247 - Escape to Egypt


15 minute Story planner

Matthew 2
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, page 284
For a printable version of the story see ‘Nazareth’ 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 four

Remind the children of the story they heard last week. Talk about the wise men visiting Jesus in Bethlehem. Remind the children that jealous King Herod asked where Jesus and his family were living, but God warned the wise men in a dream not to return to King Herod.

Read today's story through first before telling it to the children. If using the Children's Bible you may wish to adapt the story for your group. You could miss out the phrase ‘in order to kill him’ from the second paragraph, then miss the section beginning ‘Now he would have to think...’ and ending with ‘what sadness and tears there were because of Herod's cruelty!’ Finally miss out the sentence ‘The ones who wanted to kill the child are dead’. Alternatively use the story in the Printables section.

2. Starter question - 1 min  
Do you like busy, noisy, cities bustling with people, or do you like quiet villages? Did you know that cities can have millions of people living in them? Some cities have rows of shops surrounded by hundreds of houses while villages may have only a few houses, a school, a shop and a church.

There is a big city in Israel called Nazareth. The city is full of noisy activity with thousands of people living there. But Nazareth hasn't always been busy. Two thousand years ago it was just a small town. Some people even described it as a village. It was around that time that a young lady called Mary and a young man called Joseph lived there.

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins

  • Beware of allergies - make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle the food used in this activity

  • Pictures of houses from the time of Jesus, possibly from a children's picture Bible

  • A piece of wood and some sandpaper

  • A jar of olives

  • A bag of flour and a bunch of grapes

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 - Picture presentation
Put together a short presentation of images downloaded from the internet; include pictures of Nazareth today, the hills that surround the city and pictures that show what the town may have looked like 2000 years ago. Add to the presentation pictures of olive trees and vines. Be aware of copyright; make sure you comply with regulations.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins

Father God we think about the story. We imagine Joseph taking his family on the long journey to Egypt. We imagine Mary holding the Baby Jesus close as they travelled along the bumpy roads. Father we remember that you kept each one of them safe. Father we pray for people today that have travelled far from their homes we pray that you watch over them and keep them safe too.

Father we think of the family returning home to Nazareth. We imagine Jesus growing up in the small town. We think of him being the age that we are today. Father we thank you that Jesus knows what it is to live on earth as a child... a teenager... and a young person.

Father we thank you that we can speak to you about every part of our life knowing that you are aware of how we feel and what it is like to be our age.

Father we remember that as Jesus grew stronger and taller he also grew in wisdom. Father we pray that as we grow over the coming year, that we not only grow taller and stronger but we grow wiser too. 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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