The stable is a cardboard box covered in tissue paper. If you cover the inside with yellow the characters will show up better. You can add battery powered tea lights too!
This week we arrive in Bethlehem!
The story is from Luke 2:1-7.
I often start story time by introducing the characters – in this story we’ll all say hello to Mary and then to Joseph as I take them out of the story bag. (The knitted characters are from an Alan Dart pattern – available from his website or from Amazon)
‘Mary and Joseph had to go on a long journey. They needed to go all the way to Bethlehem. Maybe they took one of these with them – take donkey out of the story bag. What noise does a donkey make? Everyone join in with ‘eeyore (hee-haw)’
When they got to the town of Bethlehem they needed to find somewhere to stay. Mary’s baby was soon going to be born.
They looked and they looked. They knocked on the door of the hotel. ‘We must find somewhere soon!’ they said to each other.
The hotel boss answered the door – ‘No room here!’ he said
Oh no! (Everyone repeat this)
‘But maybe you could stay where the animals are?’ he said.
It was better than having nowhere to go. So that was where Mary and Joseph went. And there Jesus was born.
He was a real baby – with 10 fingers and 10 toes and a nose and two eyes and two ears. But he was also very special because he is God’s Son. The Bible gives him a special name – Immanuel – which means ‘God with us’. ‘ (Matthew 1:23)
We’ll add another paper plate to our Journey to Bethlehem display..
So altogether we have …..
We will be making Christmas star wreaths as our craft..
These paper plates can be used to tell the Christmas story and/or as craft ideas. They need some prep so I’m posting them now!
The Angel Gabriel visits Mary – Luke 1:26-38
Jesus is born – Luke 2:1-7
The shepherds are told about the birth of the Saviour – Luke 2:8-21
You can tell the story a little at a time over three weeks or use the plates altogether
They are made from sturdy paper plates that have a rim (not the cheapest but they need to stand up to being taken out of a story bag). The picture backgrounds are made from tissue paper and the scenes and people use paper, sugar paper, crepe paper, cardboard rolls (stable) wool, cotton wool and shiny paper. The angel wings are hearts cut out using a paper punch. The bodies of the people are triangles and the head scarfs (I can’t think of a better word!) are material. Lots of different textures and colours! Use what you have 🙂
The baby sent from God was tucked up in the manger. Mary and Joseph were there to look after him. Do you remember his name? He was called Jesus. There they were that night – just the three of them.
Meanwhile, out of the town, in the hills there were shepherds. Shepherds look after sheep. What sound does a sheep make?
It was dark – the shepherds were making sure that all the sheep were safe.
Then suddenly something happened that made the shepherds really scared! There was an angel – and the angel was surrounded by bright light.
‘Don’t be afraid’, the angel said, ‘I bring you good news of great joy that is for everyone, everywhere. Today, a Saviour has been born. You will find him lying in a manger.’
Then lots of angels were there singing. And then they were gone and it was dark again.
The shepherds looked at each other, ‘Let’s go and see this thing that’s happened that God has told us about.’
So off they went – down the hill, through the town, looking here, looking there – until they found Jesus. They found the Saviour.
We can find Jesus too. He is still the Saviour sent from God for everyone, everywhere. We won’t find him in a manger – but we can know him as our Saviour.
Every year we take are able to visit a local school to take a lesson about Christmas and what it means for Christians. This year it was a bit more of a long assembly as we wee able to use the school hall and all the year Two classes were able to be there at the same time. We call this assembly/presentation ‘Christmas Unwrapped’.
The idea is that all the different characters, places and objects that are in the Christmas Story are in gift bags and we allow the children to discover what we have wrapped up. We begin by talking about how the first events of Christmas are found in the Bible. Then as each gift bag is opened a verse from the Bible is read. All the items are added to a nativity display as we go along. Some people or items need more explanation than others.
When we have all the people, places and objects we tell the story using pictures (Power point)
After telling the story in this way we talk about how Christians celebrate Christmas – the food, decorations, special church events and carols. We sing a carol together. And of course we mention presents! At this point we also make sure that the children know that people who wouldn’t call themselves Christians may also do some or all of these things but that the reason why Christians celebrate is that they are remembering the birth of The Saviour, Jesus.
We always finish by thanking the children for taking part and wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and a great holiday.
Here’s some photos – apologies for the quality but it was quite dark!
Bible story – from Luke 1:26-38.
(Include actions in the story if you can – ask the children and adults to join in)
One day Mary was at home. It was just an ordinary day. Mary was cleaning the house (some actions here – maybe dusting or sweeping).
But then something extraordinary happened! An angel came to see her! Now angels are not like fairies. Angels are big and strong! (actions here too). The angel that came to see Mary was called Gabriel (ask everyone to repeat the name). He had a message from God.
‘You are going to have a very special baby,’ he said to Mary. ‘This baby will be God’s Son and he will be King forever.’
Who was this baby? This baby, that the angel talked about, was Jesus.
Mary listened. (everyone touch their ears). She knew that this promised baby would be very, very special and important.
Jesus is very, very special and important.
Craft Ideas – make angels
Square paper plate angel – cut out the wings and use tissue paper to create a stained glass effect.
Paper cup/ice cream pot angel
Story bag ideas – a doll to represent Mary or Early Learning Centre Nativity Set. You could add a duster and a dustpan and brush and your angel craft to represent Gabriel.