Tag Archives: Our Christmas Story

Our CHRISTMAS Story: Part 2

Our Christmas Story

Did you miss part 1? You can find it HERE.

the NAME game

1. You’ll need your printed story and something to write with! (Below is the same story from Part 1)

Luke 2 1_20 Name Epidsodes Luke 2 1_20 Name Epidsodes page 2











2. The story has been broken into sections, which are called “episodes.” Alone or with others, name each episode–give each episode a 1-3 word title that will help you remember what happened. For example, I might name episode 1 “The Enrollment”. If you are using a different version, you can break it up into parts based on my translation, or choose your own parts…then write your episode names in the left margin. For the younger set, this is a chance to list the main parts of the story (i.e., Joseph goes to Nazareth, Mary has the baby, etc.).

3. Once you have finished naming the episodes, fold your paper(s) along the vertical line, so that you can ONLY see the episode names. Now, try to tell the story to a partner!

Once More, with FEELING!

1. Print the “Emotion Cards” sheet (link below) and cut out the words to make your Emotion Cards.



2. Everyone chooses an emotion card. One verse at a time, participants should take turns reading the lines with their assigned emotion (everyone reads the same verse, then when every one is done, move on to the next verse):

While they were there, the time came for her to have her baby.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son
and wrapped him in bands of cloth,
and laid him in a manger,
because there was no place for them in the inn.


Then an angel of the Lord stood before them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.


“Do not be afraid; for see—
I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people…”


“Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place,
which the Lord has made known to us.”


But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

I have also included a PDF of the quotesHERE.

How are you…REALLY?

1. The “Once More…with Feeling!” activity is a fun way to try out different emotions in the text. Now take some time to consider how the different characters in the story felt.

How do you think

the angel
the shepherds


How can you tell?

2. TELL!!! Pick one of the emotions…tell a story about a time you felt that emotion.

3. Try telling the story from Luke 2 using only your episode titles again

STAY TUNED for Part 3 of Our CHRISTMAS Story…coming soon!

Our CHRISTMAS Story Part 1

Our Christmas Story

Over the next few days, we will explore ways to learn to tell Luke 2 (the birth narrative) TOGETHER! Though these activities are meant to be intergenerational, some activities may require reading, in which case I will note possible alternatives for non-readers. In addition, though I provide a translation based on the NRSV and CEB, for the younger set, you may want to find a good children’s version and learn it by heart–the introduction to Luke 2 might present a particular challenge. That being said–never underestimate your kids–they tend to AMAZE.


God of our story
Be with us
As we learn and share
As we listen and tell
As we seek to know you
In this story
And to be known by you
As we tell it


a walk down MEMORY lane…

1. TEST YOUR MEMORY: The story of Jesus’ birth is perhaps the most well-known story from the Bible. Before you begin to learn it by heart, see what you can remember. Without looking up the text, jot down all the parts of the story that you can recall. If you are working in a group/family, have someone keep notes for the group as you remember the story together. Jog your memory by asking yourself: Who? What? When? Why? Where? How? 

2. ORDER THE STORY: Now that you’ve got the basics down, print and cut out (along perforated lines) the actual birth story (see below). Once you’ve cut out the story into parts, mix them up…then see if you can piece the story together in the correct order. You can work in groups/pairs/individually–just make sure you have enough copies. For non-readers, proficient readers can read the parts of the story to help non-readers rearrange.


Read it ALOUD…and WALK

1. PICK AND PRINT your translation–make sure each reader has a copy (if you are working with young children, you may want to locate a children’s version of the story, create one yourself, or consider learning only a part of the story this year)

Below is my formatted-for-storytelling version of Luke 2 (Note: these are two different files due to formatting issues)

Luke 2 1_20 Name Epidsodes PAGE ONE Luke 2 1_20 Name Epidsodes PAGE TWO












2. READ ALOUD: Loudly and while moving (as able), read the story out loud twice. Notice what you notice as you read and move. Don’t worry about what other people are doing!

For younger set: Get out your nativity set! While adult reads aloud (2x), kids enact the story with their nativity set. Following the reenactment, kids should try to retell the story in their own words. Don’t have a nativity set? No problem! Make a paper one! Here is a printable–though a quick Google search will bring you to many different kinds.

3. LOOK IT UP! Are there words or phrases that are causing you to stumble? Look them up! I will have some more helpful background hints in a later post, but, to get you started, below is some pronunciation help for that pesky name “Quirinius”…

Our Story, God’s STORY

TELL A STORY of a significant birth/adoption in your life.

What do you remember? Who was there (or wasn’t)? Where were you? When did it happen? How did it come to pass? Did you sense God’s presence at that time? Do you now?

Parents or grandparents, this is a great time to tell your children/grandchildren the story of their birth/adoption!


STAY TUNED for the next “Our CHRISTMAS Story” Post!


How to Dress for a Manger Visit

“Our Christmas Story: Intergenerational Story-Learning” will be released tomorrow (a day later than expected)…but that doesn’t mean I can’t give you a great idea for this Advent/Christmas with the family (or in church) TODAY….
Actually, it’s not my idea at all–it comes from a wonderful member of my congregation–and I will let Lauren tell you all about it!

Becoming the Nativity Set:
A Family Tradition

My parents bought their first nativity set in 1972—an East German carousel-like set with a fan blade that rotates with the heat of several small candles. Since then, their collection has grown to more than 150 nativity sets, each unique. The scenes come in every style imaginable—made from stone, glass, yarn, eggs, repurposed fence posts, bamboo, metal, quilled paper, yucca plants—and range from petite tabletop sets with three pieces, to elaborate scenes made with 15 or more figurines the size of small dolls. Each Christmas, my parents retrieve their hundreds of nativity boxes from the basement, and my dad, a retired Presbyterian pastor, meticulously arranges each in their appropriate spot.

While my brother and I were visiting my parents at Christmastime a few years ago, my dad, who has a terrifically goofy way about him sometimes, stopped in the TV room carrying an oversized basket filled with oranges and, in a French accent, asked us if we wanted any fruit. At that moment, I said, “Dad! You look just like someone in our French Santon nativity!” And moments later, a tradition was born. …We could be IN the nativity!

Thinking quickly, I (still in my PJs) ran upstairs to get my camera and found an old St. Lucia apron my parents had saved; my mom pulled up close to my great grandmother’s antique spinning wheel; we found Dad a chapeau; and my brother donned a stocking cap and walking stick. My brother then photoshop-ed us in to the already arranged set. Here was the result:

2010- French Santon nativitySantons2010

2011– Maine Nativity


2012- Nativity from the American South West

2012 American South West Nativity

2013- A rolled newspaper nativity from Vietnam


Over the years we’ve gotten more creative with costuming… and official with the “green screen.” We do try to re-purpose “props” from what we already have in the house. It’s a riot coming up with ideas for which set to do next.

I love this tradition–even if you don’t have 150 nativity sets, you could certainly find pictures online to imitate. If you do…post them here or on the Faith and Wonder Facebook page!