‘Twas the Night of the First Christmas


Twas the night of the first Christmas when all through the town,
The streets were all crowded with people milling around.

All the hotels and motels, signs flashing in red,
No vacancy at all, not even one bed.

There must be a place to my wife I confide.
“Don’t worry,” she said, “God will provide.”

At the last house I arose such a clatter.
The owner came out to see what was the matter.

My wife, great with child, he saw in a flash.
“Please sir a room, I can pay you with cash.”

As the moon cast its light on the scene down below.
The gentleman showed us the way we should go.

When what to my eyes should appear?
A clean little stable, he said, “You can stay here.”

He got us fresh hay so lively and quick.
And he said, “This little ‘ol manger should do the trick.”

He finished and left never giving his name.
But I’m sure of this he will always have fame.

Now faster and faster the labor pains quicken.
The animals gather around and quietly listen.

I grab a small torch to light up the stall.
Then up to my wife I tenderly crawl.

I brushed back her hair as she gives out a sigh.
As joy fills our hearts we both start to cry.

Now off on a hillside an angel flew.
To lowly Shepherds to share the good news.

Then suddenly the glory of the Lord shown all around.
And the Shepherds in fear fell to the ground.

“Don’t be afraid, lift up your head.”
“Today the Savior is born in the town of David.”

Then suddenly the sky was full as far as the eye could see.
A great host of angels all began to sing.

“Glory to God in the heavens above.”
“And peace on earth to all whom God loves.”

Look back to the stable as a mothers face glows.
With a babe in her arms wrapped in swaddling clothes.

The baby’s eyes how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, His nose like a cherry!

His little mouth was drawn up like a bow.
And His heart was so pure, as white as the snow.

A humble beginning for the King of all kings.
So some of you may wonder, what all of this means.

From a baby to a man who died on a cross.
That all could be saved, that none would be lost.

The gift that was given on the first Christmas day.
A gift that’s so great we could never repay.

Telling the Christmas Story

ChristmasLove1Write out on separate pieces of cardboard the nine letters that make up the word ‘CHRISTMAS’. Take each letter in turn to illustrate the Christmas story. As you talk about each letter, get a volunteer to come and hold it up before the class. At the conclusion, the complete word will thus be shown.

There are a number of variations that could be used, but here are some ideas.

C = Christ. God’s gift to us.
H = Heaven. Jesus came down from Heaven to be born at Bethlehem.
R = Redeemer. You will probably have to explain this. To redeem something means to buy it back. God
created us, but then he had to buy us back with the blood of Jesus. The famous story about the boy who
made, lost and then had to buy back a toy boat is helpful in explaining this.*
I = Israel. Jesus was born in Israel. (An alternative could be Isaiah, who foretold of His coming).
S = Star. God sent a bright star to guide the wise men. (An alternative could be Stable).
T = The wise men. The Bible doesn’t say how many there were, but they brought Three gifts.
M = Manger, in which Jesus was placed. (An alternative could be Mary).
A = Angels, who announced Jesus’ birth.
S = Shepherds, the first to hear the ‘Good News’. (An alternative could be Savior).

* A boy once made a toy boat. He was very proud of his boat because he hadn’t bought it, he had made it himself. One day whilst sailing his boat on the lake, the wind suddenly strengthened and blew the toy boat out of sight towards the other side of the lake. The boy immediately ran around to the far side of the lake to look for his boat. He searched and searched, but couldn’t find it anywhere; the boat was lost. The boy was bitterly disappointed because this wasn’t any ordinary boat. This was his special boat that he had made with his own hands.

Sometime later the boy was walking past a shop. He happened to look in the window, and there, up for sale, was his boat. He knew it was his because he had made it himself and knew exactly what it looked like. Immediately, the boy rushed into the shop and paid the asking price for his boat. On leaving the shop, the boy looked admiringly at his boat and said “Now you are mine twice over. I made you, and now I have bought you back again. I have redeemed you.”

That is a picture of what God has done for us. He made us and therefore owns us, but because of our sin, we became lost and separated from Him. But in His love, God sent Jesus to buy us back, to redeem us. And the price Jesus paid? – His own blood that He shed on the cross. So although at Christmas we remember the coming of Jesus to earth, we must also think of Easter and remember the purpose of His coming, to redeem us to God.

Special Christmas Present for Jesus

11994116-kids-christmasStart by having the kid’s think of kind, loving deeds they have done throughout the year for others and have them to write them down on slips of paper. When you have given them enough time to do this, have them deposit them into an easy to open, pre-wrapped Christmas Gift for Jesus. This is a great visual that shows them that the kind things we do for others all year long, we do for Him. (Matthew 25:35-40). Close by thanking God for His indescribable gift to us and for chances to share His love with others. A great challenge for the kids is to see how full they can get next year’s Christmas gift for Jesus.

Mad Libs Christmas Story

0612st_01_z+christmas_mad_libs+fruit_cake_top_viewFor a fun way to teach the kids the Christmas Story try a Mad Lib.  Put the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke on poster board ahead of time and leave blank some of the names, places, and actions. Then, at the beginning of the lesson, ask different kids to give you the name of a girl, a town, a government leader, etc. Write their answers in the blanks on the poster board. Once you’ve filled in all the blanks, hang up the poster boards and read it aloud together. The kids will crack up over this. (Make sure the kids don’t know ahead of time what story you are asking these questions for). Then have everyone open their Bibles to Luke and go back over the story and fill in the correct version and explain it to the kids. It’s a great way to keep the interest of kids who know the story of Jesus’ birth and explain it to new kids at the same time.

Christmas Quiz

A_Kim_Possible_Nativity_Scene_by_drakkenfanAn elimination quiz about Christmas:

In order to check how well children are understanding their Bible lessons, use an elimination quiz to check test them out. I ask the class questions, and give two alternative answers. If a child gets the wrong answer, they are eliminated. I keep going until there are only a few successful children left. In order to ensure that the children do not copy each other, I get them to close their eyes as they are answering the question. I say “Put your hand up, if you think the answer is ‘A’, and keep it down if you think it is ‘B’.  The last kids standing wins mini candy canes.

Here is an Elimination quiz for Christmas. Remember, it is better to ask for the ‘best’ or ‘most correct’ answers.

1. In what town was Jesus born?
A. Bethlehem. B. Nazareth.

2. What country is Bethlehem in?
A. Egypt. B. Israel.

3. What was the name of Jesus’ mother?
A. Elizabeth. B. Mary.

4. Who was the father of Jesus?
A. Joseph. B. God.

5. What was the name of Mary’s husband?
A. John. B. Joseph.

6. In what type of building was Jesus born?
A. An inn. B. A stable.

7. What was Jesus placed in after he was born?
A. A bed. B. A manger.

8. What is a Manger? A.
A cattle’s eating or drinking trough. B. A place for storing straw.

9. Who first announced the birth of Jesus?
A. Angels. B. The King.

10. To whom did the Angels announce the birth of Jesus to?
A. The wise men. B. Some shepherds.

11. How many wise men were there?
A. Three. B. We don’t know.

12. How did the wise men find out where Jesus was?
A. They followed a star. B. The shepherds told them.

13. How many gifts did the wise men bring?
A. Three. B. Five.

14. About how long ago was Jesus born?
A. 2,000 years. B. 10,000 years.

15. Why was Jesus born?
A. To teach us about God. B. To die for our sins.

16. Is Jesus alive today?
A. Yes. B. No.

Bible Story: David

Pink-Ballet-Shoes-pink-color-34590495-1050-750PROPS: Dancing shoes (tap, ballet, etc.)

Do any of you have a pair of shoes like this? What are these shoes used for?

There are all kinds of shoes for dancing. Ballet dancers have special slippers that give them
flexibility and help them move more gracefully. On the other extreme, there are tap shoes
and clogs. These shoes are made to make noise when you move.

Whatever your style of dance, there’s a perfect shoe, isn’t there?

There aren’t too many passages in the Bible about dancing, but there is one involving one
of the most famous men in the Bible, David. David had just become king of Israel after
many years of running and hiding from the former king, Saul. He was a long way from the
boy who killed Goliath. He was a grown man, a married man, the most powerful man
in Israel.

So why was David dancing? Because he was praising God!

David had decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant, the most sacred treasure in all of
Israel, to the capital city of Jerusalem. This was an occasion for worship and celebration,
and David was front and center leading the worship. The Bible tells us he was half-naked,
dancing and singing and praising the Lord.

Can you imagine the president, the mayor of our town, or even our pastor leading a parade
and dancing? It seems a little undignified, doesn’t it? These are people who are supposed
to look professional, mature, and serious. People in power don’t dance half-naked down the
street, do they?

That’s exactly what David’s wife Michal said when he went home that day. She yelled at him
for dancing and praising God! She told him straight out: You made a fool of yourself today.
But you know what David told her? He told her he didn’t care! He danced for one person
and one person only, and that was the Lord. In fact, he told his wife, “I will become even
more undignified than this!”

David loved God more than anyone. He cared what God thought more than what his wife or
anyone else thought. That’s a challenge for all of us, isn’t it?

Whose opinion matters most to you: your parents’, your friends’, or Jesus’?

To download this story, click here:  David-Dancing-Shoes

Bible Story: Elijah

PROP:  A toilet

Did you know that there is potty humor in the Bible? Your Sunday school teachers
probably forgot to tell you that. Or maybe they didn’t know. But there’s a really great
potty joke in the Bible, and most people never, ever notice it.

It happened during a confrontation between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of
Baal. Baal was the popular god in Israel during the reign of King Ahab and Queen
Jezebel. God had had enough of people worshipping Baal, so he sent Elijah to
challenge Baal and his followers.

The challenge was simple: Each side would build an altar and make a sacrifice.
They would then call on their god to send fire from heaven to burn up the sacrifice.
Elijah was nice enough to let the prophets of Baal go first. They started early in
the morning, worshipping and crying out to Baal for fire. For hours and hours, they
danced and called on their god. But Baal never answered.

Elijah sat back and watched as the prophets danced and called on their god. Then
Elijah did something you might expect to see at a sporting event today: He started to
trash talk the prophets of Baal! “Shout louder!” he said. “Maybe Baal is asleep and he
can’t hear you!”

Then Elijah said something else. The literal translation of Elijah’s words is “Maybe
he has gone aside.” Most Bible translations change these words to “Maybe Baal has
gone on a trip.” But in the original language, “gone aside” is a slang phrase, and it
does not mean “gone on a trip.”

Elijah was saying, “Maybe Baal is on the toilet!”

Now those are fighting words, right?

Of course Baal wasn’t on the toilet, and he wasn’t asleep. He wasn’t there at all—
exactly the point Elijah was trying to make. When Elijah’s turn came, he built his altar,
made a sacrifice, and had buckets and buckets of water poured over both. He said
one prayer, and foom! Fire fell from the sky and devoured the sacrifice.

It’s a great reminder that our God is a real God. He listens, and he answers our
prayers. And God will not take a backseat to false gods that we make up on our own.
So next time you take a seat on your “throne,” take a moment to thank God for the
reminder that he is still on his throne. (No, I don’t mean the toilet!)

To download this story, click here:  Elijah-Toilet

Bible Story: Gideon

pink-fleece-blanket2PROP: A fleece blanket

Does anyone have a blanket like this at home? This blanket is made of fleece, and even back
in Old Testament times, it was not uncommon for people to have fleece in their homes.
Fleece is a very soft, very warm fabric, and it just so happens that a fleece blanket plays a
key role in the story of Gideon.

Gideon lived during the time of the judges—a period that follows the Israelites’ arrival in
Canaan but comes before the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel. God had allowed the
Israelites to fall captive to their enemies as punishment for their sins. When the Israelites
cried out to God, God called on Gideon.

Now Gideon wasn’t exactly the kind of guy you’d figure for a world leader. He was not from
a powerful or important family, but God doesn’t always call on the “important” people. God
knew Gideon was the perfect man for the job. The problem was that Gideon didn’t believe
he was the man for any job!

When God called Gideon to save Israel, Gideon put him to the test. He set a fleece outside
and prayed to God. He told God, “If you want me to save Israel, then in the morning, there
will be dew in the blanket but none on the ground.” The next morning, Gideon saw that the
blanket was wet but the ground was dry!

Would one test have been enough for you to believe God? Believe it or not, it wasn’t
enough for Gideon. The next night, he asked God to make the ground wet but leave the
blanket dry! God passed the test once more.

Some people today would look at Gideon and say, “Well, he just didn’t have enough faith!”
But there’s a valuable lesson in Gideon’s testing God. Too many people today run out
and try to do God’s will without ever asking God what he wants! They say, “I will start a
Christian band!” or “I will start a Christian TV show!” or “I will start my own ministry.” Are
their motives right? If they want to serve God, then yes. But just because you want to do
something doesn’t mean that it’s God’s will!

God has a plan for all of us, but finding that plan can sometimes feel like a series of tests.
Oftentimes when we try and fail, we want to blame God. But maybe those are the times
when God is simply saying, “No, this isn’t my plan. My plan is over here.”

Gideon didn’t dare do anything until he knew for sure it was God’s plan. And while we
shouldn’t get into the habit of testing God, we need to take every thought and every idea
captive, praying to God and asking, “Is this your will or mine?” If it’s yours, then let it go. It
it’s the Lord’s, then go, and get ready to see God move.


To download this story, click here:  Gideon-Blanket

Bible Story: Joseph

corn_on_the_cobPROPS: An ear of corn
Corn is one of the most amazing crops we have. Corn can be used to make all sorts of useful
products: ethanol fuel, shaving cream, paper products, rugs, paint, glue, aspirin, toothpaste,
cleaning products, and of course…all kinds of food.

Corn served another purpose back in the book of Genesis: It saved an entire nation!

You see, the ruler of Egypt, Pharaoh, had a dream. Two dreams, in fact. In one dream, he saw
seven skinny cows devour seven fat cows. He then saw seven shrunken, shriveled ears of corn
devour seven fat, delicious ears of corn. These dreams troubled Pharaoh, and he did not know
what they meant!

When Pharaoh’s butler heard about the dream, he told him about a prisoner he had met when
Pharaoh had thrown the butler in jail. The prisoner’s name was Joseph, and he was from the land
of Canaan. Joseph had interpreted a dream for the butler, and the butler believed he could also
interpret the Pharaoh’s dream.

Joseph was brought before Pharaoh, and sure enough, Joseph interpreted the dream. There
would be seven years of good harvests, followed by seven years of severe famine. Pharaoh was
so impressed with Joseph that he made him his second-in-command and put Joseph in charge of
storing food for the famine. By the time the famine struck, Joseph had stored enough food to get
the entire nation of Egypt through the famine!

But Egypt is not the nation I was talking about at the beginning of the story! You see, Joseph
was the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, whom God had promised to make a
mighty nation. Joseph was one of 11 sons of Jacob, and in case you’re wondering how he came to
be in jail in Egypt, I’ll tell you: His brothers had sold him into slavery!

Joseph was the favorite son. His father loved him more than all the rest and made no secret of his
favoritism. Not only that, but Joseph also had several dreams that one day his brothers would bow
down before him. You can almost understand why his brothers hated him so much, can’t you?
But then, one day, Joseph’s brothers did bow down before Joseph. The famine hurt them too,
and their father sent them to beg for food. Joseph could have refused. He could have put them in
prison or worse without even giving them a trial. He was, after all, the second most powerful man
in Egypt! But Joseph knew that God had allowed everything to happen so that Joseph could save
his family—a family that would become the nation of Israel.

It’s not always easy to love your siblings, especially when they do you wrong. But God put them in
your life for a reason, the same way he put Joseph in his brothers’ lives. Be thankful for the siblings
you have. Love them, and always be willing to forgive them. A lot of friends and people will come
and go in your life, but your brothers and sisters will always be your brothers and sisters. And you
never know—you just may need them one day!

To download this story, click here:Joseph-Corn

Bible Story: Job

broken-potteryPROPS: Pieces of broken pottery

Can anyone tell me what today’s object is—or should I say, was? This used to be something
very useful; it was part of a pot that held a flower or some other plant. But now—now it’s
nothing but a broken shard, good for nothing but to be thrown away.

There’s a story in the Bible, however, in which a man found a different use for broken
pottery. His name was Job, and he was one of the richest men in the world. Job owned
hundreds of animals. He had a big house, lots of land, and a huge family. More importantly,
Job was a man who loved God. He loved God so much that the devil went to see the Lord
about Job. He told God the only reason Job loved God was because God had blessed him
so much. So God allowed Job to be tested.

In one day, everything Job had was taken away. Everything he had was stolen, and all of his
children died! Job remained faithful to God, so the devil asked God to test him further. Job
got sick and had sores all over his body. The Bible says the pain of the sores was so bad
that the only way he could get relief was by scratching his sores with broken pottery.

Can you imagine being in that much pain over your whole body? Job was miserable. His
wife told him he should curse God and die. His friends told him that he probably had done
something to offend God. But Job knew he had done nothing wrong!

But even through all that suffering, Job did not sin. He did not curse God. He knew that the
one thing that could never be taken from him was his faith in God. Only he could give that
up, and Job refused to let go. He didn’t know that God would restore everything he had and
then some. (And God did when Job’s test was over.) He just knew that God was still there,
and he refused to let go.

You know, when this pottery was intact, it would have made a nice pot for some flowers. In
the New Testament, Jesus talks about the flowers. They have no way of making clothing for
themselves, and yet God clothes them in the most beautiful of colors.

Like the flowers, Job did not worry about losing his possessions or even his life. Even when
all he had to relieve his pain was broken pottery, he trusted the Lord.

Let’s pray that God will give us the faith to trust him, no matter what our circumstances,
and to always remain faithful!

To download this story, click here:   Job-BrokenPottery