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A message for everyone

To reflect on those who first heard the Christmas message and their reactions to the message.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To reflect on those who first heard the Christmas message and their reactions to the message.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need three narrators: Joseph, shepherd, wise man.


  1. Talk about the recent births of any babies known to the children. Who is likely to be visiting a newly born baby?

    Ask the children to list the characters in the Christmas story as told in the Bible. Note that, apart from Mary, the other characters that we hear about were men. All the visitors to the stable were men. In all the accounts it was men who came and worshipped. In all the famous paintings of the stable scene we see men sitting or kneeling and worshipping. (They might even have been ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’! Only Mary could let you in to that secret!)

    Point out that God wanted a joiner to look after his son, to be his son’s father on earth.

    God involved a busy innkeeper in helping to prepare a place for the birth of his son.

    God wanted tough, hardworking farm-labourers, who were out looking after the sheep, to hear about the birth of his son and to be among the first to see him.

    God wanted learned, religious leaders from other nations to travel a great distance and to take specific gifts to his newborn son.

    Women in those days worked in the house and didn’t meet strangers. So all the people we see in the story are men, as they were free to go about their daily lives in a way that women weren’t; it’s very different for most women today.

  2. Ask the children what they think these people did during the night in that stable. What would they have talked about? If you were a shepherd, what might you tell the others? If you were Joseph, what might you tell the others? Explain to the children that we are going to eavesdrop on their possible conversation in the stable that night. (You will have enlisted the help of some pupils for this.)

    Narrator 1 (Joseph): I was told that Mary was going to have a baby. A bit of a shock it was, as we were only engaged! Not mine I can assure you! This baby, a boy it would be, was going to be from God. He was to be called Jesus, and I was told that he would save his people from their sins. I wouldn’t have believed it in the first place if an angel hadn’t said it. But look, here he is. What do you think all this means?

    Narrator 2 (Shepherd): It was night – a very ordinary night – and we were watching our flocks as usual. Suddenly the sky was ablaze with light and an angel appeared. We were terrified! He told us not to be scared because he had good news for us and for all men everywhere. A saviour had just been born down the hill here in Bethlehem. We were told that we would find him wrapped in swaddling bands and lying in a manger. And here he is! What do you think all this means?

    Narrator 3 (Wise man): We had been expecting a special birth for some time. We had been studying writings, which said that one day a ruler would be born in Bethlehem, in the land of Judah. A new star would herald his birth. A while ago a new, incredibly bright star appeared in the sky out of nowhere. We followed this star for weeks from our land in the east, and it led us to this humble stable and to this baby. I have to admit that we didn’t really expect to find the baby in a stable! What do you think all this means?
  3. These men, all from very different walks of life, had been brought together to witness a very special moment in history – the coming of God’s son to earth. They sensed a real excitement, a stirring of intense joy and wonder, but they didn’t understand everything.
  4. Faith is like that: we don’t understand everything! Even the wisest among us will never understand everything about God. Nor did Mary. The Bible says that she treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. How often she would wonder about her son in the days ahead. Mary didn’t have all the answers either.

Time for reflection

I wonder where the women were in this story? Mary is there, and we sometimes talk about the innkeeper’s wife. In those days, Women didn’t appear in stories as often as men; it was the way things were then. If the story were to happen today, then women would be mentioned – the ones we didn’t hear about.

Another name for Jesus that we hear at Christmas is Immanuel. This means ‘God with us’.

Spend a few minutes thinking about what difference that might make to your day.

Dear God,
Thank you for sending us your son, Jesus.
Thank you that you didn’t want to be a distant God but one whom we could get to know and understand.
Jesus came to show us what you are like.
Thank you that you are a God of love, a God who wants to be our friend.
Help us to understand more about you as we listen to the Christmas story once again.


Sing one of your school’s favourite carols.

Publication date: December 2010   (Vol.12 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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