15 minute Story planner
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 280
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 ever enjoy sitting somewhere quiet? Perhaps a hushed, calm corner, where you can be on your own. What might you do in your quiet space? Think? Wonder? Talk to God?
3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
A toy sheep
A long piece of silver tinsel to represent the angel’s wings
‘Don’t be frightened.’ speech bubble (see Printables)
A doll and a small blanket (a white pillow case would be appropriate)
Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web
4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy colouring in this week's Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)
Option 2 - Sorting sheep
You will need: Plain sheep and spotty sheep pictures (see Printables), lively music (preferably Christmassy) and the means to play it.
Follow the instructions to prepare the sheep pictures. You will need around 25 completed pictures i.e. with a plain sheep on one side and a spotty sheep on the other.
Spread the pictures out on the floor in the middle of the room. Make sure you have the same number of spotty sheep as plain sheep facing upwards. Divide your group into two teams. Nominate one team to be the shepherds of the spotty sheep and the other to be the shepherds of the plain sheep. The shepherds need to run around turning the pictures over so that their sheep are uppermost. Try to discourage children from ‘guarding’ sheep and stopping opposing shepherds turning the pictures over by explaining that the children must keep moving.
Play the music while the children are running around. After one minute or so, stop the music and count the number of spotty sheep and the number of plain sheep facing uppermost. The shepherds with the most sheep uppermost are the winners.
5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father God we think about the story. We imagine the shepherds surrounded by darkness on the hillside. We remember that at that time they were considered unimportant but you chose to share the wonderful news of Jesus' birth with them first. Thank you that you see everybody as important and special.
Father we think of the choir of angels singing of your greatness as they lit up the sky. We imagine the shepherds' fear as the darkness turned into brilliant light and their surprise as your shining angels told them the good news.
Father we picture the shepherds running into town, out of breath and not caring who they met, just desperate to see the special Baby. Father we think of Mary's great joy and surprise as the visitors gathered around the Baby Jesus. Father we thank you that today we can know the same joy and excitement as we discover more about Jesus and enjoy spending each day with him as our close friend. 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...