Jesus’ birth had lots of drama

Traditional Sunday school class almost never included acting out skits. (I know. I taught for 10 years using that “old” way.) There just wasn’t enough time to squeeze in a play amongst everything else going on — the story, an art project, a game, and a snack! (Besides, a teacher just couldn’t accumulate enough bathrobes.)

Rotation.org logoThat’s what makes the Workshop Rotation Model of teaching Sunday school, unique: We devote an entire class to using various dramatic methods. The goal is not a polished production, but a fun way to learn a Bible story.

We’ve got a closet full of costumes. (We even have a cow costume!) We’ve got a stage with velvet curtains. We recruit gregarious workshop leaders (and Shepherds!) who like teaching through drama. (And who don’t mind dressing up in silly costumes and playing a few parts now and then.)

Does it work? You be the judge. Gather the family around and view the skits created in our Drama Workshop, taped during our recent Rotation on the story of the birth of Jesus.

The 2nd grade:

Can’t see the 2nd grade video? View it here on YouTube.

The 3rd grade:

Can’t see the 3rd grade video? View it here on YouTube.

The 4th grade:

Can’t see the 4th grade video? View it here on YouTube.

The 1st and the 5th graders:

Can’t see the 1st and 5th grade video? View it here on YouTube.

And our 6th graders performed for our younger kids (3 year olds through K’s)…

Can’t see this video? View it here on YouTube.

I’ll bet this prompts the kids to get out their bathrobes and a flashlight and some sunglasses!

Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Dramatic videos produced as a part of our current Rotation at FUMC in Ann Arbor, MI.

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God’s purpose? To be with us.

You can do this:  Dig deeper into the Christmas story. Ask questions at your family dinner table.

Ask the question most frequently asked by young children: Why?

I remember telling my kids when they were very young, a simple explanation for why we celebrate Christmas:

It’s Jesus’ birthday.

Birthdays are easy for kids to understand. On your child’s birthday, do they enjoy hearing the story about the day they were born? (Or perhaps the day they were adopted?) It follows that on Jesus’ birthday we tell over and over, the account of his arrival.

crèche scene

We typically hear the story from Luke – a trek to Bethlehem, rooms at capacity, a babe born amongst beasts, topped off with sojourning, wonder-struck shepherds. It always amazes me: Jesus’ first bed was an animal feeding trough, and second-string sheep-tenders were Jesus’ inaugural guests. Everyone had been on the lookout for a majestic monarch, yet God slipped into our world as a defenseless little baby.

Why did the story happen this way?

What were God’s intentions? When we dig deeper, and read in Matthew, we reveal God’s purpose:

quotation marks  She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23)

Immanuel, means in Hebrew:  “with us is God.” Ah! A glimpse at God’s motive.

Jesus was sent to be God with us!

Ready for some family discussion surrounding Immanuel / God-with-us?


  Start off reading together Matthew 1:18-24.

A long time ago, God quietly came to earth via his son Jesus. Most people in those days didn’t recognize Jesus as their long-waited-for Savior. What about these days, do you suppose people recognize God-with-us today?

What are some ways that God makes his presence known to us?
a magnifying glass
  What can make it hard to “see” God?

How can we help others to notice God with us?

Back in Bible times it seemed that God was more overt in his communication with people. For instance, in our current Rotation on Jesus’ birth story, there are lots of “angels of the Lord.” One named Gabriel, visited Mary, whereas Joseph had two angelic visits in his dreams. And the shepherds… they got a sky-full!

Angels made by the younger kids at church

What evidence of God have you seen lately?

What about that bird perched just so, on the snow-covered branch…

Cardinal in snowy treeTo me nature-happenings are a sort of message from God. He says, “Slow down. Take notice. Isn’t what I’ve created intricate and amazing? I created you too. Oh, what a beautiful job I did! Do you see that little bird? The one perched outside your window? I care about him. I care about you!”

 

God is with us. In what ways will you look for his presence?


Photo credits:
Photos are from my archives.

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