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Video, A-V Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Teaching "Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, & - or Zechariah" in Sunday School.

Post your Sunday School video, A-V lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for "Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, &-or Zechariah" here.

Mary Magnifies, Magnificat, Ponders, Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Song of Joy, Zechariah, Luke 1:26-56, Luke 2:1-20, Jesus' birth, etc. Bible lessons for "Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, & - or Zechariah" -with video, audio-visual, movie, videotape, animated Bible, etc.

The Writing Team's "Jesus is Born!" lesson set is open to all! Matthew 1:18-25 (Angel's Announcement to Joseph) and Luke 2:1-7 (Decree, Journey to Bethlehem, and Birth). Free registration is required to view the Writing Team's Jesus is Born lesson plans --if you are not already a Registered or Supporting Member.

In addition to all our public lesson ideas, the Writing Team has written a wonderful set of lessons for Supporting Members titled: "Mary Accepts, Magnifies, and Ponders." The set includes extra creative Art, Video, Game, Drama Workshop lesson plans (and more). Everyone can view its lesson summaries and Bible background.

A Video Workshop Lesson Plan

The Announcement of Jesus' Birth by the Angel to Mary

Written by Jan Marshall from Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Brentwood, TN

Summary of Lesson Activity:
View scenes from the DVD  "Jesus of Nazareth" (Artisan Home Entertainment) and "The King is Born" (Nest Entertainment).

Scripture Reference:
Luke 1:26-55 & Luke 2:1-20

Memory Verse: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed." Luke 1:46b-48

Lesson Objectives:
In this workshop, the learners will view two versions of the announcement to Mary and one version of the birth story. They will compare these two, plus compare the videos with the Bible story in Luke.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the Bible passages. The story will be read from the NRSV Bible this month.
  • Read over the background material included in your teacher packet.
  • The DVD should be in the player, cued to scene 5.
  • See that popcorn is popped.

Materials List:

  • NRSV Bibles
  • DVD “Jesus of Nazareth,” cued to scene 5
  • DVD “The King is Born"
  • Activity sheets
  • Crayons
  • Pencils


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction

Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.

Dig- Main Content and Reflection

Lesson Plan:

1. Tell the children that you will be reading the birth story from the gospel of Luke, beginning with the announcement to Mary and continuing through the birth scene. Tell them to listen carefully so they can remember what is read in this version of the birth story.

2. From the NRSV Bible, read Luke 1:26-55, then Luke 2:1-20. Following the reading, remind them that the memory verse is the first part of the poem of Mary. Recite the memory verse together.

3. Tell the children that the class will be watching two versions of the announcement to Mary and one version of the birth story, basically the Luke story. Tell them to watch carefully for elements they recall from your reading of the story and especially to watch for elements in the video that were not in today’s reading. They should also watch for differences in the two video versions shown today.

4. Pass out the popcorn and start the DVD (scene 5 only). Stop the DVD after the scene in Mary’s house (when the scene moves to the marketplace.)

5. Talk about this scene for a few minutes. Ask:

  • How did the messenger appear?
  • What was Mary’s initial reaction to the messenger?
  • Why do you think no one else, even us, could hear the messenger?
  • What was Mary’s final response to the messenger’s news?
  • What would your reaction be if you received a message from God?

6. Now watch "The King is Born" DVD. Stop it when the star appears in the sky following the birth and the visit from the shepherds. It should be about 15 minutes long.

7. Talk about this video. Ask:

  • How was the birth announcement scene different in the two videos?
  • How were they the same? (Refer to the questions in #5 above to compare these scenes.)
  • What were some elements that appeared in the video that were not in the story? (Some that could be mentioned: the Jerusalem scene and the Herod scene; Joseph and the angel; riding on a donkey; animals in the stable; the term “swaddling clothes” as opposed to “bands of cloth.” There could also be others. Some might even mention not seeing the kings or wise men that visited Jesus. This part of the story is in the Matthew version of the birth story.)
  • Was there anything you heard in the story that was not portrayed in the videos? (Mary’s poem, The Magnificat, isn’t spoken in the animated video. It is in the DVD, but we did not show it today. If they are interested in viewing it, it is in Scene 7 of the DVD. There may be others mentioned here, too.)
  • Why do you think the videos are different from each other and from the story found in Luke? (Each person tells a story using his or her own impressions and images. Plus, each person tells a story to a particular audience and gives importance to the parts of the story that might be important to that audience. We each remember the parts of the story that have meaning for us.)

8. Feel free to let the children continue discussing the story as portrayed in the Bible and the two videos. Many things might come up as differences in impressions of the story, such as why angels are portrayed differently (some are actually scary beings), why rooms in Bethlehem were so hard to find, what the stable might have looked like, was the place that Jesus was born actually pretty “yucky” with all those animals there, etc.) You should wrap up any discussion by about 10:20 to be able to continue and complete the lesson.

The Spirit of God is not contained in boundaries. God acts in the world in new and fresh ways. God’s kingdom, proclaimed to ordinary people through the birth of Jesus, is a kingdom of inclusion.

Remind the children that the birth story is contained in two books of the Bible—Matthew and Luke—and they tell different parts of the whole story. Today we read the story from Luke only, but most videos, including both we saw today, contain parts of the story from both books.

Show the children the activity pages available. Let them pick those they would like to color, and let them begin coloring in class. They can take them with them, to worship and then home, to help them remember our story today.

Close with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
Loving God, we thank you for faithful people like Mary and Joseph and for the gift of your son, Jesus. Like Mary, we are blessed by this gift. Help us to be a blessing to others as we share the good news of his birth and continue his work. Amen.

DVD “Jesus of Nazareth”, Artisan Home Entertainment.
Video “The King is Born”, Nest Entertainment.

Last edited by Dena K
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Jesus' Birth through the Eyes of Mary & Elizabeth
Video Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activity:

A VIDEO Workshop using the DVD "Jesus of Nazareth", this lesson also include listening to and examining the lyrics in Amy Grant's "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)"

Scripture Reference:

Luke 1:39-56

Memory Verse: Luke 1:49b-50 (TEV) “God’s name is holy. He always shows mercy to everyone who worships him.”

Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will hear the story of Elizabeth and Mary in two versions – scripture and the movie and watch for differences—to try to help the children begin in a small way to not always take what is published or produced as exactly what the Bible says but to learn to dig deeper into scripture and find out for themselves.
  • Students will read/hear “Mary’s poem” or “The Magnificat” from the Bible.
  • Students will listen to various arrangements of “Magnificat” music ranging from the contemporary to the classical—to try to emphasize that the Bible is God’s Word to us and to show that God’s Word inspires others to glorify God in their own way.
  • To show the children that we are all called to serve God – men and women, boys and girls, young and old. Even though we're weak, flawed and totally unable, God chooses to use us to carry out His plan.

Leader Preparation:

  • Watch the Video to get familiar with the material
  • Read the scripture and background materials
  • Gather the materials

Materials List:

  • Jesus of Nazareth (Part 1) movie
  • Bibles – one for each student
  • Copy of “The Magnificat” – one for each student
  • CD player
  • CD with “Magnificat” songs on – provided
  • Journals
  • Pencils


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction

Greet the children. “Today we are going to be learning about two very special women in the New Testament. One is an old woman named Elizabeth and the other is a very young woman named Mary. Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist and Mary was, of course, the mother of Jesus. Even though they were different ages, they both had babies about the same time. John was about six months older than Jesus.”

Opening Prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing us together today. Help us to learn more about you from your Word, the Bible. Amen”

Dig- Main Content and Reflection
Read the story from the Bible: Luke 1:26-45 TEV. Let those who can read, help with the scripture.

Say: “Now we are going to watch the same story in a movie called “Jesus of Nazareth”. “Watch for differences in what the Bible tells us and what the movie says!”

Start the movie about three minutes in and end at about 22 minutes in when Elizabeth kisses Mary on the forehead before she returns to Joseph.

“Did anyone notice any differences between what the Bible says and what the movie says?”

Differences that I caught: (Maybe you can add more to this)

  • I believe that in the Bible it is implied that Mary sees the angel Gabriel – in the movie it was only a bright light.
  • There is no mention of Mary’s mother being anywhere in the Bible.
  • According to the scripture, Mary went home before John was born.

“We have to be careful when we watch a movie or read a book about stories in the Bible. Many times there are things in the movies or other stories that are not in the Bible. It’s not wrong to watch movies, listen to songs, or read stories about people in the Bible, but we also must read the Bible ourselves because the Bible is God’s Word and one way we get to know Him better.”


  1. Was Mary a really young girl or was Elizabeth the young girl? Mary was the young girl and Elizabeth was very old.
  2. Do women today have babies when the are old? No
  3. How do you think it was possible for Elizabeth to have a baby even though she was old? It was God’s plan for her and her husband Zechariah to have a son and God made it possible.
  4. Is there anything God can’t do? No (for this age group it is probably best that things are left at this. God, however, cannot sin.)
  5. How did the baby John know that Jesus was the Messiah even before either were born? The baby John lept in his mother’s tummy when Mary entered the room. He knew even before he was born that there was something very special about the baby Mary was going to have.
  6. Who was the Messiah? Jesus
  7. Why is Jesus so important? He is the Son of God and He came to earth so that when we all die we will be in heaven with Him.

Elizabeth was a very old mother and Mary was a very young mother. Both of these mothers served God in a very, very special way. It doesn’t matter in God’s eyes if we are young or if we are old; rich or poor, big or little, God still uses each and every one of us to carry out His special plan. In God’s eyes we are all special.

PART II of the Lesson...The Magnificat

We only read part of the story in the Bible of Mary and Elizabeth. I have a copy of a poem that Mary said after Elizabeth told her about the baby John jumping in her tummy with gladness. Let’s read this poem (if they are able) together. You can take a copy home with you today to share with your family.

Read the poem together (Mary's Song of Joy from Luke, aka "the Magnificat")

Just as the poem “The Magnificat” was Mary’s way of rejoicing and singing praises to God, many other people have used this beautiful poem and turned it into music that can be sang and played to show how much we love our God and to sing praises to Him.

The following song by Amy Grant is a beautiful song but does not have much the same words as the Bible says. The songwriter and singer, Amy Grant, wrote the song and it beautifully captures the feelings that Mary must have felt as she awaited the coming of her son and Savior. The sense of wonder and humility are communicated in the words as well as the music. (5.29 minutes)

Editor's Note:
"Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)" was originally published on Amy Grant's "Home for Christmas" CD. There are several YOUTUBE CLIPS of it to preview it online.

I have traveled many moonless night
Cold and weary, with a babe inside
And I wonder what I've done
Holy Father, you have come
And chosen me now To carry your son

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now Be with me now

Breath of heaven Hold me together
Be forever near me Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven Light up my darkness
Pour over me your holiness For you are holy
Breath of heaven

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place
But I offer all I am For the mercy of your plan
Help me be strong Help me be Help me


Breath of heaven Breath of heaven Breath of heaven

What do you suppose Amy Grant means by the line:

a. I am frightened by the load I bear

b. In a world as cold as stone,
    Must I walk this path alone?

c. "Breath of Heaven"


End the class with a simple prayer before dismissal.

A lesson written by Augustana Lutheran Church
St. James, MN

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Dena K

A Video Suggestion moved here from a previous post.

"Mary, Mother of Jesus" by (Hallmark Home Entertainment, 2001)

This made-for-tv movie stars a young Christian Bale as Jesus and "Anakin Skywalker's mom" as Mary.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

DVD:  "The Story of Advent"

From: Speed Sketch Bible Stories Series, Wesleyan Publishing House, 2014, DVD,ISBN: 9780898279856.

There are four narrated story "speed sketches" on this DVD. (Speed sketches are "video-accelerated illustrations.") The four stories include The annunciation and Mary's response of love (Luke 1:26-38).

See this post for more details, and the review post below it, which recommends it use only as a possible opening activity.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

“The Birth of John the Baptist” in the New Superbook Series

Available on DVD, Online at Superbook's site, and on YouTube

Screenshot: Gabriel appears to Zechariah in the Temple to announce the coming birth of John the Baptist. The children visit Elizabeth and welcome the baby John.


Full storyline: Phoebe is babysitting 2 year-old CHARLIE for her friend, Mrs. Peterson. Joy has a hard time with the tyke and she doesn’t want to help take care of him – “No way. Not now. Not ever!” Superbook appears and takes Chris, Joy, Gizmo AND Charlie to meet Elizabeth and witness the birth of John the Baptist (Animated - approx. 28 mins)

See review and helps for the "New Superbook" DVD Series. It includes navigational helps for Superbook's messy website.

To find the individual episode clips taken from The Birth of John the Baptist video:

1. Go to

You will be required to register. It's free.

2. Click on the "EPISODES" selector button at the top under ALL VIDEOS (see below).

3. Scroll down to episode listing for Birth of John and click an episode to open it in their online video player.

Note: When you go back after the video ends, you will likely have to click "Episode Clips" all over again.



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DVD - “The First Christmas: The Birth of Jesus” (New Superbook Series)

Commercial Christmas mayhem is reigning supreme in the Quantum household. After Chris offhandedly remarks that the family nativity scene is just another decoration like a reindeer or Santa's elves, Superbook whisks off our heroes on a journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas!  Lesson:  The True Meaning of Christmas - God's Promise is Fulfilled! (Animated - approx. 28 mins)

[Touches on the Wise Men, Mary & Joseph on the road to Bethlehem each retell their heavenly experience, Shepherds and Angels, Birth of Jesus.]

See reviews of the "New Superbook" DVD Series for more details on this series link.

Supporting Members: The Writing Team used this lesson in their Shepherds and Angels Video Workshop. But, Luanne also put together a full video outline, see it here.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

DVD ` "The Nativity"  (New Line Cinema)

Here's a lesson sketch with suggested cue points and questions for different sections of the Nativity Story, -the 2006 live actor movie. This movie was well-received by critics. It features a realistic retelling of the story.

Originally posted by Julie Burton

Before showing the movie...

Hold up a card with the word "accept" on it.

Ask: Do you know what this word is? What does it mean? What is something we might "accept?"

Repeat with two other words: "magnify" and "ponder."

If using sheets of newsprint, reveal the definition after they have guessed it. Tape the newsprint or poster board sheets around the room.

Tell the group that they might be wondering why we're having a vocabulary lesson before a video! I'll tell you why. Mary, the mother of Jesus, had something amazing happen to her. She was given some special news that meant her life was about to change forever. It was news that she would have to accept, that would magnify, and that she would ponder for a long time. We are going to watch some scenes from the movie "The Nativity Story" and see how this would happen, but let's read our scripture passage first.

Show the Movie....

Cue up Chapter 3 (about 4 minutes). Begin with "Nazareth"; stop at "those who have nothing?"

Ask: How would you describe Mary? Playful? Obedient?

Cue up Chapter 7 (about 2 minutes): Mary is sitting under a tree. Stop at Mary watching the bird fly away.

Ask: It seems like just the wind was blowing, but it was the angel coming to her. Do you think she was afraid? I wonder why the angel flew off as a dove? Was she accepting of the angel's message? Does that match our word definition?

Cue up Chapter 8 (about 4 minutes): Mary visits Elizabeth; stop with them hugging.

Ask: What was Elizabeth's reaction to seeing Mary? Mary's prayer is called "The Magnificat." In this passage, she is magnifying what the angel told her. Does that go with our word definition?

If desired, you may choose to play all the way through Chapter 7 and 8, end with them hugging.

Cue up Chapter 18 and play through 19 (about 5 minutes): "Finding Shelter" and "Birth of Jesus."

Say: Mary and Joseph are in a hurry to find someplace for Jesus to be born. What do you think they are feeling? When the shepherds arrive to worship Jesus, I wonder what Joseph and Mary are thinking? Was Mary pondering the message from the angel? Did Jesus' birth happen as the angel told her?



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2 free video clips of Zechariah's story

  1. Zechariah (John's Father) being told by Gabriel in the Temple that Elizabeth would bear a son.
  2. Zechariah names his son John and prophesies his role as the one to announce the Messiah.

Both clips were posted on YouTube by the publisher in full HD. They are from the terrific 45-minute animated musical, "The Promise - Birth of the Messiah." 2013 by Glorious Films.

The Promise

The Promise character bios provided by Glorious Films, viewable to all, are found here for Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Zechariah.

The Promise is used in the following Writing Team's Lesson Sets: (Supporting Members access only)

  1. "Mary Accepts, Magnifies, Ponders and you should too!" Video Workshop link.
  2. "Jesus is Born!" (Joseph focus) Video Workshop link.

The Promise complete DVD Guide, created by Luanne Payne, can be found in the Supporting Members access only "Bible Video Guide" forum link.


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