BIBLE STORY (based on Luke 2:8-18)
Instructions: Ask the children to copy your gestures throughout the story.
Imagine in your mind that it's the middle of the night.
You are a shepherd - a person taking care of sheep - outside the city of Bethlehem.
It's dark. It's quiet except for an occasional "Baaaaa".
(Warp arms around yourself.) It's a little chilly. You are sitting around a campfire with the other shepherds, keeping warm.
Then suddenly, you see an unusual light in the sky.
(Put one hand above eyes, looking up) "Do you see what I see?"
(Point up) "Yes! Look at the light", another shepherd replies looking at the sky. "I wonder what it is?"
The light was an angel sent by God who said: "Don't be afraid. I have good news! A Baby has been born tonight. A very special Baby whose name is Jesus. He is in the town of Bethlehem right now in a stable -- all wrapped up and tucked in a manger.
Suddenly, the sky was full of angels all praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest."
Let's say that together boys and girls: "Glory to God in the highest."
Let's say it again: "Glory to God in the highest."
(On knees showing worship with hands together) The shepherds got on their knees on the ground in worship.
Then the angels disappeared and the sky was dark again.
The shepherds talked to one another and decided they would quickly go to Bethlehem and see for themselves what the angel had just told them about.
(Walk in place) They walked as fast as they could! They walked and walked and walked until they reached the town of Bethlehem and found the stable.
Jesus' mother, Mary, and Mary's husband, Joseph, greeted the shepherds. When they saw baby Jesus wrapped in a blanket and sleeping in the manger, the shepherds (on knees showing worship with hands together) got on their knees and celebrated the birth of Jesus by worshipping Him.
SONG: "Manger of My Heart" by Mary Rice Hopkins (from A Very Mary Christmas album)
Following the song, you may want to take an opportunity to share with your class that the reason God sent Jesus to earth as a baby was so He could die on the cross for our sins. If there are boys and girls in your group who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, this could be a great opportunity if you sense the Holy Spirit leading in that direction.
BIBLE VERSE: "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).
Directions: Cut out 10 yellow stars. Write one word from the verse and reference on each star. Attach the stars to a wall or bulletin board.
Activity: Say the verse together 3 times. Ask children to remove one star at a time, reciting the verse each time a star is removed.
MAKE 'N TAKE CREATIVE ACTIVITY: Baby Jesus In A Manger
Needed for Each Child: A heavy piece of paper 5" x 81/2"; 2 pieces of white construction paper 21/2" x 3" for the ends of the manger; straw (if available) or brown paper which has been shredded or cut into small pieces for hay; clear tape; crayons; small pieces of material for a blanket.
Activity: Color the manger. Fold the 5" x 81/2" piece into thirds. Tape on the manger sides. Drop in the hay or shredded brown paper. Draw, color and cut out baby Jesus. Wrap the baby in cloth and place in manger.
SNACK: Star-Shaped Sugar Cookies
Needed: A star-shaped sugar cookie for each child; yellow icing; sprinkles.
Activity: Allow the children to ice and decorate their own cookies.
EXTENDED ACTIVITY: Allow children to re-create the Bible story using Play-Doh. They can make sheep, a star, the manger with baby Jesus, sheep, etc. (There are numerous easy-to-make recipes for making various colors of modeling compound online.)