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All I want for Christmas . . .

To explore the birth of Jesus from Mary’s perspective.

by Penny Hollander

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore the birth of Jesus from Mary’s perspective.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a selection of pictures/books that depict the events leading to the birth of Jesus, including a nativity scene.
  • A flipchart, OHP or interactive whiteboard.
  • A box wrapped in Christmas paper.
  • A large sign showing the words WE HAVE NO ROOM.
  • There is an opportunity for a child to read out some of the words. If you take this option, print out the words and give time for practice in advance.
  • Biblical references: Luke 1.28–33; 2.1–7.


  1. Ask the children if they have suggestions for what they would like for Christmas. Show the wrapped up box. What would you want to find in here? Have they made a list? Write suggestions on the flipchart, OHP or interactive whiteboard.

    What do you think other children, who have less than you, would want? Refer to projects such as Operation Christmas Child or any other Christmas charity your school may be involved in.

  2. Refer to the pictures/books on display and tell the children that today’s focus is on the Christmas story, and particularly Mary, Jesus’ mother.

    Mary had been told by the Angel Gabriel that she was going to have a baby. He had said this to her (one of the children could read this out):

    You must call him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king like David of long ago. He will rule over his people. His kingdom will never end.

  3. Ask the children how they think Mary must have felt when she got this news. Happy? Excited? A little bit scared? Draw (or ask a child up to do it) a face on the OHP/flipchart/whiteboard to show the different kinds of reactions.

  4. What kinds of questions might Mary have had? Probably the same as any mother’s. If any of the children have baby brothers or sisters, what kinds of questions might their mothers have had?

    ‘What do I have to do to get ready for the baby’s birth?’
    ‘Where am I going to have the baby?’

    Most of all, like any mother, Mary might have said, ‘All I want is to have a healthy baby’.

  5. However, they had to face several problems.

    First, just before the time Mary’s baby was due, she and her husband Joseph found out that they had to travel from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem, Joseph’s family home, which would mean a long journey. They had to do this to register their names, because the Romans, the rulers of their country, wanted to make a list of everyone who lived in their lands. It was a law, and Mary and Joseph had no choice: even though Mary was about to have her baby, they had to go on this journey.

    Ask the children how Mary and Joseph must have felt. Worried about Mary’s health? Would they get back before the baby was born? (More facial expressions could be drawn here.)

    The second problem was how they were going to get there. It was a long way and Mary would be unable to walk that distance. Ask the children if they know the answer to this problem – how did Mary travel? On a donkey.

    The third problem – where were they going to stay? Lots and lots of people were also travelling to Bethlehem for the same reason at the same time and everyone would be looking for somewhere to stay, so this was a big problem. When they got to Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph went from place to place, and each time were told: ‘We have no room’ (child holds up the sign).

    The fourth problem was that Mary knew that she would give birth to baby Jesus that night, so it was very urgent they found somewhere to rest. Ask the children again what they think Mary would be saying, e.g.

    ‘We must find somewhere – all I want is a safe, warm place for my baby to be born.’
    ‘All I want is for everything to be all right.’

  6. At last – a solution! Ask the children where Mary and Joseph eventually found room to stay, and where Jesus was born. Show the picture of the nativity scene.

    Mary’s wishes had been fulfilled.

Time for reflection

Let’s just think quietly for a moment or two about how Mary must have felt about the birth of Jesus. Then think about what we are looking forward to at Christmas. It’s a time of celebration. For Christians it is one of the most important times of the year. It’s also a time when we help others less fortunate than we are. What will we be doing this Christmas?

Dear God,
Thank you for this special time of year that we look forward to.
We want to say thank you for the gift of Jesus
and ask that we may find ways to give to others as well.


‘O little town of Bethlehem’ or ‘Mary had a baby’ (Come and Praise, 123)

Publication date: December 2006   (Vol.8 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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