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Video, A-V Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Teaching "Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of the Shepherds, Angelic Host, and the Stable" in Sunday School.

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Manger, Luke 2:8-20, Heavenly Host, Shepherds, Keeping Watch by Night, Glory to God in the Highest. Birth of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Nativity, Inn, etc.
Bible lessons for "Jesus' Birth Through the Eyes of the Shepherds, Angelic Host, and the Stable" -with video, audio-visual, movie, video-tape, animated Bible, etc.

There are many videos suggested in this thread. Here's one suggested by member Luanne, who also happens to be a terrific resource finder!

DVD - "Little Shepherd" Vision Video 2002, 25 min.  $5 on Vision Video's website. 

Wolves have been seen in the fields around Bethlehem, and the shepherds are nervous. When angels suddenly appear with glorious news, everyone rushes to town to see if it's true! But Joel and his lamb fall behind---left alone to face great danger. Laugh at sister Sarah's practical jokes. Watch Grandfather plant the seeds of faith, and witness the transforming power of hope and love.   See a preview on Vision Video's website.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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DVD - "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

I've written a Shepherds/Angels Video Workshop lesson plan over in the General Birth Stories Video Workshop Forum

It used the " A Charlie Brown Christmas" video which features LINUS famously quoting the story of the shepherds receiving the good news from the angelic hosts. This video is recommended by others in this forum as well.

The lesson talks about the "real meaning" of Christmas, and about how Linus and Charlie are the shepherds and the angels.

In my lesson, I also share the story of how CBS almost didn't air the Christmas special because of its religious conclusion. This become a point of discussion with the kids, as it relates to a certain Messiah's birth that people didn't expect would happen or do well either!

Several people have posted the video as their recommended choice, and I have them to thank for calling my attention to this video's potential. I hope my addition of the story about Charles Schulz and CBS' near cancellation of the special helps your lesson take wings.

<>< Neil

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Jesus' Birth through the Eyes of the Shepherds, Angelic Host, and the Stable

Video Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activity:
Uses the DVD "Christmas Is." Available on the "Three Christmas Classics" DVD.  It does not appear that you can buy it alone on a DVD.

Description: Little Benji isn't thrilled being second shepherd in the school Christmas play, until a dream carries him---along with your kids!---back to Bethlehem. There they discover how important the second shepherd actually was, and what Christmas is really all about. 22 minutes.

Scripture Reference:
Luke 2: 8-20

Key verse for this lesson:
Luke 2:11, “This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord.” (CEV)

Lesson Objectives:

  • Children will view the video “Christmas Is”
  • Children will discuss the importance of the poor shepherds in bringing the message of the birth of Jesus to the world.
  • Older children will discuss the birth of Jesus as the fulfillment of ancient prophecy.

Leader Preparation:

  • Watch the Video ahead of time
  • Read the background Materials
  • Make the popcorn

Materials List:

  • "Christmas Is" DVD
  • Popcorn

Lesson Plan


  1. Greet the children and introduce yourself
  2. Tell the children that today they will be watching a video about a boy who didn’t want to be a shepherd in the Christmas play. We will talk about what happened to the shepherds and how we can be like them.
  3. Distribute the popcorn


  1. Give a brief outline of the video. Benji is a boy in a Christmas play. He is to be a shepherd in the Christmas play but he thinks that isn’t a very important role. Then a strange thing happens. In a dream, Benji goes back in time 2000 years to the night that Jesus was born. He learns how important the poor shepherds were in bringing God’s message to us about the birth of Jesus.
  2. Show the video. It’s about 22 minutes long. Cue the video to the beginning of the rehearsal scene.


  1. Stop the video just as Benji is going back in time. Remind the children that Benji is dreaming or thinking about the night of Jesus’ birth. The story goes back in time to the time of Jesus’ birth. All of Judea, Jesus’ country, had been captured by the Romans. The Roman Empire in those days was bigger and more powerful than the United States today. The Roman soldiers were the police and the government. The Jewish people had to do what the Roman soldiers told them and pay their taxes to the Roman government. Imagine if the United States was taken over by another country, if we had no say in the government and if we had to pay our taxes to another country. How would we feel? The people were very poor. Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth but had to go to Bethlehem so that the government could count them and make sure they paid their taxes. The trip was about 80 miles. They had to walk it and Mary was about to have a baby.
  2. Roll the tape to the end.
  3. Discussion: recap the main events of the story with the children. What did Benji learn about the role of the shepherds? How did Benji act like a modern day shepherd? (he told his friend to come and see the play) What does this story tell us about how to be a good shepherd?

    What does the word Messiah (Hebrew)/Christ(Greek) mean? (anointed or chosen one)

    Older Children: Discuss how the Old Testament books, written many years before Jesus was born, told about the birth of a Messiah or Savior. The Jewish people knew about this prediction or prophecy (refer to the scene in the video when the Jewish people in the inn were discussing this). Many Jewish people expected that the Savior would be born into a powerful royal family and kick out all the soldiers and people from foreign countries and lead the Jewish people to magnificent victory. They did not expect the Savior to be born into a poor family in a poor barn.

    Look up one of these predictions in Micah 5:2-5. Micah was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. See how it talks about the birth of a great ruler. Verse 2: Ephrathah is a district where Bethlehem is located. Who is the “ruler”? (Jesus). The ancient line refers to a descendent of King David. Bethlehem is the City of David. Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem because they belonged to the “line” or the family of David and so would the baby Jesus. Can you see how the Jews might have expected Jesus to be a great king, to be born to important people? Jesus is a great king but in a different way.

    Look at another prediction of Jesus’ birth. Ask half the class to look up Isaiah 9:6. Ask the other half to read Luke 2:11. Isaiah was written about 700 years BEFORE Jesus was born. Read the Isaiah verse, then the Luke verse. The Luke verse describes what the angels tell the Shepherds. Discuss the similarities between the two passages. Discuss how Jesus’ birth is the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a “Savior”; a “prince of peace” – God’s royalty!

Reflection Time:
Ask younger children to draw a picture of shepherds or how the sky might have looked filled with angels. Ask older children to describe how they could be good shepherds today.

Prayer: Prepare a 4 or 5 sentence prayer with one sentence per slip of paper. Number the slips 1-5. Ask for volunteers to help with the prayer. Give a slip to each volunteer. Suggestions for prayer sentences: Thank you God for keeping the promise of long ago to send the Savior of the world, a prince of peace. Thank you for the poor shepherds who brought this great message to the world. Thank you God for sending us Jesus. Help me to be a shepherd and share the good news of Christ.

Family Films Video – Christmas Is, distributed by Gateway Films/Vision Video

A lesson from: Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church, Cary, NC

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Jesus' Birth through the Eyes of the Shepherds, Angelic Host, and the Stable

Video Workshop 

Summary of Lesson Activity:

View the DVD, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Discuss who are messengers of the good news. [Note: 4th – 6th graders visited this workshop.]

Scripture Reference:

Luke 2:11-12

Lesson Objectives:

Children will learn about the birth of Jesus from the point of view of the shepherds.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture for this lesson.
  • Gather the materials.

Materials List:

  • White board and appropriate marker
  • Bibles
  • TV/DVD
  • Snack items: goldfish crackers, paper cups, napkins, water pitcher
  • A copy of the Arch Book: The Baby Born in a Stable
  • DVD: A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965. Total viewing time: 10 ½ minutes.

Advanced Preparation Requirements:

  • Write page numbers in the Arch book, starting with the title page as page 1.
  • In the kitchen, fill a pitcher with ice and water.
  • Prepare snack by pouring Goldfish crackers into cups. (Probably 1/2 full is good.)
  • Start the DVD, choosing “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Then choose “Play.” PAUSE when the snowy scene/music starts. Leave the DVD at this setting.
  • Make sure you know how to use the TV/DVD, especially how to move by chapters and scanning forward and backward within a chapter.
  • Write the key Bible verse on the whiteboard.


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the video workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

[Note: The Shepherd will quietly take attendance, etc. while you are starting your lesson.]

Say: Let’s begin with prayer. Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear Lord, thank you for making sure that we all know the good news of your son Jesus. Thank you for the angels’ message to all people who would listen. As we learn more about Jesus, help us to have open minds, hearts, and ears. May we never be afraid to share the good news with others. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.”

Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Say: I would like to show you the very beginning of our video.

Press PLAY.
VIEW scene of about 1 minute, 45 seconds.
PAUSE after Linus says, “ You’re the Charlie Browniest.”
[The PAUSE button is one of the most powerful tools in your workshop. Don’t be afraid to use it!]

Ask: How many of you have seen this video before?

SCAN FORWARD to where Lucy is sitting at her “Psychiatric Help” booth and she turns the sign over that says that the “Doctor is Real In” (at 4:46).
Press PLAY.
VIEW scene of about 1 minute 35 seconds.
PAUSE after Lucy says, “You need involvement; you need to get involved in some real Christmas project.”
Ask: Why do you think Charlie Brown is depressed about Christmas?
Say: It appears that Charlie Brown is searching for the true meaning of Christmas; beyond trees and presents.
Ask: What do you suppose people mean when they talk about the “true meaning” of Christmas? (accept all answers)

Say: Let’s turn to our Bible.
Ask: Where would we find a story about the birth of Jesus? (in the NT)
In which Gospel? (Matthew and Luke tell about the story of Jesus’ birth)

Say: This Rotation we are focusing on the story of Jesus’ birth from the point of view of the shepherds and the angels. The shepherds and angels story is only found in the Gospel of Luke.

Distribute Bibles.

Ask: By the way, what does the word Gospel mean? (good news)
What good news does the Gospel tell us? (about the birth of Jesus – that he was sent to us to be the Messiah, or Savior, of all people)
Do you suppose that this good news is the true meaning of Christmas that Charlie Brown is looking for in our video?

Find Luke, chapter 2, verse 1. [Remind them of the quick way to find the New Testament: Opening the bible in middle lands you usually in psalms. Taking just the back half and finding the middle of that, gets you to the beginning of NT.]

Say: Let’s see how much of the story of Jesus’ birth we know.
Help the children quickly recount the story using their Bibles for reference. Show them the pictures in the Arch book, The Baby Born in a Stable, asking them what happens next. Tell them that this book tells the story according to Luke.
Show pages: 2-3, 6-7, and 8 (pointing out the stable in back on page 8).

Say: These are the Bibles that you have been given when you were in 3rd grade. One of the features of these Bibles, are the notes that appear in them. There’s a note about the stable; let’s take a look at it.

Have a student read the “Life in Bible Times” about the stable.
Say: That’s an interesting side note.

Continue asking what happened next in the story by showing pages 12-13, and 14-15 of the Arch Book, The Baby Born in a Stable.
Ask: When the angel appeared to the shepherds, what did the angel say about Jesus?
[If necessary refer to Luke 2:11 – a Savior, Christ the Lord.]

Ask: What do you suppose it was like to be a shepherd?
Has anyone ever been camping?
Is it easy to stay clean when you are camping? (no)

Say: In Bible times shepherds were people who were looked down on. Since they lived like they were camping, they weren’t always clean; they probably smelled like sheep.

Ask: Why did God choose shepherds as the first to hear about the good news of Jesus’ birth?
Why do you suppose God told shepherds and not the “important” people in town?

Say: I wonder if God choose shepherds to be the first to hear the good news because they were considered lowly people. God chose to tell the shepherds first, as a sign that God’s gift of his son Jesus was for everyone – those who are young and old, rich and poor, educated and not.

Have everyone find Luke, chapter 2, verse 11.
Ask a student to read verses 11 and 12. Point out that this is the key verse for this lesson. [Refer to the white board.]
Have everyone repeat the key Bible verse together.

Say: In this video Charlie Brown is looking for the true meaning of Christmas – the key verse is very important in his search! He is going to be directing a play based on the story of Luke that we just told. As we watch some more of the video, listen for the spot when one of the characters says this Bible verse.

Show more of the Video:
Have the Shepherd distribute the snack.

Press PLAY.
VIEW scene of about 1 minute, 30 seconds.
PAUSE when Charlie Brown walks away from Snoopy’s doghouse.

Ask: How are Lucy and Snoopy looking at Christmas? (commercialized, the glitz)

Press PLAY.
View scene of about 1 minute.
PAUSE after Sally says, “All I want is my fair share!”

Ask: Why is Charlie Brown so upset with Sally’s letter to Santa? (she seems to only want money and gifts for Christmas)
What does Christmas seem to mean to Sally? (all the presents that Santa will bring)
Have you heard the key Bible verse yet? (no)

Use the controls (MENU, SCENE SELECTION) to advance to the chapter entitled “The Perfect Tree.” Then SCAN BACKWARD to the scene where Charlie Brown has his head resting on the director’s chair (at 15:30).

Press PLAY.
View scene of about 2 minutes.
PAUSE after Charlie Brown picks up the small tree.

Say: If you recall, Charlie Brown is frustrated with the other children because they don’t seem to want to focus on their play. He thinks it will help to have a Christmas tree.
Ask: What do you think of the tree that he picks out?
Say: That tree sort of relates to our story…it is lowly-looking just like our shepherds were considered lowly; yet it is the tree that gets picked. Let’s return to our Bible story.

Ask: What happened after the one angel told the shepherds about the “good news of great joy that will be for all the people?” (a multitude of angels appeared)
[If necessary, show pages 16 and 17 of the Arch Book, The Baby Born in a Stable or Luke 2:13]

Say: Imagine the shepherds amazement when all of a sudden, the skies lit up and there was a great company of the heavenly hosts – a fancy way of saying a large bunch of angels – singing and praising God.

Ask: How do you think the shepherds felt? (scared and awestruck at the same time)
How would you have felt if you had been there?
What did the shepherds do next? (went to find Jesus)
[If necessary show pgs 18-19 and 20-21 from The Baby Born in a Stable or refer to Luke 2:15-16.]

SCAN FORWARD to Charlie Brown bringing the tree into the auditorium.
Press PLAY.
View scene of about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
PAUSE after Charlie Brown picks up the tree and walks out.

Ask: Did everyone catch when Linus read our key Bible verse?
[If kids did not hear it, SCAN BACKWARDS and RE-PLAY that part. Showing parts of videos over again is a good way to reinforce a lesson point.]

Say: Good news of great joy for all the people… Back in the days of Jesus they didn’t have TV’s or computers or radios or even newspapers.
Ask: How do you suppose other people found out about Jesus’ birth? (by people telling other people)

Read pages 24 and 25 of the Arch Book, The Baby Born in a Stable.

Say: It is certain that the shepherds shared their experience with others over the years. It is doubtful that the story would have made it into the Bible if it had never been repeated.


  • Who told Charlie Brown the good news? (Linus)
  • Who was the “angel” who first told you about Jesus?
  • Who are the messengers today of God’s good news? [Possible answers: friends or relatives or teachers, books, sermons, videos, etc.]
  • Do you suppose that you can be a messenger of God’s good news?
  • How do you suppose this could happen?
    [Possible answers: by talking to people about Jesus, by acting as Jesus taught us – loving our neighbor. If possible, share an experience from your life of a time when you were a messenger.]

Say: This week, be watchful as the shepherds were, who viewed in amazement as the angels sang around them. Be on the look out for opportunities you have to act as a messenger of God’s good news.

If you have extra time:
Using the key verse written on the white board, have everyone read the key verse. Then ask a student to erase one word. Then have everyone read the verse filling in the missing word. Have students take turns erasing words, each time reading the verse aloud as a group. You may consider that each time you read the verse you say it in a different way – whispering, while standing on one foot, slowly, quickly, etc.

You also could watch the remainder of the video – there are 3 minutes and 30 seconds left of playing time.


A lesson written by Carol Hulbert from: First UMC
Ann Arbor, MI

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:
Hulbert,Carol. "Shepherds And Angels: Messengers of the Covenant – Video Workshop." Dec. 2007. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Jesus' Birth through the Eyes of the Shepherds, Angelic Host, and the Stable

Audio-Visual Workshop


Summary of Activities: 

Uses Hannah-Barbera's "The Nativity" DVD.


Scripture Reference:


Luke 2: 8-20 (the Shepherds and the Angels)


Lesson Objectives:

  1. To familiarize children with the story of Christ's birth through an animated adaptation of the Biblical story.
  2. To explore details about the story and understand their importance to the story.
  3. To think about what the story meant for those involved as well as what it means for us today.

Leader Preparation:

  • Watch the movie ahead of time to better answer any question.
  • Read the scripture and background materials
  • Obtain the DVD

Materials List:

  • DVD player and television (or video projector and screen)
  • Hanna-Barbera's "The Nativity" from "The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible Series", Hanna Barbera Productions. 30 minute video.

Advanced Preparation Requirements:

  • Set up the room for a movie viewing
  • Make the popcorn



Opening and Lesson Introductions

Greet the children and introduce yourself and your helpers. Pass out the Popcorn.


Dig- Main Content and Reflection

Lesson Plan:
Explain that this is a cartoon version of the story of Jesus' birth that we find in the New Testament books of Matthew and Luke. The story of Jesus' birth is seen through the eyes of three young visitors from the 20th Century.

For children 3rd grade and above distribute the following questions for them to consider during the film (for younger children, discuss the questions following the film):

  1. How did Mary and Joseph take the news that Mary was going to be the mother of the son of God?
  2. What were the three wise kings following? Why?
  3. How does Herod help the kings? What does Herod do that is not helpful?
  4. What city did many people expect the new king to be born in? Why?
  5. What city is Jesus born in? Why?
  6. How did the shepherds hear the news?
  7. How did they react?
  8. What did they do after they had heard the news?
  9. What did having a new king mean to the people of Israel?
  10. What does the new king mean to us?
  11. How can we best celebrate the birth of Christ?

After the film discuss the above questions (deal with questions at appropriate learning levels for children). Have children answer as many questions as possible.




Ask the kids if they have any questions and then close with a prayer.


A lesson written by St. Elmo's Choir, rotation writers group.


A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by CreativeCarol

"The Promise - Birth of the Messiah" DVD by Glorious Films

"The Promise - Birth of the Messiah", an animated musical, Glorious Films, 2013, 602537531837.  45 minutes. 

Bible backgrounds on Angels and Gabriel, written for the movie "The Promise" can be found here at

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

Scenes relating to the Shepherds can be found below from Chapter 10 - includes a Summary & Timing/Questions:

Chapter 10 - Glory to God (32:36 - 38:21) 

Shepherds & Angels


(32:36 - 33:40)  Mary & Joseph settle in the stable.  The birth (just hear the baby cry).

(33:40 - 38:19)  Shepherds & Angels.  Gabriel makes annoucement to shepherds.  Angels sing Glory to God.  Search and finding the baby Jesus.  Shepherds spreading the word to everyone throughout the city.


(38:19) on close-up of baby Jesus in Mary’s arms        


  1. How would you have felt, if you had been in the field that night with the other shepherds?
  2. I wonder why God chose simple shepherds to share the Good News?
  3. Have you ever found yourself being a good shepherd and telling someone about Jesus?


Option would be to show entire video with your focus on the shepherds.

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 very short "speed sketches" on this DVD. (Speed sketches are "video-accelerated illustrations.") One of the four stories is The joy of Jesus' Birth and of finding the Christ (Luke 2:1-20).  Could be used as a workshop opening.

See this post for more details, plus a member's review about it

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Saddleback Kids': Jesus and the Shepherds

A video "short" (2:25) that's animated, fun, and contemporary. A good Bible study starter, or for use in worship or children's sermon. Free and posted on their YouTube channel.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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