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Staying safe

To identify some of the ways in which we are warned of danger, and to appreciate the need to heed warnings by obeying, through the story of the Epiphany (the Wise Men visit Jesus).

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To identify some of the ways in which we are warned of danger, and to appreciate the need to heed warnings by obeying, through the story of the Epiphany (the Wise Men visit Jesus).

Preparation and materials

  • Picture images – traffic lights, road digging, yellow coat, electricity pylons, etc.
    You may wish to choose from the large variety available on:

  • Three children to read the following passages: Matthew 2.13; Matthew 2.14–15; Matthew 2.16–18.
  • The words ‘What if?’ in bold letters on the whiteboard for the reflection time.


  1. Today in assembly we are going to be thinking about warnings of danger. A warning can be visual or oral. The first person to warn us about danger will probably have been a parent or someone who looks after us.

    Who can remember some of the warnings we were given as young children?

    There is danger all around us but if we are sensible and listen to warnings we can usually keep safe. After all, we got safely to school this morning even though we may have had to negotiate hundreds of cars, lorries, buses, people, construction sites, etc.

  2. Show the first image.

    – Where might we see this?
    – What is this picture warning us about?
    – Do we need to take any action?
    – What might happen if we don’t heed the warning?

    Go through the same procedure with as many images as you wish.
  3. Remind the children of the Bible characters, Mary and Joseph, and of the messages they had received from angels about the birth of Jesus. They had heeded these messages, and the messages had come true. Jesus had been born to Mary in the very place that prophets had said many years before. Wise men from far away countries visited the stable and the baby Jesus.
  4. One night not long after Jesus’ birth, Joseph had another dream when, once again, an angel appeared to him. The dream was warning of a great danger. Listen to the message:

    Child reads Matthew 2.13:

    Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him

    Joseph might have thought: ‘That was just a silly dream. Must have eaten too much cheese before bedtime!’

    But an angel had visited him before, and also his wife, and what the angel had said then had come true.

    Listen to how Joseph heeded the warning he was given:

    Child reads Matthew 2.14–15:

    Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt.

    It was just as well that he paid attention to this warning because this is what happened soon afterwards, back in Bethlehem:

    Child reads Matthew 2.16–18:

    When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men,he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.

Time for reflection

Staying safe requires obedience.

Display the words ‘What if?’ on the whiteboard.
Ask the children to reflect for a few minutes on what would have happened if Joseph had not heeded the warning.


Thank you for sending an angel to warn Joseph in a dream.
Thank you that he was a wise daddy and listened to the warning.
Thank you that, as a result, you kept Jesus safe and that we can still know about your love today.
Thank you for our parents and carers, at home and at school.
Thank you that they want us to be safe and happy.
Help us to listen and to obey them.


‘Come and praise the Lord our King’ (Come and Praise, 21)

Publication date: January 2011   (Vol.13 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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