THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
Lesson 3: Journey to Bethlehem
This lesson will teach the children that although many things have changed throughout the ages one thing has not changed during all of this time. The good news that Jesus came into this world because God loves us.
Birth of Christ, Christmas, Hope, Joseph, Mary
AS KIDS ARRIVE (10 minutes)
Upon arrival, give each child an index card prepared as follows:
Boy: _____ Girl: _____
State you were born in: _____________
Current Age: ______
|Have each child complete the card. Then as others arrive have the children tally up the number of classmates who are from the same state, who are the same age, and the number of boys and girls. The totals can be written on the board, and then each child can copy to the back of their card. Explain that this activity is similar to a census. Discuss various uses that a census may have and that these types of stats are still collected today, every ten years in America.
OPENING PRAYER AND PRAISE (5 minutes)
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MEMORY WORK (12 minutes)
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:14 NIV
Practice saying this verse out loud several times as it may have been sang by the angels after the birth of Jesus.
SCRIPTURE READING AND DISCUSSION (15 minutes)
The virgin birth of Jesus is one of the best known stories in the Bible. With the birth of Jesus, God became a man to walk among us and to be our savior. Prophesies about the birth of Jesus go all the way back to Genesis. Also, according to prophesy, Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, a small town of the city of David (Micah 5:2). But Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, a city over fifty miles away from Bethlehem. And the baby might be born any minute. Then, Caesar Augustus made a ruling. Everyone twelve years or older must go to their city of origin to register and pay taxes. It was called a census. Caesar needed to know how many people lived in the entire Roman Empire, so he would know how much taxes he could collect. Although baby Jesus might be born any moment, Joseph and Mary wanted to obey the law. They were both descendents of David, so the decided to walk to Bethlehem, a three-day journey.
Read Luke 2:1-20 (The Birth of Jesus)
1.Why did Joseph and Mary go from their home in Nazareth and walk all the way to Bethlehem? (Because Caesar Augustus issued a law for everyone to go to their home town for a census.)
2. After Jesus was born, why was He placed in a manger? See verse 7. (Because there was no more room at any of the Inns.)
3. What is a manger? (A feeding trough for animals - or have someone look up manger in a Bible dictionary)
4. How do you think Joseph and Mary felt about spending the night where they kept animals? (Perhaps they felt disappointed, but maybe thankful they had someplace to stay.)
5. Jesus the savior of the whole world wasn't born in a beautiful palace like other kings? Why do you think that was? (Unlike a king who was served, Jesus was to live a humble life and serve others.)
6. What did the shepherds do after they saw Jesus for themselves? (They spread the word about Jesus and glorified God.)
CLASS EXERCISE (12 minutes)
Jesus and Me (Activity) Click here
APPLICATION (4 minutes)
People during the time of Jesus lived a much different life than we do today. For example, when people in Jesus' time wanted to travel, they would usually walk. Today we ride in a car. Hospitals were not common in Jesus' time, so babies were usually born at home. But one thing for sure has not changed during all of this time: the Good News that Jesus came into this world because God loves us. When we put Jesus first in our lives, no journey is too long, no hurdle is too high, because our hope and assurance is in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
Have you ever been to a baby shower. Even if you haven't been to one, I'm sure you know what they are. In this modern day, baby showers are normally given before the baby is born. But in Jesus' day, people came to give him gifts after he was born. Next week we will see what it was like to go to a baby shower for Jesus.
Note to teacher: Next week the class will perform a skit about the birth of Jesus including the journey to Bethlehem and visits from shepherds and the magi. It may be helpful to give the kids a copy of the skit found in next week's lesson plan this week to take home and review. Click for Skit
CLOSING PRAYER (2 minutes)
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TAKE HOME PAGE
Give one copy to each child at the end of the class to take home. Click here for NIV or KJV [PDF]