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Rich or poor?

To use the Christmas story to highlight the fact that both rich and poor are of equal value.

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To use the Christmas story to highlight the fact that both rich and poor are of equal value.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need two costumes – maybe from a school nativity play:
    (1)  An outfit that the children will associate with someone rich, e.g. a king’s or queen’s costume.
    (2)  An outfit that the children will associate with someone poor, e.g. a shepherd's costume.
  • If these costumes are not available any outfits that would emphasize a difference between rich and poor would be suitable.


  1. Ask for two volunteers who don't mind dressing up. Explain that you are going to dress the two volunteers in old-fashioned clothes a bit like those worn in the time of Jesus. You want the other children to watch, and then tell you what they think they can work out about each person from the way that they are dressed.
  2. As you dress the children comment on what you are doing, e.g. I am putting this very expensive robe on X. I am putting this very scruffy tunic on Y. I am placing this old, ragged headdress on Y. I am placing this beautiful crown on X.
  3. When you have finished, ask the other children what they can tell about the two people who would have been dressed in this way. What would they guess about their lives? Where would they have been born? Would they have gone to school? Would they have gone out to work?
  4. Explain that for Christians the Christmas story is very special because Jesus came to earth not as a great, powerful, important man but as a tiny baby. He wasn't born in a huge, expensive palace but in a stable. He wasn't placed in a beautiful cot, but was laid in an animals’ feeding trough.

    Explain that in the Bible it says that God considers both rich and poor of equal importance. When Jesus was born both kings and shepherds visited him.

Time for reflection


Compared to many people in the world we are rich – even if we don’t feel like it! Let us pause for a few moments to remember those who are not as fortunate as we are this Christmas and to consider if there is anything we can do to help.



Dear God,

We thank you so much for everything that we have.

We thank you for our food, for our clothes, for our homes, for our families.

We pray for those who have so little this Christmas.

Please help us to remember them and to do everything we can to help those in need.



‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)

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