Try this lesson plan with your Sunday School or Children’s Church this Christmas seasons. It is part 1 of a 3-part series about the Christmas Story. This lesson teaches about the details of the King of Kings being born in a stable. This children’s church lesson plan was first written for children age 5 – 11. Be sure to consider your own ministry context and modify it as needed. Please leave any feedback or suggestions for improvement in the comment box at the bottom of this page.
Bible Story: The Birth of Christ in the stable, based on Matthew 1:18-24 and Luke 2:1-7.
Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will demonstrate: An understanding of what it was like when Jesus was born by answering questions.
Target Age: Kindergarten – 5th
- Bible: Matthew 1:18-24 & Luke 2:1-7. There is a detailed explanation below to help bring out some of the important parts of the story.
- Play dough
- “Jesus and Me” paper per child, pencils, whiteboard, whiteboard markers
- ½ piece of paper per child, markers/crayons
- Optional Christmas Coloring Pages for Kids
Worship: Use Christmas Songs (extra print out) to lead the children to sing before the Bible lesson.
Teaching Plan: The Stable
Welcome Activity: Welcome activities are things to have out for the children to do as they are arriving for class. These activities will get them engaged as soon as they arrive and will help the transition from their parents.
Have the children make a barn (stable) out of play dough. If they have time, they can make animals to go in the barn.
Bible Lesson Introduction: “We will be learning about Jesus and when He was born. We will learn in the next few weeks that the wisemen and the shepherds came to visit Jesus. Today we are going to learn a little more about when He was born. But first, we want to talk about when you were born.”
- Give each child a “Jesus and Me” paper and a pencil.
- Go over the parts of the “Me” side with the children, writing their answers on the white board
- Have the children fill out the “Me” side only. They will do the “Jesus” side later
Worship: Christmas Songs
Bible Lesson: Use the following notes as a guide, but be sure to tell the Bible story in your own words. If possible memorize your key points and just teach as you read the relevant verses directly out of the Bible.
Have the children open their Bibles to Matthew 1:18-24. To help them find it, use the following questions. Answers are in italics.
- Which part of the Bible is Matthew in? New Testament
- What book of the New Testament is Matthew? #1
Read Matthew 1:18-24 (NIV) aloud to the children.
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
Joseph finds out that Mary, the woman he’s engaged to be married to, is pregnant and so he wants to divorce her. Back then, when you were engaged to someone, you were legally bound to them, just like today after you get married. He’s a good guy, though, because he doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it, so he was just going 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.”
Joseph finds out that the baby, that Mary is going to have, is from the Holy Spirit and is the Son of God. The angel told Joseph, in so many words, that he was to raise the Son of God!
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
This whole thing was in God’s plan. Jesus was fulfilling prophecy before He was even born.
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
Joseph listened to the angel and believed what he was told. He decided not to divorce Mary.
Read Luke 2:1-7 (NIV)
In those days, Caesar Augustus made a law. It required that a list be made of everyone in the whole Roman world. It was the first time a list was made of the people while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be listed.
So Joseph went also. He went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea. That is where Bethlehem, the town of David, was. Joseph went there because he belonged to the family line of David. He went there with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby.
The man in charge, Caesar Augustus, wanted to know how many people he was in charge of. Caesar wanted to know how many people would be paying him taxes. Every man had to go, with his family, to his hometown to be counted. Joseph’s family was from Bethlehem, so he traveled with Mary from Nazareth, where they lived, to Bethlehem. Mary was pregnant when they started the journey. They didn’t have cars or planes. They did have a donkey and their own two feet to travel.
While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born. She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. There was no room for them in the inn.
They are in a strange place and Mary gives birth to the Son of God. The city is full because of the census. They have to stay in a stable because there is no other room available. A stable is like a barn. It’s where animals were kept. He didn’t have a crib. He was layed in a manger. A manger is like a trough where animals ate out of. The Son of God, the greatest person to ever come to this earth, was born in the most humble of places.
Discuss Bible Lesson
Talk with the children about the story. Ask them questions like the following:
- What would it have been like to be Mary?
- What would it have been like to be Joseph?
- What would it have been like to see an angel?
~ If you have time, reenact the story.
Bible Lesson Activities
Use the following activities to reinforce the learning goals. If time is short, move on to the evaluation portion of the lesson plan.
Activity: “Jesus and Me” – Jesus’ Birth
- Have the children fill out the “Jesus” side of the paper.
- Discuss the answers with the children or do it as a class on the white board
- Discuss the difference between their birth and Jesus’ birth and how many things have changed.
- If they had a choice, would they want to be born in Jesus’ time or now? Take a vote.
Activity: Bible Verse Memorization
“She gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 (New International Reader’s Version)
Have the children do the following hand motions along with repeating the words after you, to help them learn the Bible Verse:
She gave birth to her firstborn, a son: act like you are rocking a baby
She wrapped him in clothes: wrap a pretend baby in a blanket
And placed him in a manger: pretend to gently lay the baby down
Because there was no room: shake head side to side as though saying, “no”
For them in the inn: make the shape of a house with your arms
Luke 2: hold up 2 fingers
7: hold up 7 fingers
Do this a few times with the children. Make it fun for them to do the motions and say the words. Involving them in active learning is essential for memorization.
Activity: Bible Verse Drawing
Have the children draw a picture of what the Bible Verse is about. They can share it with their neighbors or the class.
Have the children stand in a line in the middle of the classroom. Ask the following questions, while having them choose to go to the side of the room that corresponds to the correct answer (correct answers are bold):
What city was Jesus born in?
- Right side of the room – Jerusalem
- Left side of the room – Bethlehem
How did Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem?
- Right side of the room – by walking and riding a donkey
- Left side of the room – driving a taxi
Who told Joseph that the baby that Mary was going to have was from God?
- Right side of the room – an angel
- Left side of the room – Joseph’s mother
Who named Jesus?
- Right side of the room – the angel
- Left side of the room – Mary and Joseph
What did Mary wrap Jesus in after he was born?
- Right side of the room – a cute little outfit she bought at JC Penney’s
- Left side of the room – swaddling cloths (or big strips of cloth)
What did Jesus sleep in?
- Right side of the room – a manger
- Left side of the room – a crib
Why were they in a stable?
- Right side of the room – they liked to be with animals
- Left side of the room – there was no room for them in the inn