November 14–December 12, 2004


Apostle’s Playhouse



Scripture:  Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:13-15 and Luke 1:26-28 and 2:1-7        


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




·       God works through ordinary people who obey him.

·       Jesus has many important names:  Son of God, Son of the Most High, Son of David, Emmanuel, Christ the Lord, Son of Man, the Messiah.

·       Jesus came into the world to reveal God the Father.



·       To listen for whom the ordinary people are in the story and for the words right and left.

·       To work in small groups to create a tableau based on one part of the story.

·       To show ways in which Jesus reveals God the Father.



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.  Today we will be playing a game as we listen to the story.  At the end of the story, you will end up with a box that will determine your group and will have a question inside.  We will do something with the questions and then your group will work together to create a scene from the story.


Scripture/Bible Story:

Review the Bible story.  Have the children stand or sit in a circle on the floor.   Our story is retold by Elizabeth Adams from Eden UCC in Edwardsville, IL.  As you listen to the story you will also be playing a game.  I’m going to give you a little present.  Do not open it until the story is done and I tell you to open it.  In the story you will hear the words “right” and “left.”  Every time you hear the word right, pass your present to the right; every time you hear the word left, pass the present to the left.  The present you have at the end of the story is the one you will open.  Also listen for the names of the ordinary people in the story. 


Read aloud the following story:  (This lesson set is the copyrighted property of its author and may not be used for commercial purposes.)

Mary, Mother of Jesus
by Elizabeth Adams
Bible reference: Luke 1:26-56, 2:1-20 Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-12

God told the angel Gabriel to go to Nazareth, in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a carpenter named Joseph. Gabriel left right away to find Mary. When Gabriel came right to her, he said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you.” This type of greeting came out of left field. Mary was troubled. The angel said, ”Do not be afraid. You are right with God. You will give birth to a son called Jesus. God will give him the right-ful throne of his father David. Your relative Elizabeth will also have a child. Nothing is impossible with God.” The angel left Mary.

Mary soon left for her trip to visit Elizabeth. When Mary greeted Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s baby leaped right and left with joy as Elizabeth was filled right up with the Holy Spirit. Mary stayed right by Elizabeth’s side for three months until Elizabeth’s son was born. When the baby was to be circumcised on the eighth day, his father, Zechariah, wrote right down on a tablet that the baby’s name was John. Zechariah had been stricken mute by God for not believing the angel Gabriel nine months before. When Zechariah named his baby John as God had asked, his voice was restored. Zechariah spoke right up and sang a song to God. Through Zechariah, the Holy Spirit spoke, “And you, my child will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him ... to guide our feet onto the right path of peace.”

Mary left Elizabeth and Zechariah and returned right away to Nazareth to see the man she had left behind. When she told Joseph about her baby, he left her in disgust. But because he was a right-eous man, Joseph didn’t want to shame Mary or have her stoned to death as an adulterer. That night, Gabriel went right to him in a dream and convinced Joseph that Mary had been right about her story. Joseph married Mary and made her his right-ful wife.

Mary and Joseph left for Bethlehem to fulfill a decree from Caesar Augustus that said all men must return to his own families town to register for a census. Once Caesar had the right number of names, he could tax more people. While they were there, the right time came for the baby to be born. Joseph left Mary for a moment to look for the right place to rest, but there was no room left in the inn. Joseph found just the right place for a baby king to be born, a manger. Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and they gave him his right-ful name, Jesus. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel - which means God with us.”



After the story, have the children sit in a circle and hold the presents in their laps.  Ask them to name the ordinary people in the story and tell how they obeyed God and how God worked through them.  (Mary, who had the baby Jesus; Elizabeth, who had the baby John; Zechariah, who named Elizabeth’s baby John as God asked and the Holy Spirit spoke through him; Joseph, who married Mary)


Now ask the children to open their boxes.  In each box there will be a slip of paper with a question:  Who is the Son of God?; Who is Son of the Most High?; Who is the Son of David?;  Who is Emmanuel?;  Who is Christ the Lord?;  Who is The Son of Man?;  Who is the Messiah?.

Have one child read a question; then all may answer—Jesus.  Ask for someone who has a different question to read it aloud and again all may answer Jesus.  Repeat until all the different questions have been asked and answered. (Some children may have the same question depending on the size of the group; each different question only needs to be asked once, so not every child will have a turn to ask a question.)  Discuss how all the questions had a different, important name for Jesus, but that they are all Jesus. 


Next have the children look at the color of paper on which their questions are printed.  Have children divide into groups according to colors.  (Everyone with a red question, meet over here; all with blue, here, etc.)  Assign each group a paragraph of the story.  Ask them to create a tableau that shows their part of the story.  (A tableau is a still picture with the children posing as the people or objects in that particular part of the story)  Give them a few minutes to plan their picture and then share: Let the groups take turns showing their tableau and telling what part of the story it represents.  If time allows, you may want to arrange the groups in story sequence and let them present in that order.  


Older children:  Present the scenes out of order and then have children decide which order the groups should be in to fit the story.


Younger Children:  You may want to have children with the same question find each other and decipher the question together as levels may vary.



Reflection Time:

At 10:35 a.m. ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a sticker or some memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the story or activity.  The offering for this rotation sequence is the Joy Gift.


Prompts for journal writing: Make a list of the ordinary people you know who obey God and do God’s work.  (If children finish quickly, they may do the activity on the back of the journal page)


At 10:45 ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer.



Prayer:  Dear God, Thank You for showing yourself to us through your son Jesus, the Messiah.  Help us to obey You so that we may do your work.  Amen.


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help tidy up. Collect all the boxes and slips of paper with questions for the next class.  Close/lock the door and turn off the lights.


Teacher preparation in advance:

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

2.     Prepare a closing prayer.


Supply List

·       Approximately 21 small jewelry size gift boxes that have been pre-wrapped so that you can still open them.

·       The seven questions printed out three times each.  Use four different colors of paper.  Put one question in each box.

·       Copies of each paragraph of the story for the children to use as a reference as they create their tableaux.



·       Notes from Curriculum Writers Bible study prepared by Lori Houck.

·       “Mary, Mother of Jesus” workshop rotation set from Eden UCC, Edwardsville, IL;  written by Elizabeth Adams and posted at www.rotation .org.


Notes for using this lesson plan template: Words in italics refer to instructions for the author and are not intended to be part of the lesson plan product. Words not in italics are to be included in the regular lesson plan verbatim.