November 14 – December 12, 2004


Praising Puppets



Scripture:  Matthew 1:18-25, 2:13-15; Luke 1:26-28, 2:1-7  CEV


Memory Verse:         “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:11, KJV



  • Jesus is both human and God.
  • Jesus has many important names: Son of God, Son of the Most High, Son of David, Immanuel, Christ the Lord, Son of Man, the Messiah.



The children will learn that Jesus is both human and God.  They will also learn that Jesus has many names, as a result of being who he is (both God and man) and then learn what some of those names mean.



Welcome and Introductions:

1.     Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your nametag. Make sure the children are wearing nametags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.

2.     Explain the purpose of this workshop.  For example, “Today we’re going to visit some puppet children who don’t know what Christmas is really about.  Then we’re going to stop in on Mrs. Samantha’s (or Mr. Sam’s) Bible study classroom where puppets have been learning about the birth of Jesus and about his different names.  First, we will read some parts of the Bible that tell the story of the birth of Jesus.”  


Bible Story: 

Before starting the story, you can give some background.  Example discussion follows.


The story I am going to read today comes from two different books of the Bible.  These books are Matthew and Luke.  These books have a special name.  Does anyone know what they are called?  Gospels  What does “Gospel” mean? Good News—these books are the good news about Jesus—how he came to save us.  These books have the story of Jesus in them, so would they be in the New Testament or the Old Testament?  New  There are two other books that are considered Gospels.  Does anyone know what there names are?  Mark and John.


(Workshop Leader:  The following Bible story is combined from the scriptures listed above.  The parts have been arranged to tell a chronological story and a few non-Biblical lines in italics have been added for clarity.  The Bible parts are from the CEV.  You probably do not want to encourage the children to read along in their Bibles because it would be hard to follow.  The scripture references are included for your information, but I would not suggest reading them out loud.)



This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph from King David's family. But before they were married, she learned that she was going to have a baby by God's Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18) 


…God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David. The angel greeted Mary and said, "You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you."  (Luke 1:26b-28) 


(This was strange for Joseph and he was thinking about not marrying Mary.)

Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding. While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, "Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, "A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel," which means "God is with us."
After Joseph woke up, he and Mary were soon married, just as the Lord's angel had told him to do. But they did not sleep together before her baby was born.  (Matthew 1:19-25a)


About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books. These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David's hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David's family.

Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)


Then Joseph named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:25b)


(Some time passed, during which the wise men came and visited.)


After the wise men had gone, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Hurry and take the child and his mother to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is looking for the child and wants to kill him."  That night, Joseph got up and took his wife and the child to Egypt, where they stayed until Herod died. So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said, "I called my son out of Egypt."  (Matthew 2:13-15)

Discussion after the Bible Story:


Some of us have heard the story of Jesus’ birth many times, but each time we hear it, we may learn something more.  Who was Jesus’ mother?  Mary  So what does that make him?  Try to get all these answers—Human, Human baby, Boy, Man… The story told us that God was Jesus’ father – what does this tell us about who Jesus is?  Jesus is God.  So we know that Jesus is both God and human. (This is a difficult concept for children – most will have trouble making this connection.  Rather than dwell on the idea, acknowledge the point and the children’s thoughts and then continue with the lesson.)  Who was Jesus’ earthly father?  Joseph – we know from the rest of scripture that Joseph raised Jesus as his son.


What about Jesus’ name?  Did anyone hear in the story who gave him that name?  An angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him to name Mary’s baby Jesus.  Then Joseph did name him Jesus.  Let’s read that Bible part again:  “…an angel from the Lord came to Joseph in a dream.  The angel said, ‘Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit.  Go ahead and marry her.  Then after he baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’  I wonder why the angel said to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins?   Any ideas?  I doubt that anyone will have the correct answer, but Jesus’ name in its original language is Yahshua, which means in Hebrew “God Saves.”  Jesus was named God Saves because God provided his son as the way that we can be saved.


Were their any other names for Jesus mentioned in this Bible story?  Immanuel, which means “God is with us.”




Note:  There are 4 skits with differing numbers of characters in each (4,4,4,5 plus leader).  You may have to repeat one or more of the skits to give everyone a chance to perform.   


1)     The puppets can already be out on a table.  Let the children line up to choose a puppet.

2)     If the group has not worked with puppets, you can allow a few minutes of practicing. 

  1. Ask the children to divide into pairs. If there is an odd number, a group of three will be fine. 
  2. Have one of the pair do the action or emotion that you suggest and the other person watch.  Instruct the “watchers” to make any needed suggestions such as, “make bigger movements with the puppet” “do not turn the puppet’s head so much” etc. Examples of things you can practice with the puppets are:                                          

·        “Show how your puppet looks when it is speaking quietly.”                              

·       “Show how your puppet looks when it is speaking loudly”                     

·        “Show what your puppet does when it is listening.”                               

·        “Show your puppet praying.”                                                                  

·       “Show your puppet turning to watch someone come, then someone go.”      

3)     Divide the children into groups for each skit.  Give each child a copy of their skit with their parts highlighted.  Allow the children 3-5 minutes to practice their lines.  Space out all the adults in the room to help with the script practice.  Grades 1&2: The shepherd and workshop leader should help with the words in the scripts.  If some child is not a strong reader, have an adult read the line in phrases and let the child repeat after the adult.

4)     Have the players perform each script on stage.  Try to encourage children to speak loudly so the skit can be heard.  If not, please repeat the main ideas of what they are saying after the skit.  If a child is uncomfortable reading their lines, a shepherd or workshop leader can read for them or give them the line and let them repeat it.

5)     After each skit, have the class sit down to discuss what happened. These skits are fairly straightforward.  If you do not feel that discussion is needed, go to the next skit.  The children can hold onto their puppets unless they are playing with puppets instead of listening.  In this case, have them put the puppets on the floor until it is their turn to perform.

6)     When all skits are finished, have the children line up to put their puppets away. 


Discussion Questions:

Skit 1:  What happened in this skit?  Children are more focused on presents that the true meaning of Christmas.  What is Christmas about?  Jesus.   Are presents OK?  Of course, they are a way we show our love for each other.


Skit 2:  What happened in this skit?  A family received a Nativity Scene.  Does anyone’s family have a Nativity Scene?  Have them raise hands; some may have something to say about it.   If you have one, does your family treat it as a very special thing?  May get any answer here, since there are breakable and unbreakable versions now.  Why do you think we have Nativity Scenes?  To remind us of Jesus’ birthday, the day God came down to be human.   


Skit 3:  Is it hard to wait for the time to open presents?  Yes!  Is church important to your family?  Must be or you wouldn’t be here.  Do we need to learn to wait for things like presents? 


Skit 4:  Probably no discussion needed.



If you still have time left, review the concepts covered and ask whether there are any questions. 


Reflection Time:

  1. If you finish and have time, ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers.  Ask the children to draw a picture for the story—it can just be of one small part of the story.   The workshop leader(s) and shepherd(s) can help parents by writing a caption on the picture.   
  2. At 10:45 a.m., ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer.
  3. Encourage the children to bring an offering next week. Remind them that it will go to the Christmas Joy Offering. Presbyterians all over the country give to this offering every Christmas. The money helps retired church workers, and it supports eight Presbyterian colleges.



Prayer:  Close with prayer.  Write your own or use this example.  Thank you God for giving us Jesus.  We now know that the name “Jesus” means “God saves” and we thank you for wanting to save us.  It is in the name of Jesus that we pray.


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up as they wait for their parents to arrive.  Close/lock the door and turn off the lights.


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.      Prayer is always a great way to start.  Pray for God to use you to teach what He wants taught during this workshop and scripture passages.  Pray for a loving and patient attitude toward the children.  Pray for time management during the workshop. 

2.     Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.

3.     Make copies of each script so that you have one for each player (and highlight their part on that one), one for you for and 1-2 for shepherds. 

4.     Practice your puppet part. 

5.      Prepare a closing prayer.

6.      Journal pages will be provided at the Bible Study or the first Sunday of the rotation.



Copies of the script


Props for skits (optional):  Nativity scene, box



Notes supplied by Lori Houck for curriculum writers' Bible study in June 2004.




Skit 1


Child1:  “Christmas is coming.  I am so excited.  I can’t wait to get all the presents I’ve asked for.”


Child2:  “Me too!  Christmas is my favorite day.  I’m getting about 10 different things from all my relatives.”


Parent1:  “It’s nice to get presents from relatives.  It’s their way of showing how much they love you on a very special day.  But Christmas is about more than presents.”


Child1:  “What else is there?”


Child2:  “There’s the food and the decorations.”


Parent2:  “Christmas is about Jesus first.  Christmas is the day that God came to earth in the form of a man named Jesus.  Jesus was both man and God.  Christmas is a time to celebrate how God loved us so much that he gave us his son, Jesus, to save us. ”


Parent1:   “When you’re opening presents, remember that the greatest gift is Jesus.”

Skit 2


Mother:  “We have a special present for the family.”


Father:  “We’re going to open it tonight even though it isn’t Christmas yet.”


Child1:  “What is it?  A big TV?”


Child2:  “A new computer?  A new car?  I hope it’s a trip to Disney World.”


Mother:   “Here’s the box.  Let’s open it.”


Child1:  “It’s a bunch of statues.”


Father:   “This is a Nativity Scene.” 


Child2:  “Why is this so special?” 


Mother:  “This is what Christmas is really about.  This Nativity Scene reminds us of the night that Jesus was born.  Let’s look at some of the different pieces.”


Child1:  “Who is this lady?”

Father:  “That’s Mary.  She was Jesus’ mother.  She’s human like us.”


Child2:   “Who is this man?”


Mother:  “That’s Joseph.  He married Mary and helped to raise Jesus in a Godly family.  He made sure that Jesus had food to eat and he took Jesus to church so he could study what was their Bible back then.”


Child1:  “Where’s Jesus?”


Child2:  “Here’s the baby.  That must be Jesus.”


Father:   “Here are shepherd’s who came to see Jesus.  But there’s one person missing.  Jesus’ real father was God.  You can’t make a statue of God.  But Jesus is human and God because God is his father.”


Child1:  “This is a good present.  I like the baby Jesus.”


Child2:  “So this is what Christmas is really about?”


Mother:  “Yes, it’s the day that God came to earth to live with us as a man.”


Skit 3



Sister:  “It’s Christmas finally.  Can we open our presents now?”




Mother:  “Not yet.  We’re going to church this morning for a Christmas service.”


Brother:   “Church!  I want my presents.  I don’t want to go to church first.”


Father:  “We go to church to worship God and Jesus.  There wouldn’t be any Christmas or Christmas presents with Jesus.”


Skit 4


The workshop leader will probably want to be the puppet who is the teacher of the Bible study.  All the children in the workshop can be in the class and just let children try to answer the teacher’s questions or if there are children who have not yet been in a skit or were in a short skit, they can be given the student parts.


Mrs. Samantha (or Mr. Sam):   “In this story we learned that an angel told Joseph to name Mary’s baby what?”


Student1:  “Jesus.”


Mrs. Samantha (or Mr. Sam):   “Does anyone know what that name means?”


Student2:  “God saves.”


Mrs. Samantha (or Mr. Sam):   “Are you wondering what God is saving?”


Student3:  “Maybe he is saving us.”


Mrs. Samantha (or Mr. Sam):   “You are right.  God is saving us from our sins.  Also in our story, there was a name for Jesus that a prophet used.  Anyone remember that?”


Student4:  “Immanuel.”


Mrs. Samantha (or Mr. Sam):   “Great.  What does that name mean?  Does anyone know?”


Student5:  “In the story, it said it meant ‘God is with us.’ ”


Mrs. Samantha (or Mr. Sam):   “Yes, that’s right.  And what a wonderful name for Jesus, because when Jesus was born, he really was ‘God with us’ because he was both God and human. ”