Sharing the Christmas Story

 

 

C hristmas is significantly more than just a festive holiday for those who understand the true meaning of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, our world is overflowing with people who know only of the hustle and bustle, parties, Santa Claus and shopping. In some countries, the delight of honoring the birth of the eternal Savior is overshadowed or forgotten. 

God gives Christian parents the responsibility to make clear to a child the real reason for gifts and celebrations at Christmas. Reading or telling the Christmas story to your children is invaluable because they learn much from their parents’ attitude and lifestyle throughout the holiday season. Start teaching the truths of Christ’s birth at an early age to help your child discern the valuable parts of the Christmas celebration.

 

 

Read

Discuss

Sing

Step 1: Read the Story

Click on the text below to use scripture references to share the Christmas story through the Old and New Testaments.

1. A Savior King is Promised

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, andwill call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
2. The Angel Visits Mary
Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
3. The Angel Visits Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
4. The Trip to Bethlehem and The Stable Lodging

Luke 2:1-5

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

 

5. The Christ Child is Born

Luke 2:6-7

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

6. The Angels Visit the Shepherds
Luke 2:8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
7. The Shepherds Visit the Manger
Luke 2:15-18
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
8. The Wise Men Travel to Jerusalem
Matthew 2:1-8
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9. The Wise Men Worship the Christ Child

Matthew 2:9-12

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

10. The Trip to Egypt
Matthew 2:13-15
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Step 2: Discuss the Story

After telling a story, allow your preschool child to talk about what she has heard. Ask her questions.

  • What is the name of Jesus’ mother?
  • Who is Jesus’ Father?
  • Where did God promise that the Savior King would be born?

Let her ask you questions. Talk about the characters in the story.

  • What do you think the angel looked like?
  • What kind of a person do you think Mary was?
  • How did the wise men look?

Talk about what God did and what the people did. Letting your child talk about the story helps her remember it and helps you perceive what she has understood and what needs further clarification.

For older children:

  • Ask questions concerning the response of individuals to the announcement of Jesus’ birth.
  • Compare them with the response of individuals today.
  • Include specific ways your family can be like the shepherds, the Magi, Mary and Joseph.

Step 3: Sing Christmas Carols

Singing Christmas carols together is another effective way to teach and reinforce the truths of Christ’s birth. Using your church hymnal or a book of Christmas music, select pieces that reiterate the focus of each day’s section of the Christmas story.

Sing a different carol with each reading. After introducing several, allow your child to request and sing favorite ones with you. Talk about the words. Playing a recording of clearly sung pieces throughout Advent will help your child become familiar with and cherish the music of Christmas. 

Planning a time to sing carols in the neighborhood will help reinforce the story of Christmas and give the opportunity to tell the good news to your neighbors.

Joy to the World

by Slugs & Bugs | A Slugs & Bugs Christmas

Music courtesey of:

A Slugs & Bugs Christmas

Helpful Hints

Choose a Time

Designate more than one time to teach your child about the first Christmas. You cannot expect to sit down one night, tell your child of the birth of Christ, kiss him good night and assume you have accomplished your aim. Such significant truth demands repetition and clarification over days, weeks, months and years. Select a time, such as after meals or at bedtime. Begin early in December, and establish a meaningful plan for sharing the Christmas narrative.

Plan the Content

Plan to take a number of times to cover the entire Christmas story from beginning to end. Divide the story into small parts. The younger your child, the smaller the parts should be.

Tell the Story

Using the suggested divisions and Scripture references, tell the Christmas story to your preschool child. Hold your Bible, or his, as you speak. Use words he can understand. Watch his expressions. Be factual, but make the story come alive. Use dialogue and descriptions, but be brief. Allow your school-age child to read aloud the story from the Bible to you. If you have preschool and school-age children, your older child may enjoy telling the story to the younger child.

Include Biblical Truths

As you read and tell the story, incorporate the biblical truths that you want your child to begin to understand and believe. Insert a truth in the story line, in the midst of an action sequence or after a descriptive scene rather than by lecturing before or after the story.

Read aloud from Scripture

In addition to telling the Christmas story to yourpreschool child, it is extremely significant and appropriate to read portions of it to him from the Bible. Many parents who read Luke 2:1-20 daily throughout the Advent seasonare delighted to discover their children — young and old— have memorized the Scripture just by hearing it read.

Memorize Verses

As you talk about the true meaning of Christmas, introduce your child to the promise God made in Isaiah 9:6 and the record of the fulfillment of that promise in Luke 2:11. Whether you are able to read Scripture aloud together as a family or not, make every attempt to help your child memorize these two verses of Scripture — Isaiah 9:6 and Luke 2:11.

Repeat the Story

As with any good and favorite story, your child is likely to ask you to “tell it again.” Be ready to repeat this wonderful story. Take your time in the telling and retelling of each portion. Repetition is a tool for learning. Encourage your children of all ages to tell it to you or to tell parts of it to you. Let the beauty of the gift of Christmas be seen in the attitude you hold toward even the telling of the story.

Use Bible Story Books

Sometimes parents are reluctant to tell a story to their child because they feel self-conscious or unskilled as storytellers. Do not let this keep you from teaching your child about Christmas. There are many fine story Bibles with factual presentations of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ you can use. Read through the story prior to reading it to your child. If the truths you want to teach are not included, ask God to show you how and where to insert them. Pencil in the extra thoughts you plan to read. Begin with, “This is a story from the Bible,” then eagerly andenthusiastically read the story to your child.

Ask God to reveal the best way for you to begin this year to teach the truths of Christmas to your child. Telling (or reading) the Christmas story during the Advent season can become a tradition your children will anticipate and treasure as the years pass. Perhaps your entire family will be able to recite it together on Christmas morning as a gift to the Savior! 

69 Comments

  1. Thank you for the sharing ! I really need it at sunday school. God still bless all of you!

  2. Is there a print version of this? Paper portable?

    • Would like a printed version for personal use and church.

    • Please omit my question.

  3. Thank you for outlining the facts in the Christmas story and for pointing out that the story should be told every year.

  4. Thank you for this tool, a wonderful way to share the gospel through the Christmas story.

  5. Hood story to share with the children. Thank you.

  6. Spiritual attacks – the enemy is trying to take me out while I am diligent in obedience to spread Jesus’ Good News. Desperately needed prayers for protections and prayers for God to intervene, miraculously soften people’s hearts, souls, and minds.

    • Praying for you Helen.

  7. Amazing! I enjoyed this greatly. It helped me to understand, as well as gave me great insight. This is a wonderful and informative way to share the Christmas story with children. Thank you!

  8. Very helpful. Was looking for something new to share with our Sunday school. Came just on time. Will share with students on Sunday.

  9. Awesome thankyou

  10. Will definitely use when I am teaching the 2-4 year olds at my church this next Sunday. I plan for them to set up our colorful play manger with all the animals, people, angels and retell the story.

  11. Wonderful!

  12. Thank you for this amazing tool for teaching my grandchildren

  13. I am so impressed. What a fantastic job. Thank you for sharing this tool. Many people have forgotten what Christmas is all about. It’s about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The gift of God not man. Many have changed it into a “Santa Claus” holiday, honoring Santa instead of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

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