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Angels watching over me

To think about the way in which God looks after us.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 1

Aims

To think about the way in which God looks after us.

Preparation and materials

  • Optional: a sheep or lamb soft toy.

  • A children’s Bible for the shepherds’ story from Luke 2.8–16.

Assembly

  1. Talk to the children about going to bed on a cold winter’s night. Who has fleecy pyjamas, a hot water bottle, an electric blanket? Who likes listening to the wind howling round the house and the rain pattering on the window?
  2. Explain that some people have night jobs. When it is time for us to get ready for bed, it is time for them to get their coats on and go out to work. Discuss the types of jobs night-workers might do.
  3. Set the scene for the shepherds’ story.

    A long time ago in the hills above a town called Bethlehem some night-workers were sitting round a fire trying to keep warm. They were shepherds. It was their job to keep sheep and lambs safe during the night. They had to round them all up after a day of eating grass on the hills, count them to make sure none was missing, then they would herd them into a round stone circle to keep them safe from night animals that might want to eat them.

    The shepherds would light a fire and sit at the entrance to this little sheepfold all night, keeping watch. Maybe they would take it in turns to have a little snooze while their fellow shepherds had a hot drink and had a chat. It got very cold on the hills at night-time and the shepherds would pull their coats and blankets round their shoulders and huddle near the fire for warmth.

    On this particular night everything was quiet as usual. The stars were shining. The sheep were still and sleeping. But something extraordinary was about to happen. Something that was going to change the world for ever and ever.
  4. Ask the children if they know what it was? Read the story from the Bible (Luke 2.8–16).

    You can just imagine the shepherds’ excitement. They jumped up, pulled their coats round them, stamped out the fire and began to run down the hill.

    But wait a minute! Didn’t they forget something? What about the sheep? Who was going to stay with the sheep?

    Let the children come up with suggestions for this. There is no right answer but we are going to surmise that none of the shepherds would want to miss out on this birth and they could hardly take all the sheep with them!

    Hopefully a child may suggest that one of the angels stayed with the sheep and guarded them.

    This would lead you on nicely to the point that Christians believe that we are God’s sheep and that God watches over and protects us.

Time for reflection

Think about the dark night on the hills. Think about these sheep with no one to look after them, all on their own. Think about the things that could go wrong. Now think about the joyful multitude of angels. They could do the job, no trouble at all!

Prayer
Dear Father God,
Thank you that you love me as if I was one of your sheep.
You watch over me day and night.
Thank you that the good news about Jesus’ birth is for me too,

and that if I had been on the hills that night

you would have invited me to come down to Bethlehem.
Thank you for making sure that I get to hear this wonderful news too.
Amen.

Song/music

‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night’ can be found in traditional hymn books, or see http://www.mfiles.co.uk/scores/while-shepherds-watched.htm)

Publication date: December 2009   (Vol.11 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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