244 - The shepherds’ story (Popcorn sheep)


15 minute Story planner

Luke 2
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 280
For a printable version of today’s story see ‘The Shepherds’ in this week’s Printables.

1. Setting the scene - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about 'The life of Jesus FlashCards' cards one to three

At the time when Jesus was born shepherds were very poor and often thought of as not important. In the summer months they slept outside taking it in turns to watch the sheep, keeping them safe from thieves and wild animals.

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Do you like camping? Spending all day in the open air? Cooking on a camp fire and curling up in a sleeping bag at the end of the day?

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • Something small to do with camping such as a mallet or torch

  • A large piece of fabric to represent a cloak

  • ‘Innkeeper’ speech bubbles (see Printables)

  • A doll and a small blanket (a white pillowcase would be appropriate)

  • A long piece of silver tinsel to represent angel’s wings

Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web

4. Story activity - 6 mins

Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - Meet the shepherd
You will need a tea towel and a tie.

A few days before the session ask a helper to investigate the life of a shepherd at the time of Jesus. A lot of information can be found online.

During the session ask the helper to dress up as a shepherd. They will need to place the tea towel on their head and secure it with a tie.

After you have told the story using the props listed above, encourage the children to ask the ‘shepherd’ questions about their lifestyle. You could ask some pre-planned questions too.

Spend some time discussing different questions with the children. Talk about the questions they might have asked the shepherds who visited Jesus. These could include questions such as ‘How did you feel when you saw an angel in the middle of the night?’ ‘Did you take a present for the Baby Jesus?’ ‘What did Mary say to you?’ Ask the children to discuss what they think the answers might have been.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father God we think about the shepherds in the fields watching their sheep. We remember that at that time they were seen as unimportant and yet you wanted them to be among the first to hear the wonderful news of your Son's birth.

Father we think about the shepherds running to Bethlehem. We think about them looking at the tiny baby in the manger. We imagine them wondering what this special person would one day do.

Father we thank you that today, when we think about Jesus' birth we can think about all the wonderful things he has done, how he showed us your love, taught us how to live and made a way for each of us to be forgiven. Thank you Father that because of Jesus everybody, everywhere can say 'Yes' to your love and forgiveness and become close friends with you. Amen.

With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.

Alongside this story, make the craft...

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