Use this Christmas children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids about the shepherds meeting baby Jesus and what they did afterward.
Needed: Volunteer to play Shepherd
Intro Game: Telephone
Have students sit in a line or in a circle. You’ll whisper a message to the first student, and they’ll pass it on. See how close the message is to what you said when it gets to the end. The goal is to have the message stay as close to the original all the way through.
Ask students, How many of you have ever met someone famous?
Who did you meet?
Was it exciting?
What is the best news you’ve ever heard? What’s the best thing someone’s ever told you?
Well, so far we’ve met Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, and we’ve met Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ mother and adopted father. Today, we’re going to hear about how Jesus was born and we’re going to meet the first person, besides Mary and Joseph, to meet Jesus.
(Ask the “Shepherd” to come in. He or she will tell the following story, based on Luke 2:1-21 .)
Shepherd: Well, hello everyone! Do you know who I am? I’m a shepherd. I heard you were talking about meeting famous people and getting good news. Well, I want to tell you about the most amazing night of my life.
A long time ago, the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, wanted to count how many people were in his kingdom. So, he made everyone go back to where their family was originally from to be counted there. Well, since Joseph – you met him last week – was the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the Kings of Israel, he had to go back to the town of Bethlehem to be counted. That’s where King David was from before he became king. And Joseph had to take his family with him, so that meant Mary had to go too, even though she was pregnant.
Well, when they got to Bethlehem, there were so many people there to be counted that Mary and Joseph couldn’t find a hotel room! They had to camp out in a barn with the animals! And that night, while they were in the barn, Mary had her baby. Jesus was born!
Well, we shepherds were out in the fields around Bethlehem, taking care of our sheep. And suddenly, an angel appeared to us. He said, “Don’t be afraid. I’ve come to bring you good news. The Savior has been born in Bethlehem. Go and find him in the barn.”
And then, when he was finished speaking, a bunch of angels, hundreds and maybe even thousands, appeared and they were all singing, “Glory to God in the Highest and peace to men on earth!”
Well, after they left, we did what the angel told us. We went and we saw Jesus, the Savior of the World, and we were glad to know that He had born. We were so glad that we went out of the barn again and told everyone that we could find, just like the angels had told us.
(Have students thank the Shepherd for telling his story and then use the following review questions to lead a discussion on what they learned.)
What was the good news that the shepherd heard in this story? (That Jesus had been born.)
And what did the shepherd do when he heard the good news that Jesus had been born? (He went and saw Jesus.)
Then, after the shepherd saw Jesus, what did he do? (He went and told everyone he could find about Jesus.)
And that’s what we should do. We know about Jesus and so we should tell other people about Him too. Do you know why we should tell other people about Jesus?
Because God has said that anyone who does anything wrong, anyone who sins, has to die and go to Hell for their punishment. But, if we believe in Jesus, Jesus is our Savior who saves us from going to Hell when we die because Jesus already died for our sins and went to Hell for us when He died on the cross. Now, if we believe in Jesus, we don’t have to go to Hell when we die. Instead, we can go to Heaven and live with God and Jesus forever.
But if we don’t tell people about Jesus, then they can’t believe in Him. And they have to believe in Him to be able to go to Heaven and not Hell. So, that’s why we have to tell people about Jesus, like the shepherds did. We want to help people believe in Jesus and go to Heaven when they die.
Game: Angel and Shepherds Telephone
Play the intro game again, but this time, tell students that you’re pretending to be the angels and shepherds. Have students spread out around the room. The first student you tell your message to will be the Angel. They’ll go tell a Shepherd. The Shepherd will then tell the other people. The last person to hear the message will be the Angel for the next round.
Use messages from the Bible story or lines from hymns, such as the following.
- “Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you.”
- “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
- “Hark! The herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King!'”
Game: Shepherd Tag
Choose one student to be the Shepherd. They’re It. When they tag another student, that second student is also It. They continue tagging the other players until everyone has been tagged. Explain that the shepherds went and told everyone about the birth of Jesus until the whole town of Bethlehem knew about it.
To make the game go faster, you can choose more than one Shepherd to be It. The last student to be tagged is the starting Shepherd for the next round.
Lord, we thank You for sending Jesus to be born. You sent Him to teach us and to save us so that we can go to Heaven and be with You. Help us to be like the shepherds and tell everyone we know about Jesus, so that they can be saved too. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Miracle Children.