Age Group: 6-12 years old
By the end of this lesson, children will be able to understand the significance of the announcement of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds and the importance of sharing the good news with others.
Welcome, kids! Today, we’re going to learn about the birth of Jesus and how the angels announced the good news to the shepherds. Our scripture passage comes from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verses 1-14. Let’s read it together:
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.”
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
“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. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'”
“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'” – Luke 2:1-14
The Announcement of Jesus’ Birth to the Shepherds
1. The Journey to Bethlehem
Discuss the journey that Mary and Joseph took from Nazareth to Bethlehem and how they had to travel a long distance to register for the census.
2. The Birth of Jesus
Talk about the humble circumstances of Jesus’ birth, including being born in a stable and placed in a manger.
3. The Angel’s Announcement
Explain how an angel appeared to the shepherds and announced the good news of Jesus’ birth, emphasizing the significance of the message and the shepherds’ reaction to it.
Object Lesson: The Shepherd’s Staff
- Bring a shepherd’s staff or a long stick to represent one.
- Explain how shepherds used their staffs to guide, protect, and care for their sheep.
- Discuss how Jesus is often referred to as the “Good Shepherd” and how He guides, protects, and cares for us.
Activities and Games
Activity: Nativity Scene Craft
- Provide each child with a nativity scene template, either printed on paper or pre-cut from felt.
- Have the children color or decorate the different characters and elements of the nativity scene, including Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds, and the angels.
- Encourage them to recreate the story of Jesus’ birth using their crafted nativity scenes.
Shepherds and Angels Relay
- Divide the children into two teams: shepherds and angels.
- Set up a simple obstacle course in your classroom or outdoor space. You can use chairs, cones, or other items as obstacles.
- Have the shepherds’ team complete the obstacle course first while holding a “sheep” (a stuffed animal or small pillow).
- Next, have the angels’ team complete the course while holding a “message” (a rolled-up piece of paper or a small cardboard sign with the words “Good News” written on it).
- The goal is for each team to complete the obstacle course as quickly as possible while holding their respective items. The team with the fastest time wins!
In today’s lesson, we learned about the announcement of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds and the significance of this event. We discovered that Jesus was born in humble circumstances and that the angels brought the good news to the shepherds, who were considered ordinary people. This shows us that Jesus came for everyone, regardless of their status or position in society.
Let’s remember to share the good news of Jesus’ birth with others, just as the shepherds did after they heard the angels’ message.
Please bow your heads and join me in prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus. Help us to always remember the true meaning of His birth and to share the good news with others. Teach us to be humble like the shepherds and to trust in Your guidance and care as the Good Shepherd. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Send each child home with a “Good News” card that they can share with a friend or family member. The card should include a simple message about Jesus’ birth and the significance of the event, as well as a related Bible verse, such as Luke 2:11:
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Encourage the children to share their “Good News” cards with others and to talk about the story of Jesus’ birth with their families.
Additional Activities and Games
Activity: Shepherd’s Bag Craft
- Provide each child with a small brown paper bag or a piece of brown construction paper that can be folded and stapled to create a bag.
- Have the children decorate their bags with crayons, markers, or colored pencils, adding designs, symbols, or words related to the story of Jesus’ birth.
- Encourage the children to use their “Shepherd’s Bags” to collect small items or notes that remind them of the story of Jesus’ birth and the importance of sharing the good news with others.
Game: Angel Says
- This game is played similarly to “Simon Says,” but with an angelic twist.
- Choose one child to be the “Angel” who will give instructions to the other children.
- The Angel should give a command, such as “Angel says, clap your hands,” and the children should follow the instruction only if it starts with “Angel says.”
- If the Angel gives a command without saying “Angel says” first, the children should not follow the instruction. If a child does follow the instruction, they are out of the game.
- Continue playing until only one child remains, who will be the winner and the next “Angel.”
In our lesson today, we explored the story of Jesus’ birth and the announcement of this miraculous event to the shepherds. The angels’ message to the shepherds is a reminder that God’s love is for everyone, regardless of their background or social status.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus and share the good news with others, let’s remember to be compassionate, humble, and kind, just as Jesus would want us to be. By living our lives according to His teachings, we can bring joy and hope to those around us, just as the angels brought joy and hope to the shepherds on that special night.
Please bow your heads and join me in our final prayer:
Dear God, thank You for the lessons we learned today about the birth of Jesus and the announcement to the shepherds. Help us to share the good news with others and to live our lives according to Your will. Please watch over us, guide us, and protect us as we continue to grow in our faith. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.