape, pulling the cloth taut (this makes drawing/writing on the fabric easier).

Weaving the Strips:

Demonstrate how to weave the muslin strips over and under the yarn strips. Pull the strip through so it is centered with equal overhang at each side. (This is the weft.) Leave several inches at the top of the weaving to be used to tie off the banner later.

Have the children take turns weaving their strips onto the banner. Alternate each strip to create a basket-weave pattern -- first strip begins with an over weave, next strip begins with an under weave. Continue until all strips have been woven onto the warp.

Securing the Weaving:

Cut the bottom pieces of yarn (or untape). Tie the first two pieces of yarn together in a square knot. Repeat with the next two strands of yarn and repeat until all the yarn ends are knotted. This will form a fringe at the bottom of the banner. Trim fringe to desired length.

Cut the top pieces of yarn (or untape). Repeat the process of tying off the yarn strips, about 1 inch above the banner body to allow for the dowel.

If desired, repeat with the sides of the banner, tying the first two muslin strips together and so on down both sides of the banner.

To Hang Banner:
Slide the dowel through the open areas below the knots and above the weaving body of the banner. Cut a 1-yard section of yarn and tie each end to the end of the banner to make a hanger.

Reflect

Gather the children around the completed banner (or the strips if they have not been woven yet). Review the different words and symbols on the muslin strips. Review the key verse with the children. Review with the children one idea or concept they learned during the day's lesson. Ask for prayer requests and close in prayer.

Written by Jaymie Derden for Rotation.org

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

Middle School Adaptation Notes from member Liz Toombs

This workshop would be fine for the Middle Schooler. Depending on the group you can add a challenge such as using the new information on Joseph to make their banner like a completed Crossword or mosaic of Joseph - each piece being woved in a manner that spells things about Joseph or each strip in one area makes a symbol for carpenter like a saw.

You could do this over two lesson periods this way:  use WHITE cloth, decorate, and then "tie-dye."  Ring out, let dry, then weave.


Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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