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"Kneeling in Bethlehem", by Anne Weems, Westminster John Knox Press, 1987


This is a book of Christmas poems by Ann Weems. One of her poems asks Why do we put Joseph at the back of the stable? --referring to our cultural tendency to put him at the back of the creche. The book is widely available.

You could read through the poem and discuss it. Give children a chance to arrange a creche the way they think it should be. Then dress in costumes and arrange themselves along the lines of that plan. Take a picture.

For art, check out some art books from the library that have famous pictures of the holy family. How do the artists depict Joseph? old/young? handsome/ugly? Ask the children to imagine what Joseph might have been like. Paint or sculpt a picture of Joseph using the art media of your choosing.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer


  • Joseph Father and Son: A Nativity Story, by McCaughrean, Geraldine (Author), Negrin, Fabian (Illustrator), Hyperion Books for Children, Hardcover, 2006.
    Author Geraldine McCaughrean imagines how Joseph might have felt on that first night with his very special son. Ages 4-8. 32 pages.
  • Joseph's Christmas Story, Arch Book Series, Concordia, 2002, Paperback,
    This book retells the Christmas story from the viewpoint of Joseph (Matthew 1:18-24; Luke 2:1-30). Ages 5-9. 16 pages.
  • The Indescribable Gift, by Richard Exley, New Leaf Press, 2002, Hardcover.
    Have you ever closed your eyes and imagined you were actually there the night Jesus was born? Based on Matthew and Luke's Gospels, The Indescribable Gift views the Christmas story through the eyes of the people who took part: Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, shepherds, and wise men. Richard Exley's vivid vignettes and Phil Boatwright's vibrant illustrations are sure to make this gorgeous gift book a treasured family heirloom. 112 pages. Each section looks to be too long to read to the children, but included this as you may be able to shorten Joseph's story for retelling.
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Fear Not, Joseph


A new book in 2008, 32 pages and very true to text.
Fear Not, Joseph

by Julie Stiegemeyer from Concordia Pub, 2008, 


Scripture offers little about the man who married Mary and reared Jesus, but Joseph was key to God's promise to send a Savior. Jesus was not his biological son, but God made Joseph His adopted father, the provider and caretaker of Mary, and our Savior, Jesus.

"This picture book inspired by Scripture tells the story of Christmas from Joseph's point of view."

I'm particularly fond of books that help us approach adoption.

Anne Camp

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Twilight Zone Drama


Orignally posted by Neil MacQueen.

A Note about the "Twilight Zone" nature of this drama:
This drama idea can be used for many other characters too
, BUT the key is that you only have ONE character in the skit (other than the teacher's character) and ALL the kids are dressed like that ONE character. So for example, you could have a room full of Mary's. You wouldn't have a room full of shepherds because that's not funny. I've done a version of this drama with a room full of Moses' (Mosi?) and a room full of Sarah's all laughing at the same time (the guys enjoy getting to play the women, btw). Now you know why I call this concept the "Twilight Zone". 

This lesson also illustrates how you get the kids "in character" and begin to provide them with the CONTENT that they can ad-lib back to you during the drama, RATHER than using a script. They will think they're helping you create "cue cards" but you will actually be leading a discussion. 

A Twilight Zone Joseph Drama Workshop


  • where all the kids are Jesus' Dad and have plenty to say.

This drama ends with a reflection using the song "Joseph's Lullaby" by Mercy Me.

In this workshop, each student gets to make and wear a grey beard (and take it home). That right there is lesson GOLD (or silver?). They loved that.

The beard is cut out of 'fun fur' and is worn by tieing an elastic strap to the fur. It has a hole for their lips. It's ridiculous, and the kids love it. Buy a couple of grey costume wigs (el-cheapo online), or have bandanas or grey cloth for their heads. Finish dressing your "Josephs" by giving each a robe out of your costume locker, and a piece of wood (he was a carpenter, after all).

The teacher at this point should dress like an "angel reporter" and from here on in, act as if you ARE the angel who appeared to Joseph in his dream. The more you stay in character, the more fun and pointed the lesson will be.

Next, in costume, have them practice speaking like a carpenter in a deep gruff voice. This will warm up the kids and get them into character. Give them lines to repeat during the warmup, like: "Give me that board", and "What in the World is God up to?" and..."I suppose Jesus will be ordering me around as soon as he discovers he's the Messiah."

Matthew 1:18-25
Pass around the Bibles and have the kids read the story Joseph and the Angel using their best Joseph voices. Stop to ask Joseph a question or two, such as, "Joseph, how did you know it was an angel?" "How did you know it was God talking to you?" Let various Joseph's answer. As the angel, the teacher can counterpoint and offer his/her point of view.

Next, have the kids help you write out ANSWERS to several questions you have posted on the flipchart. These will be used a cue-cards and discussion starters. (This is the learning and life application step)

1. How do you think Joseph was going to tell Mary and Mary's family that he no longer wanted to marry her?

2. What was Joseph's initial reaction to the dream of an angel?

3. What kind of doubts might Joseph have had about this whole thing?

4. What was going through Joseph's mind when he was told he had to take his wife on a donkey 35 miles to Bethlehem?

5. What did Joseph think about there being no room at the inn? How did he calm down Mary?

6. What did Joseph probably say when the shepherd/Magi showed up?

7. Imagine Joseph praying to God as he watched Jesus become a toddler. What would Joseph have been WORRIED about?

8. What ADVICE would Joseph give to people today about allowing their lives to be led by God? ...even if God asks hard things?

9. What ADVICE would Joseph give to Christians today about the BEST PART of the Birth of Jesus story? and what his son means for the world?



Our Angelic Reporter enters "The Twilight Zone" where there is a room full of "Josephs" all milling around. The angel reporter has a microphone and the whole thing is being videotaped. The reporter seems dumbfounded by all the Joes, but the Joes don't seem to think anything is wrong.

The reporter interviews the crowd of Josephs who are milling around with their wood. Different kids step forward to answer some questions, and the reporter can ask the same questions of various Josephs. It's the Twilight Zone, afterall.

The Angel Reporter asks questions from the flipchart and various Joes answer. Encourage AD-LIBBING. Trip over a few Jesus baby toys, for example. Throw some curveballs: "So tell me Joseph, do you change Jesus' diapers?" Does he like to spit his food?

It ends with a lot of hammering of wood as the Joseph's work together to try to make a bicycle for Jesus.

Hope you like this lesson sketch. It really depends on having the TEACHER being the REPORTER, and having a good sense of humor.

FINISH by using the song described below.

We originally did this with our older kids on a Wednesday evening fellowhship, and we let them take their beards home. Several of them wore the beards out into the hall, and the younger kids clamored to do it too, so we had them in there the next week.

We had the little kids finish by singing a Joseph Song that we had made up to the tune of --I don't remember the song but seeing all those Joe's singing it was worth the price of admission.

I've since heard Mercy Me's "Joseph's Lullaby" and recommend it for listening, and maybe even singing along (you can see it on YOUTUBE).

Locate the lyrics online and discuss them with your Josephs.

<>< Neil

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

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