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This thread is for posting workshop lesson plans and ideas for ALL workshops related to the stories of Simeon and Anna.

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Editor's Note:

The story of Simeon and Anna is not usually covered in Sunday School by Rotation Model churches, ...which explains the lack of material here.

Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of Simeon & Anna

Drama and/or Photography Workshop

The Incarnation: God Keeps His Promises

Scripture Reference:

Luke 2:1-40

Lesson Objectives:

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

  • Identify Luke as one of the four books known as the Gospels and locate it in the New Testament.
  • Relate that "Gospel" means "Good News."
  • Relate the story of the birth of Jesus and identify each character.
  • Identify Simeon and Anna as prophets who waited in the temple to see the promised Messiah.
  • Begin to understand our trust in one true God who keeps His promises to His people.
  • Experience some of the feelings and emotions of all involved with the birth of Jesus.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the Materials

Materials List:

  • Bible-time costumes
  • Sheep cut out from posterboard
  • Doll (Baby Jesus)
  • Shepherd crooks
  • Angel wings
  • Halos (gold or silver tinsel work well)
  • Flip chart
  • Digital camera [alternate option if digital pictures not used: Polaroid camera and film to fit it]
  • Posterboard
  • Photo mounting tape or corners
  • Markers.


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction

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

Background comments on the story:

  • Read also Luke 1 and Matthew 1-2. Note that the Luke account does not include the wise men or Herod.
  • God's message is given to all: lowly shepherds, Gentiles (2: 32).
  • Mary and Joseph's actions in the Temple in Jerusalem fulfilled the requirements of Jewish law (Luke 2: 39); Jesus grew up participating in and following the laws given by God to Moses, even though as an adult he often acted in opposition to the law.
  • Jesus fulfilled God's promise of salvation, as noted by both Simeon and Anna. Simeon declares who Jesus is and foreshadows what he will do. Note that Jesus drew no attention from the Temple officials, only two pious people in the Temple.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection

Take time to talk with the students about their Holiday plans for travel and visitors. Talk about Holiday excitement and anticipation: not only about hoped-for gifts but also about gifts to be given to others. If anyone has (or will have) a new baby in the family, ask them to share their feelings of expectation.

Bringing the story to life: Photo tableaus

Read the scripture: Luke 2: 22-40

This is a familiar story, spread out over two Gospels. Do not read or tell the entire story, but do review the highlights of Luke 2:1-40.

Characters: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, Angel, army of angels, shepherds, innkeeper, Simeon, Anna

Where did the story take place? road to Bethlehem, stable, sheep field, Temple in Jerusalem

Talk about Simeon and Anna.
How would you feel if you were Mary, Joseph, innkeeper, shepherds, Simeon when he sees Jesus, Anna when she sees Jesus, Mary and Joseph's reaction to everything?

Outline key scenes and key phrases from the story on the flip chart. Select from the list on the flipchart approximately six scenes that will tell the story. These will be photographed. Possible scenes are:

1) Birth of Jesus
2) Innkeeper
3) Angels/Shepherds
4) Shepherds/Manger
5) Temple/family with Simeon
6) Temple/family with Anna

Warm-up exercises: Before class: write the names of the characters in the story on slips of paper (depending on the number of people in the class, some names may be used more than once). Have each child draw the name of a person in the story. Divide the class into pairs. Each child should work with his or her partner to decide what each partner's character would say and do when they first heard about Jesus or saw Jesus.

Assign parts and run through the scenes listed on the flipchart, deciding where to stop the action to form a tableau that will tell the story without words. (If different people will have the same part in different pictures, make sure the character is always wearing the same costume.) Work on facial expressions that "say something," since the pictures will be silent. After the class is happy with the selected scenes, run through it again and take the pictures.

If you are using a digital camera and doing this as a two week lesson or have a computer at home: use the program that came with the digital camera to add captions to each picture. Print a copy of the book for each member of the class and one for the classroom or church library.

If using one week lesson/Polaroid photo option: Mount the photos on posterboard and write meaningful captions for each one. Make sure to list the participants' names. Hang the poster in the hallway for everyone to enjoy.

Pulling it all together:

  1. What did God do to bring [the people] back to the covenant? (Belonging to God: a First Catechism (PCUSA) question # 21)
    Although God judged the people when they sinned, God still loved them and remained faithful to them. God sent them prophets to speak God's word. God gave them priests to make sacrifices for their sins. God called kings to protect the needy and guarantee justice. At last God promised to send the Messiah.
  2. Was Jesus just another human being? (Belonging to God: a First Catechism (PCUSA) question #24)
    No. Although he was truly human, he was also God with us. As someone who was truly human, he could share all our sorrows. Yet because he was truly God, he could save us from all our sins.
  3. Discuss "Gospel" = "good news." The shepherds certainly heard Gospel. (Luke 2: 10: "But the angel said to them, ‘Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all people.'" What good news is there in our life? Can we share it as the shepherds did?
  4. What promise did God make to Simeon? Did He keep it?
  5. What do we know about Anna? (She was an old prophetess, a person who proclaims a message from God.)
  6. What promises of God can you think of? (God promised to Noah that there would be no more floods; God promised to bless Abraham and make him the father of a great nation; God promised to always care for His people; God promised He would save His people; God promised Simeon and Anna they would see the promised Messiah before they died ...)
  7. I wonder how Simeon and Anna knew to go to the Temple at the right time and knew Jesus was the baby they were looking for?
  8. "Mary remembered all these things and thought deeply about them." (Luke 2:19. Also 2:33.) What do you think Mary thought?


Have the children assist in putting everything away and then end with a prayer.

Closing prayer: Father: Send your Spirit upon us, so that we too may see your salvation. Thank you for your promises to us, especially your promise of salvation at Easter through your son born at Christmas. Help us to keep sight of this promised salvation throughout this hectic season. Amen.

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 those written in King James English).

  • dePaola, Tomie. Mary, The Mother of Jesus. New York: Holiday House, 1995. (Scripture and legend woven together; includes Simeon and Anna episode.)
  • Heyer, Carol. The Christmas Story. Nashville: Ideals, 1991. (Includes the Simeon and Anna episode.)
  • L'Engle, Madeleine. The Glorious Impossible. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990. (The life of Jesus illustrated by Giotto's frescoes; includes Simeon and Anna episode.)

Other Christmas books (don't include Simeon and Anna)

  • Ganari, Anita. The Story of Christmas. (Photos show children in costumes acting out the story.)
  • Mayper, Monica. Come and See: A Christmas Story. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. (Smiling shepherds lead the townspeople to the stable, ending with all dancing for joy around the stable.)
  • Allan, Nicholas. Jesus' Christmas Party. New York: 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. New York: Clarion, 1996. (The story from an angel's point of view.)

A lesson written by Amy Crane from: Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church
Tampa, FL

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
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Videos which include stories of Simeon & Anna

Simeon & Anna (includes both)

1) DVD - "The King is Born" by Nest Entertainment (animated)
    -- Chapter 2 - Waiting for the Messiah   
       Opens with Simeon's vigil at the temple and women with him is Anna (2:06 - 2:59).
    -- Chapter 10 - Joseph & Mary Go to the Temple.  
       Where they meet both Simeon & Anna (16:38 - 18:04)
    -- Activity Book that comes with DVD    
       Pg. 25 - Coloring Page of Simeon & Anna (Anna's holdling baby Jesus)

2) YOU TUBE - "Rock Children's Ministry" - Kid's Sermon "Waiting on Baby Jesus".
     All about Simeon and Anna - excellent! (8:37 mins).  You'll need internet access in your
     movie room as it's not downloadable.

Simeon (only)

1) DVD "Jesus" (or "The Jesus Film") starring Brain Deacon (drama).  Luke's Version.
        -- Chapter 1 at 3:36 - 4:22 (you only see Simeon).

2) DVD "The Promise - Birth of the Messiah", an animated musical, 2013, Glorious Films,
        602537531837 or 602547008695.  45 minutes.

Attention Supporting Members - A The Promise Video Guide can be found here in our Bible Video Resource Forum (for Supporting Members).

Below are Chapter Breakdown & Questions, created by Luanne Payne, relating to Simeon in "The Promise - Birth of the Messiah DVD to assist you with lesson planning.

Chapter 1 -  How Long O'Lord (0:00 - 1:50)

Opens with Simeon in the tabernacle offering incense and singing to the Lord that he is waiting for the Lord's promise.  Good view looking down inside of tabernacle - altar of incense, show bread table, and golden candlestick(s).

Chapter 2 - Cry of the People (1:51 - 5:20)

(1:51 - 4:10) Pans through city as you hear, in song, the different perspectives on the promise of a messiah via priests, an Israelite prisoner, towns people, and a Roman guard.
(4:10 - 5:20) Simeon preaching in a home reading from a scroll - Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."  Then he sings that the Lord has promised him that he will not die before he behold's Lord's salvation.

Chapter 11 - Simeon's Blessing (38:21 - 40:10)

Simeon is standing outside the temple and takes Jesus from Joseph.  Simeon's song covers the scripture Luke 2:28 - 35.

Chapter Timing & possible Questions

Simeon - In The Temple

START (00:00)           (Ref:  Chapter 1 -  How Long O'Lord - 0:00 - 1:50)
Have one of the children read it out loud.
PAUSE (01:40) after Simeon opens the temple doors

  1. What was the man carrying in the bowl?
  2. What does he do with the bowl of incense and why?
    He places it on the altar as an offering to God.
  3. Who is this man?
    A Priest named Simeon.
  4. What building is Simeon in and what city is it found in?
    Simeon is in the temple in the city of Jerusalem
  5. Jerusalem is found in Judea and the King of Judea was who?
    King Herod
  6. Simeon is praying to God to free his people, the Israelites, from the cruelty of the Roman Empire and their puppet King, Herod, by sending “The Promised One” to Simeon before he dies.  Who is the “Promised One” Simeon’s waiting for?

Note:  if you’re focusing your story of Simeon I would pause inside the temple  (at 1:24 ) and go over all the items the children can spot in the temple and what their names and uses are: Curtain (Veil); Altar of Incense; Table of Shew bread; & Golden Candles.  Then you can pause again in Chapter 10 (Simeon’s Blessing) for the Bronze Basin, and Altar of Sacrifice.

The People – When Will The Messiah Come?

PLAY          (Ref:  Chapter 2 - Cry of the People - 1:51 - 5:20)
PAUSE (04:10)  When the song “When will the Messiah Come” is finished

  1. How are the Israelites treated by the Romans?
  2. Does everyone believe that God will send a saviour?

Simeon - Preaching

PAUSE (05:20)  after Simeon finishes singing
Have children look up Isaiah 7:14 in their bibles.  Select one child to read it.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (NIV)

Jesus Presented at the Temple (Simeon)

PLAY                      (Ref:  Chapter 11– Simeon’s Blessing - 38:21 – 40:10)
PAUSE (40:10)  as family goes down temple steps and when screen blanks for a moment

  1. How do you think Simeon, the priest, knew that the baby was Jesus, the one he’d been waiting for?
    the Holy Spirit would have shown him
  2. Simeon told Mary some amazing things about Jesus, some good, some bad?  Let’s listen to Simon’s words again.  (Back up to Mary & Joseph meeting Simeon).  Play it again.  Luke 2:28-35

    My dear, I fear a sword will pierce right through your soul so that the hearts of men will be exposed.

  3. What do we know happens to Jesus that full-fills Simeon's prophecy?
    When Mary sees Jesus on the Cross, and a soldier stabs Jesus’ in the side, Mary would feel like the sword pierced her very soul.  That man would show their true hearts towards Jesus, those that would love him and those that would hate him.

Below is background information by Rev. Lon Vining (Glorious Films) used with permission.



We may not think of it in these terms, but those who dedicate their whole lives to God are in a partnership with the Almighty. The righteous man Simeon in our story is a great example. Simeon is the one to whom God made the promise that he would not die before seeing the promised Messiah (Luke 2:21ff).

The little we know about Simeon shows ample evidence of his fruitful partnership with God. He was “righteous,” meaning he aligned his life with the law and character of God; he is faithful, evidenced by believing God’s promise to him; and he was on mission with God, meaning that he was anticipating the arrival of the Messiah and he announced his arrival to others when he came.  Simeon is God’s partner on the earth because he knew, believed and acted in concert with God and God’s purposes.

Jesus’ Dedication in the Temple

In addition, Exodus 13:1-2, 12-16 indicate that the consecration (dedication) of the firstborn of the animals, and in particular, the sons, was to be a reminder to Israel of its great debt to the LORD, delivering them from slavery in Egypt. It is also likely tied to the Passover covenant in which the Hebrews' firstborns were spared from death by following the LORD's commandments concerning the Passover lamb. Thus, the firstborns were "the LORD's" because, without Him, they would not even exist - He had bought them and delivered them from death, and slavery. Firstborn sons can be thought of as a type of first fruits, or tithe, owed to the LORD, that had to be redeemed (bought).

Temple Presentation

The ordinance was designed to be a memory aide for Israel's adults and children, to remind them of the salvation wrought by the LORD from slavery in Egypt. (Lev. 13:16)

It is appropriate that the ultimate Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, would be dedicated at the temple. Though he was redeemed from death (i.e., he did not have to die), he chose to offer himself in order that the sins of his people might be "passed over" and delivered from death and from "the house of slavery".

Rev. Lon Vining (Glorious Films) other character bios from the movie are found here.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

This video contains a short, cookie based object lesson and an animated version of the story of Anna and Simeon. Enjoy!

Bible images copyright Kirsty McAllister from Lamp Bible Pictures used with permission:

Music is licensed by Digital Juice.

Last edited by Meghantoo

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