Title: The Angels Visit the Shepherds
Scripture: Luke 2:8-20
Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Main Point: Jesus is God’s promised Son
Supplies: Bibles, Paper, crayons, markers
Lesson Opening: A Savior for All People
- Ask: If you had some really important and exciting news to tell, who would you share it with? Why would you choose that person to tell?
- Say: In our story today we will see that God has a very special announcement to make, yet He chooses some unlikely people to share this news with. God (through an angel) is announcing the birth of Jesus but rather than go to really important and powerful people the angel appears first to a bunch of shepherds hanging out in a field with their sheep.
- Ask: What can we learn about God from the fact that a bunch of lowly shepherds were the first ones to hear about the birth of the Savior of the world? (Accept any answer.)
- Say: One thing we learn is that God loves all people, no matter what kind of status they may have in the world. The angel announced that Jesus would be a savior for all people, not just important, powerful people.
Pray that God would open our hearts to His Word today and thank Him for sending Jesus into the world to be a savior for all people.
Tell the Story
Ask: Has anyone ever been invited to something really special? Maybe a birthday party, a fun camping trip, or a special event with your family? (Allow time for kids to respond.)
Ask: What kind of invitation did you receive?
Say: Our story today is about an invitation from God to experience an incredible event, the birth of His Son Jesus! We’ll also be remembering our main point from the last few weeks: Jesus is God’s promised Son. Let’s say it together with the hand motions.
Main Point: Jesus is God’s promised Son.
Say: The Bible is God’s Word, which means it comes directly from God! We care about and believe what it says, and today our story comes from the book of Luke in the New Testament.
Say: God spoke to Joseph in a dream about Jesus being born. Joseph was engaged to Mary and God told him to not be afraid to marry her even though she was pregnant, because her baby boy was the Son of God!
Tell the Story: God didn’t want to keep the birth of His Son a secret. No way! He wanted to share the good news of Jesus coming with the world. But God didn’t send a baby announcement in the mail. He didn’t put it on Facebook either. When God wanted to announce the birth of Jesus He sent angels to tell people and invite them to come and see the baby.
Ask: If you wanted to announce the birth of Jesus to someone who would it be? (Allow time for kids to respond.)
Tell the Story: You might think that God would want to tell the richest, most powerful people in the land that their long-awaited Savior was finally here. But that’s not who He chose to tell first. Listen as I read from God’s Word to hear who the angels first appeared to.
Read from your Bible: Luke 2:8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
Ask: What kind of people did the angel appear to? (Shepherds living in the fields.)
Say: Let’s listen again to God’s Word to hear what the angel said to the shepherds.
Read from your Bible: Luke 2:10-12
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Ask: What news did the angel bring the shepherds? (Their Savior had been born in the town of David.)
Ask: What did the angel say the sign would be for the shepherds? (They would find a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger.)
Tell the Story: After the angel made this announcement the shepherds suddenly saw a whole host of angels singing praises to God. They sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Ask: If you were one of the shepherds in the field that night, how do you think you would have reacted to all this? (Allow time for kids to respond.)
Say: Let’s keep reading and find out what the shepherds did.
Read from your Bible: Luke 2:15-20
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them…. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
Ask: Did you hear what the shepherds did?
Say: The shepherds answered God’s invitation to come and see the baby Jesus. Not only did they go to see him, but they also told everyone about what they had seen. The shepherds knew that it was good news that Jesus had been born, and they wanted to share it with their friends! Finally, the shepherds returned to their sheep and they sang praises to God as they went!
Main Point: Jesus is God’s promised Son.
Ask: What was the invitation that God sent to the shepherds through the angel?
Say: God told the shepherds about His Son Jesus being born and invited them to come and see the baby. What a wonderful invitation it was!
Ask: Did you know that God gives us the same invitation today?
Say: The news that the angels shared with the shepherds is for us too! God invites us to come and meet His Son Jesus. The angel told the shepherds that Jesus was a savior for all people. The invitation is to come to Jesus because it is through Jesus that we can know God! God sent Jesus into the world so he could take our sins on himself and suffer the punishment that we deserve. Let’s thank God for this amazing invitation, but before we do let’s practice our main point one more time.
Main Point: Jesus is God’s promised Son.
Pray …. Dear God thank you for inviting us to come to Jesus so that we can be forgiven for our sin and be close to you. Help us share this invitation with others that we know who need to know you!
- What was the main point from our lesson? (Jesus is God’s promised Son)
- How did God invite the shepherds to visit Jesus? (God sent the angels to tell the shepherds about the birth of Jesus)
- How did the shepherds respond to the angel’s news? (They went to see the baby, told other people about Him, and praised God.)
- What is something we can learn about God from this story? (God invites us to participate in life with Him and wants us to know Him!)
Learning Activity 1: From the Shepherds’ Point of View
Supplies: Paper, crayons, markers
- Ask the kids to close their eyes and imagine that they are shepherds in the Judean countryside. It’s night time and the sheep are sleeping all around them. Everything is quite. Suddenly there is a bright light shining all around and there are tons of angels singing praises to God. The angel of the Lord appeared telling them that a Savior had been born in the town of Bethlehem.
- Let the kids imagine they are there and ask them what kinds of things they would have seen, heard, and even smelled! Then let them draw a picture of how they imagine the scene would have looked from the shepherds’ point of view.
Bible Skills Activity: Come and See
Supplies: Bibles, paper, pencils
- God invites us to participate in life with Him and throughout scripture we see Him inviting us to come and experience life with Him. This is exactly what we see in Luke 2 when the angel of the Lord tells the shepherds to come see the baby Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem.
- Have the kids divide into pairs or small groups and give each group a Bible. Give each group one of the following verses to look up. They’ll read the verse together then write a one-sentence summary about how God allowed the people to experience His presence. Have each group share briefly when they are finished.
- Verses: Exodus 13:21-22 (pillar of fire); 1 Kings 19:9-13 (gentle whisper); Matthew 17:1-13 (transfiguration)