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This thread is for posting misc ideas and lesson resources about the Luke 2 stories of the Shepherds and Angels that don't fit neatly into the other thread topics in this forum.

If your post is workshop specific, post it under the workshop topic it best matches.

Also check out the following in 'Jewish Roots/Practices, Maccabees, and related "other" biblical lessons' forum for the post titled Shepherd's Foods and Sheep/Veterinary practices in Bible times.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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Christmas - A Light In the Darkness

Summary:  Focus for this rotation is more the idea of "a light in the darkness" than shepherds' point of view.


  • Art (snowglobe)
  • Cooking (cake baked in a Christmas tin)
  • Computer (Fluffy: Prophets). 
    Click here Christmas 4, for LDM's above three lessons.

Editor's Notes:
During a forum renovation we saved LDM's note below. They may seem more in context when you look at her lessons which she stores at her own volunteer created website.
The Fluffy software is FREE to supporting members, Learn more here!

Study Notes:

Beloved lines from Luke immortalized by Charlie Brown
Linus actually. Treat yourself. Get the video or tape it off the tube and watch it one more time!

Seriously, Charles Schultz’s dunderhead character who can’t even pick out a decent tree is perfectly in keeping with the long line of loveable underdogs that populate this story. Take for example the shepherds. Not exactly the most upscale, scholarly or refined folk to receive the incredible message of the angels. But receive it they did, then immediately sailed off to check out this fantastic report. Who better to discover the Prince of Peace resting in a humble manger.

Bleak Midwinter.
This idyllic account of the Christmas story relies on its at times obscured, gloomy context in order for the profound hopefulness of its impact to be appreciated. In a 1971 Advent sermon called 'The Leap in the Dark, in "Northrop Frye on Religion," the Canadian writer and scholar points out:
"When Luke begins his account of the Nativity with a decree by Augustus that all the world should be taxed, we should realize that such a decree fell with a crushing weight on the poor that we can hardly conceive of today... Blood, terror, misery, humiliation were just as much an inseparable part of that first Christmas as Bangla Desh and Cambodia are an inseparable part of this one...

"Once we accept the identity of God with man, the principle that God works in man only under the limitations of the human situation and that diversity in man is to be associated with suffering and endurance rather than prosperity — once we accept this, it is all over with the benevolent Providence who showers goodies on his beloved middle class and will get around to the less fortunate parts of mankind somewhat later... That God is dead, except, of course, that he never was alive."

[The closing paragraphs of this piece are awesome. Try to find a copy and read to the end yourself!]

Hear a Clip
of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter.’ Canadian singer-songwriter Jane Sibbery includes this song (lyrics by Christina Rossetti, music by Gustav Holst) on Jane’s strange and wonderful collection of ‘hymns of earth’ on her 2003 release, Shushan the Palace. Click here for lyrics:

Awesome Art
As you might well imagine, scores of artists have produced phenomenal pieces based on the Nativity story. Here are just a few links to some terrific pictures.

Click here for William Blake: William Blake

Here for Chagall: .

And here for Goya (‘The Holy Family"): .

Questions for Discussion

  1. Can you think of some reasons why shepherds would be the perfect audience for angels announcing the birth of the Christ child?
  2. Why would the shepherds have been greatly afraid of these angels?
  3. What was so special about the things the shepherds later said that Mary pondered them in her heart?
  4. Explain this phrase in your own words: "the principle that God works in man only under the limitations of the human situation." How absolute is the word "only" in this phrase?
  5. What in your mind represents the dark context that the Christmas story might cast a ray of hope over this year?
  6. Can you think of some way you personally can help with or lighten this dark context?


Last edited by Luanne Payne

Who are "shepherds" in our world today?

An idea for costuming, a skit, making a collage.

Today's shepherds come in many uniforms, shapes, and sizes. Not all of them are involved in sharing the Gospel, but many are doing God's protecting/healing/nurturing work (whether they realize it's God's work or not!).

Synonyms for shepherd include: Protect, guide, heal, show, teach, oversee, steer, lead, usher, keep safe, caretaker, instruct, mentor, nurture.


Some possible connections and discussion starters...

  • Who else could be in this picture of shepherds today?  How about children protecting/guiding a fellow student? How about children welcoming and sharing the good news in Sunday School?
  • How do children "shepherd" each other? (What would that look and sound like?)
  • Who shepherds, steers, protects, instructs for YOU? How do you honor them and act like them?
  • "First Responders" are people who are prepared to help others. How are you prepared to help others in need? Are you ready to jump in when you see a need at school or do you stand back?
  • When a new kid arrives in your class or Sunday School, how to you respond to them, shepherd them?  ("Hospitality" is a biblical value, including being hospitable to strangers and those in need).
  • Who first responded to you -- by telling YOU the Good News?
  • How are you a "responder" to people in need of help and in need of hearing the Good News?

For a Drama Workshop
, you could use costumes and take photos of "shepherds today" at the manger, or shepherds guiding friends/children, responding to a person in need. Standing up to a bully, etc.

In a Game Workshop, you could have the kids act out or draw a type of "shepherd today" in pantomime or pictionary-like game and have the other kids guess.


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  • Luke.2.Shepherds.Today.Rotation
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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