Prepare: This one takes some preparation time. You will need about six 2×2 (or so) boxes and three large Christmas card sized envelopes, a large Christmas stocking and the supplies to make the below objects that tell the story of the Nativity. Disclaimer: This retelling combines the Matthew and the Luke narratives. It does not follow just one gospel.
Faith + Gather: bring the children up to either the tree in your sanctuary or to the crèche. Show them the stocking and ask if they have one similar at home. What do they find in their stocking? Presents! Well in your stocking is a present as well, and a story about the best gift of all.
Faith + Connect: Have the boxes/envelopes marked #1-8 for ease of getting the order correct. Begin by pulling out
#1-Have a child open the box. Have a small scroll tied with a gold ribbon. The scroll can say something like-“Name: Joseph From: Nazareth Family Line: David Report to: Bethlehem. Tell this part of the story. Tell why Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem.
#2-Have a printed of picture of Bethlehem (a clipart version is available). Tell the children about how when they got to Bethlehem there was no room to be found at all! You can also use a picture of a stable if you prefer.
#3-I use a large envelope for this one. I made a “manger” by cutting a toilet paper tube in half the long way and stapling the two halves together-one is the base and the other holds (in #7) the baby Jesus. I glued yellow felt for hay an used small popsicle sticks for the base of the manger. Tell how Mary had to put her baby in a feeding trough. No crib, no hospital-just the animals and Mary and Joseph!
#4-I have use a picture of Mary, Joseph and the animals in the barn. You can have younger children name barn animals.
#5- Put a small candy cane in the box. This is to talk about the shepherds who were in their fields watching sheep (the candy cane is the shepherds hook.)
#6-I made an angel “halo” out of gold sparkle pipe cleaner. The angels appeared to the shepherds proclaiming the birth of Jesus. You could sing “Gloria” here.
#7-The shepherds go to the stable and find the baby Jesus in the manger. I made a baby Jesus out of a small clothes pin. I drew a face and just glued white felt around the “baby.” Have a child put the baby Jesus in the manger from #3.
#8-I have a cross ornament that says Love on it. (I also use and envelope for this one.) I then talk about how Jesus is God’s love that has come down to be with us and to make sure that nothing ever separates us from God. This the best gift that we will ever get. While we may get fun things in our stockings this year or from under the Christmas tree, Jesus is the only gift that we need.
You can sing one verse of Away in a Manger here or Jesus Loves me.
Faith + Pray: Dear God, thank you for this story of love. You love us so much and all of the time and it is the best gift that we could ever get. Amen.
Faith + Bless: (Make the sign of the cross on one another): You are a gift from God.