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Let's All Go To Bethlehem!

by Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To enter into the experience of the shepherds and demonstrate that fears can be overcome.

Preparation and materials

  • Familiarize yourself with the story and actions in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3, so that you can focus on making it expressive and compelling.
  • Read the story of the shepherds in Luke 2.8–15. An accessible version of this can be read in the ‘Assembly’, Step 2, but is optional.
  • A lit candle can be used as a focus during the ‘Time for reflection’ section of the assembly, if wished.


  1. Ask the children, ‘Have you ever been afraid of the dark?’ Acknowledge that many people feel uncomfortable and frightened in darkness. At night it’s difficult to see. Obstacles cause us to stumble and fall. Noises are startling. Reflect that, away from city streetlights and homes, the open countryside can seem very dark and frightening. 

  2. Refer to the story of the first Christmas. Shepherds stayed on the hills throughout the night, watching and guarding their flocks. Their only light was perhaps the glow of a fire.  They were terrified when they saw an angel, but, after seeing Jesus, they no longer felt afraid.

    Read the passage from Luke 2.8–15 at this point, if you wish.

  3. Invite the children to imagine that they are with the shepherds on their journey to Bethlehem. Encourage them to quickly echo your words and actions, which will work best if delivered with appropriate pace and a sense of fun.

    Let’s all go to Bethlehem

    Let’s all go to Bethlehem. (Beckon.)
    We’ve seen an angel! (Raised arms.)
    And heard about a baby, (arms as if cradling a baby)
    a very special baby. (Nod knowingly.)
    Leave the sheep behind. Baa!
    It’s so dark! (Look around nervously.)
    So very cold! (Shiver.)
    Are you frightened? (Nod head for ‘Yes’.)
    All together then. (Motion to others.)
    Quickly down the hill. Follow me! (Stride on the spot.)
    Across the stream. Splish, splash. (Make small leaps.)
    Through the prickly bushes. Ow! Ouch! Ow! (Flinch in pain.)
    Look at that brilliant star. Wow! (Point upwards.)
    Stop! There’s a stable. (Stand still.)
    Push open the door. (Push and peer around edge of door.)
    Tiptoe in quietly. (Tiptoe.)
    Peep into the manger. (Lean over and look downwards.) 
    He’s asleep! (Index finger on lips.)
    Don’t wake the baby. (Whispered.)
    Tiptoe out softly. (Tiptoe.)
    Close the door gently. (Pull door to.)
    A baby has been born! Let’s all jump for joy! (Jump for joy!)
    It’s just as the angels promised! Let’s all shout hurray! (Shout ‘Hurray!’)
    His name is Jesus! Let’s tell the others! (Beckon.)
    All together then. (Motion to others.)
    Quickly up the hill. Follow me. (Stride on the spot.)
    Through the prickly bushes. Ow! Ouch! Ow! (Flinch in pain.)
    Across the stream. Splish, splash. (Make small leaps.)
    Back to the sheep. Baa!
    It’s so dark. (Look around.)
    So very cold. (Shiver.)  
    Are you frightened? (Shake head for ‘No’.)
    No! Not at all. (Smile.)
    We’ve seen the special baby! (Arms as if cradling a baby.)

  4. Conclude by saying that Christians believe the Christmas story tells how faith in God can help to overcome fear. The shepherds returned to their flocks with joy and confidence.

Time for reflection

Spend some moments thinking of anyone who may be afraid tonight.

If you are afraid, remember that there are others who understand how you feel.

The following affirmation of faith may also be repeated a phrase at a time.

Jesus is born! (Light the candle, if using.)
Light in the darkness. 
Peace be with you!


Christmas carol, such as ‘Away in a manger’ or ‘How far is it to Bethlehem?’

Publication date: December 2014   (Vol.16 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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