The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy.” Luke 2:10

Week 2.jpg

Week 2 objective: to think about God choosing the shepherds to be among the first to hear that Jesus, the Messiah had been born.

Game - 7 mins
Aims: to play a game about looking after sheep before talking about the angel appearing to shepherds.
You will need: lots of balloons, preferably white and about five per child, a permanent black marker pen, a sample sheep face (see Printables) a large rope or masking tape.

Carefully draw a sheep face on each of the balloon (see Printables for a sample face to copy). Position the rope in a circle or stick tape to the floor to make a large square. This will be the sheep pen.

Explain to the children that the aim of the game is to catch ‘sheep’ and put them safely in the pen. To demonstrate, place a sheep-balloon in the ‘pen’. A wolf, however, will keep taking the ‘sheep’ out. Pick up the sheep-balloon and throw it out of the pen. Explain that the ‘wolf’ can reach into the pen but he/she is not allowed to step in or kick the balloons. When the children understand how to play, ask for a volunteer to be the wolf. The remaining children will be the shepherds. Scatter the sheep-balloons around your teaching space, making sure they are all outside the pen.

Give the signal for the game to begin and encourage the shepherds to start picking up the balloons and placing them in the pen. Meanwhile the wolf needs to grab the sheep and throw them out. After sixty seconds (or less) shout stop and count how many sheep remain in the pen. This will be the shepherd's score. Ask for a new volunteer to be the wolf and play the game again.

Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a whiteboard or large sheet of paper, marker pens, a Bible, a ‘message sign’ and ‘Messiah sign’ (see Printables), a piece of A4 card and a glue stick.

Before the session stick the ‘message sign’ to one side of the piece of card and the ‘Messiah sign’ to the other.

Write the verse on a sheet of paper or whiteboard. Ask one of the children to find the verse in a Bible. Circle the word ‘Luke’ and remind the children that Luke was writing about a group of shepherds.

Draw a hill on your paper or whiteboard. Explain that Luke describes the shepherds watching their sheep in a field outside Bethlehem. Draw some sheep on the hill. Suddenly an angel appeared in front of the shepherds and God’s glory shone around them. Draw an angel with a triangular body, two triangles for wings and a circle for his head. Luke tells us that the shepherds were extremely frightened but ‘The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy.”’ Point to the verse as you read it aloud.

Circle the word ‘message’. Ask the children if they can remember what the angel’s message was. Respond positively to the children’s answers. Show the children the ‘message sign’. Explain that the angel told the shepherds that the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem. Show the children the ‘Messiah sign’. Remind the children that the Messiah was the special person God had promised to send to his people. Later the shepherds would find the baby lying in a manger just as the angel had described. They would discover the baby was called Jesus and they would pass on the message to others that this tiny baby was the Messiah.

Explain to the children that at the time Luke wrote his book shepherds were poor and often thought of as unimportant. However the Bible shows us that God included them in the celebrations that night. He chose them to pass on the angel’s message about this special baby. It would have been a huge surprise for people that the shepherds were the first to hear about the birth of the Messiah. Ask the children why they think God chose the shepherds. You might like to talk about God showing his great love by choosing those others thought were unimportant. You could also talk about Jesus as a grown up: Jesus made people feel special, he included people that had been left out and looked after the poor and lonely, he showed people God loved them more than they could ever imagine. When we think about these things perhaps it doesn’t seem so surprising that God chose shepherds to hear the good news about Jesus’ birth.

Song - 2 mins
To the tune of ‘The big ship sailed through the alley-alley-o’.

The angel said ‘now don't be afraid’,
‘Don't be afraid’, x 2
The angel said ‘now don't be afraid,
I have some good news for you.’

It’s a message that will fill everyone with joy,
Everyone with joy, x 2
It’s a message that will fill everyone with joy,
Fill everyone with joy.

You could do some simple actions: wag your finger as you sing ‘don't be afraid’. Hold your hands to receive a gift as you sing ‘good news for you’. Squat down then jump up as you sing ‘fill everyone with joy’.

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