Eli the Donkey on his greatest journey

dema.kohen

A Christmas adventure for the whole family

A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY


MEDITERRANEAN

SEA

NAZARETH

SEA OF

GALILEE

SYRIA

JORDAN RIVER

JERUSALEM

BETHLEHEM

DEAD

SEA

JORDAN

EGYPT

ISRAEL

2


NOTES FOR ADULTS

Hello amazing adults! Just a few notes for you:

- Don’t feel pressure to have to do all ong>theong> activities. There are

so many in this booklet so that everyone will be able to find

something for ong>theong>m.

- We are catering for a wide age and ability range in one booklet,

so depending on your child, you may want to alter, skip, or add

things as you go along.

- You are allowed to have fun too! Don’t hold yourself back from

baking, crafting, playing, and making memories your children will

cherish for ong>theong> rest of ong>theong>ir lives.

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Each session starts with a part

of ong>theong> Christmas story seen

through ong>theong> eyes of

ong>Eliong> ong>theong> ong>Donkeyong>.

For each week, ong>theong>re is a

small family devotional

and Bible reading. Do

ong>theong>m togeong>theong>r!

Use ong>theong>se questions to engage

your kids and to help ong>theong>m go

deeper into ong>theong> Bible story and

what it means for ong>theong>m today.

Each session, as a family, decorate an ornament with a

picture or words to remind you about what you’ve learned!

If you do not have ong>theong> provided blank ornaments, make

your own by cutting a shape out of cardstock and punch a

hole in ong>theong> top! Hang ong>theong>m up on your tree or somewhere

else you can see ong>theong>m as a reminder!

Some stories are accompanied by small,

no-prep activities like coloring, drawing,

writing, or solving a maze. Kids will enjoy

doing ong>theong>m on ong>theong>ir own.

These are bigger, more involved

activities that will require involvement

from a grown-up.

4


Although most people only seem to notice donkeys when ong>theong>y’re pinning ong>theong>

tail on ong>theong>m at birthday parties, this animal is full of fun and interesting facts.

A donkey can live

to be more than

50 years old!

There are more than 40 million

donkeys worldwide. China,

Ethiopia, Pakistan, Egypt, and

Mexico have ong>theong> most donkeys

of any area in ong>theong> world.

ong>Donkeyong>s are loyal

and loving creatures.

Some people call

ong>theong>m ong>theong> dogs of ong>theong>

livestock world!

Sometimes donkeys are

used as "guardians" for

livestock — ong>theong>y can

defend against a dog,

coyote, fox, bobcat, or

even mountain lion

that's boong>theong>ring a herd

of sheep or goats.

They are picky about

ong>theong> water ong>theong>y drink,

sometimes even

refusing water for

being too dirty.

Some donkeys are even used

for rescue missions when a

hiker or climber goes

missing in ong>theong> mountains.

A donkey’s sense of

hearing is so well

developed ong>theong>y can

hear ong>theong> call of

anoong>theong>r donkey

from 60 miles away!

ong>Donkeyong>s like to munch on grasses, grains,

oats and barley straw. Domesticated

donkeys are usually fed hay, but ong>theong>y

enjoy special treats like apples, pears,

beets, bananas, bread, and molasses.

ong>Donkeyong>s can form very

close friendships with one

anoong>theong>r that last a lifetime.

In developing countries,

donkeys take ong>theong> place

of cars and trucks.

ong>Donkeyong>s are very

intelligent. They have

excellent memories

and can remember

places very well.

5


6


Last night was very strange. I had just finished eating my hay, and was

very much looking forward to laying down after a long day (it had been a

long day of carrying Joseph's tools, back and forth, back and forth — that

man needs a break), when I heard Mary let out a scream. I jolted and

galloped to ong>theong> window. The room was incredibly bright, light pouring out

of ong>theong> windows — I guess ong>theong> couple had decided to invest in those

brand-new maximum energy candles we saw in ong>theong> market ong>theong> oong>theong>r day.

I inched closer and saw a person, but ong>theong>y didn't look like any person I've

ever seen before — ong>theong>y were dressed all in white, shining brightly, and

I'm not sure if my eyes were deceiving me but I think ong>theong>y might have

even been hovering above ong>theong> ground — very strange indeed.

Mary looked scared, terrified even, and Joseph was nowhere to be seen

— what on earth is going on in this house?! The very bright person (I later

learned ong>theong>y are called angels) said to Mary, "Do not be afraid, God has

sent me to tell you that you're going to have a baby, and He is going

to save ong>theong> world." Well that was not what I was expecting at all. A baby

is going to save ong>theong> world? And why was Mary being chosen to have such

a special baby? Surely it should be ong>theong> baby of a King and Queen, not ong>theong>

baby of poor and unknown Mary and Joseph? There were so many

questions running through my head that I didn't notice ong>theong> angel leaving

to go back to wherever angels come from.

The next day as we went to market for ong>theong> week's shopping, everyone

was looking and whispering. I trotted a little bit faster than normal; Mary

is having a baby by a complete miracle! But she's not married to Joseph

yet (ong>theong> wedding planner was very booked up this season) and in this

olden day culture, people think that having a baby before you are married

isn't such a good idea. This could be an interesting few months...

7


Each of us is God's masterpiece. That means that he spent time,

love and energy making us exactly how he wanted us to be.

When God creates a masterpiece, he thinks about much more than just how we look. He made

us as we are for a reason, so that we can do all ong>theong> amazing things that God has planned for us.

Sometimes life can be like a puzzle. Before a puzzle is put togeong>theong>r, ong>theong> pieces are scattered so

that we don't know what ong>theong> picture is. We are unsure of what ong>theong> completed picture will look

like. We don't know what our lives will look like in ong>theong> future, or even tomorrow! But we can

trust that God knows because he made us! We can trust ong>theong> plan that God has for our life, even

when it doesn't make sense to us.

1. What does it mean to be a masterpiece?

2. Do you always feel like you are a masterpiece?

3. How do you think Mary felt when ong>theong> angel

Gabriel appeared to her?

4. Have you ever been afraid to do something?

Even if it might turn out well?

5. Can you find any examples in ong>theong> Bible of God

using unlikely people to do great things?

6. What do you think God might be calling you to do?

7. Look up Luke 1:37. How does this make you feel

about following God?

Draw or write

something on your

ornament to remind

you that you are

God’s masterpiece

and that we can trust

in His amazing

plans for us!

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You’ll need: paper plate, silver pipe cleaner,

sequins & decorations, scissors, glue

1. Cut your paper plate in half.

2. Fold one half into a cone and ask a

grown up to staple it in place. This is ong>theong>

angel’s body/dress.

3. Use ong>theong> sequins and anything else

you have at home to decorate it.

4. Cut ong>theong> oong>theong>r half of ong>theong> paper plate into

three pieces - use two of ong>theong>m as ong>theong> wings.

Decorate!

5. Ask an adult to staple ong>theong> wings

to ong>theong> body.

6. Use ong>theong> sparkly pipe cleaner to make a

circle for ong>theong> angel’s head. Put ong>theong> pipe

cleaner through ong>theong> hole at ong>theong> top of ong>theong>

cone and staple or tape it in place!

Turn on some Christmas music and have fun

doing a jigsaw puzzle togeong>theong>r. (Did you

know that many libraries lend puzzles?) Use

this opportunity to talk about how ong>theong>

individual puzzle pieces come togeong>theong>r to

make a whole puzzle, just as ong>theong> individual

happenings and events contribute to ong>theong>

unfolding of God’s plan for our lives.

With your parents, look through your

baby pictures. Talk about ong>theong> good

plans that God has had for you since

you were a little baby. Read Psalm

139:13-18 and take a few moments to

thank God for all ong>theong> beautiful dreams

and plans He has for your life.

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ANGELS

Did you know that ong>theong> angels are spirit-messengers sent by God to serve

those who are going to be saved? Read it for yourself in Hebrews 1:14.

Bring food to ong>Eliong>jah

(see 1 Kings 19:5-8)

Warn Joseph to

escape to Egypt

(see Matong>theong>w 2:13)

Protect Daniel

from ong>theong> lions

(see Daniel 6:22)

Roll back ong>theong>

tomb stone

(see Matong>theong>w 28:2)

Make it possible for

Peter to escape

from prison

(see Acts 12:17)

Ask your parents and

grandparents if ong>theong>y think

ong>theong>re was a time in ong>theong>ir life

when God’s heavenly agents

were sent to serve ong>theong>m.

10


What was ong>theong> name of

ong>theong> angel who appeared

to Mary? (HINT: See

Luke 1:26-27)

A. Gabriel

B. Michael

C. Nathaniel

D. Raphael

If your book

came with ong>Eliong>

(plush toy),

take turns

hiding ong>Eliong>

around ong>theong>

house and

looking

for him.

Turn on your favorite Christmas music, fire

up your oven and have fun baking and

decorating angel cookies. Scan ong>theong> QR code

for ong>theong> recipe your kids will absolutely love

or find a different one online. You may also

want to look for non-baking ideas: Veggie

Snack Angels or Sugar Cone and

Marshmallows Angels.

Have everyone gaong>theong>r in ong>theong> living room.

Appoint one person to be ong>theong> pointer (or ong>theong>

Angel). Let ong>theong>m have ong>theong> flashlight.

Turn off ong>theong> lights and have everyone quietly

find a spot in ong>theong> room.

The Angel ong>theong>n would turn on ong>theong> flashlight

and without moving will start looking for

people. Once ong>theong>y find someone, have

everyone take turns sharing something good

about ong>theong> person who is in ong>theong> spotlight.

Keep going until everyone has had a chance

to be an Angel and to enjoy ong>theong> spotlight.

• Ask a parent to tell you

about something that seemed

impossible, but turned out to

be possible with God’s help.

• Talk to Mom or Dad, or a

grandparent about what he

or she has learned about

God’s plans.

• Ask a parent about a time

he or she trusted God’s plan

even though it didn’t seem to

make sense. What happened?

11


12

There is hustle and bustle everywhere; everyone is

getting packed up — ong>theong>re is a growing pile in ong>theong>

corner of ong>theong> stable of all ong>theong> things we are taking

on this journey. It looks heavy and I’m ong>theong> one who

is going to have to carry it. I guess I should explain...

The Big Boss of ong>theong> Roman Empire, Caesar

Augustus, has sent out an announcement across

all of ong>theong> land that everyone has to go back to ong>theong>

place ong>theong>y were born and be registered so

that he can know how many people he is

ruling and where ong>theong>y all come from.


It’s all right for him to say from his big palace in Rome,

but this means that thousands of people have to pack

up ong>theong>ir things and make a long trek across deserts,

countries, over hills, and through many towns.

And today is ong>theong> leaving day.

13


So we set off. Mary is now very pregnant and she sits on me

along with all of ong>theong> belongings — it’s going to be a long and

painful journey. We’re hoping Mary manages to make it ong>theong>re

before having ong>theong> baby (Joseph as far as I know has no

midwifery skills and I have hoofs not hands...). We go through

deserts, forests, over hills, and through many valleys.

After quite a few days, my feet are very sore, it’s been a bumpy

ride for Mary, and Joseph is starting to get tired.

14


But ong>theong>re it is, just over ong>theong> next

hill we can see Bethlehem, our final

destination. The town doesn’t look

like much, but it is ong>theong> home of

Mary and Joseph. We are all very

relieved to finally be ong>theong>re.

Now, to find somewhere to stay.

15


The emperor decided he wanted to count everyone that

was in his kingdom.

Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem (where Joseph was from) so that ong>theong>y could register

ong>theong>ir names. Mary was very pregnant, so it was very bad timing! They had to leave ong>theong>ir home

and travel a long way on a donkey even though Mary was about to have a baby. When ong>theong>y

arrived, ong>theong>y couldn't even find anywhere to stay or anyone to welcome ong>theong>m. Even now, lots

of people have to leave ong>theong>ir homes when ong>theong>y don't want to. It can be very scary and often

people aren't very kind to ong>theong>m. You can read and think more about this on ong>theong> next page.

How do you think Jesus would welcome ong>theong>m?

Draw or write something

on your ornament to remind

you of ong>theong> long and difficult

journey that Mary and

Joseph took and to remind

you to pray and think of ong>theong>

many people who also have

to take long and difficult

journeys in ong>theong>

world today.

1. What’s a census? Why were ong>theong>y done?

2. How would you feel if you had to leave your home

unexpectedly?

3. How do you think Mary and Joseph felt when ong>theong>y

couldn’t find anywhere to stay?

4. If you could only bring one thing from home with you

on a long journey, what would you bring?

5. How would you want someone to treat you if you

were a long way from home in a strange place?

16


What do you know about refugees?

A refugee is someone who needs to leave ong>theong>ir own country

and ong>theong>ir home because it’s not safe for ong>theong>m to stay. If ong>theong>y

stay ong>theong>y could get hurt, not have enough food to eat, or not

be able to go to school or work. So ong>theong>y travel to anoong>theong>r

country that is safe like ong>theong> US or Canada.

Why do refugees leave ong>theong>ir home?

What do you think it feels like to have to leave ong>theong>ir home?

To find a safe place, people often have to travel really

far. They might have to walk through whole countries

or travel across ong>theong> sea in small boats. The journey

can be very difficult, tiring, and painful.

What’s ong>theong> longest journey you’ve ever made?

Can you imagine trying to get to anoong>theong>r

country without a car or airplane?

Different things can happen once ong>theong>y have arrived in a safe place. In some safe places like Greece,

ong>theong>re are many refugees coming and ong>theong>y don’t have much room for everyone. So people have to

live in camps. They sleep in tents even in ong>theong> cold winter. There is usually not much food and ong>theong>y

can’t easily go to school or work.

Can you imagine living in a tent for a whole year?

What kind of things might be difficult living in a camp?

After a while, ong>theong>y might be able to move into a normal house. But

it is still not easy. They might not understand ong>theong> language or have

much money. They might not feel like ong>theong>y belong in ong>theong>ir new

homes. They have to start new jobs and new schools and that can

be really difficult.

Have you ever been new somewhere?

How did it make you feel?

How can we welcome people and make

ong>theong>m feel at home?

17


Have you ever met somebody from a different country? Did ong>theong>y speak

a different language? We want to be able to welcome everybody!

How many languages can you learn to say hello in?

What about languages that use a different alphabet?

What about sign language?

Make a poster of all ong>theong> different ways you’ve learned to

say hello and put it in your window to greet everybody

that walks by. How colorful can you make it?

18

1. Use a teabag dipped in water to

make your paper look really old (do

this before you start drawing!) and let

ong>theong> paper dry.

2. Draw a map of a journey around

your house. Think about what

obstacles you might come across on

your journey. Are ong>theong>re snowy

mountain stairs to climb or a crocodile

filled carpet lake to cross? What will

you find at ong>theong> end of your journey?

3. Make drawings and labels on your

map so you remember where to go.

4. Can you challenge someone else in

your house to follow ong>theong> map?

Can you find Bethlehem and Nazareth on

ong>theong> map? See ong>theong> inside cover. We don't

know what route Joseph and Mary took

from Nazareth to Bethlehem, but we do

know that Mary was pregnant and that ong>theong>

journey would have been between 80 to 100

miles. Ask your mom... riding 80 miles on a

donkey while pregnant would not be fun!

Parents, pull out a map to help your

children understand ong>theong> distance of 80-100

miles. Identify a couple of familiar places

that are about this distance from your

home. Talk about what it's like to take this

journey in a modern vehicle versus what it

must have been like for Mary to ride ong>theong>

donkey and for Joseph to walk ong>theong> whole

distance beside her.

Then take your family on a one mile walk

and talk about Mary and Joseph's journey

that would have been at least 80 times as

long! Let ong>theong>m ask questions and process

what ong>theong> journey must have been like.


Which emperor ordered ong>theong>

census? (HINT: See Luke 2:1)

A. Tiberius

B. Galerius

C. Augustus

D. Claudius

Talk about a time…

1) Someone showed you

unexpected kindness

2) You were kind to someone else…and

3) A time you could have been kind but

weren’t

Pray as a family that ong>theong> Holy Spirit will

show you someone you can surprise by

kindness in ong>theong> next few days. Start

making specific plans.

Ask each family member to share.

Ask a parent to scan this code with ong>theong>ir

smartphone or tablet so you can travel

with ong>theong> Holy Family to Bethlehem.

Look up ong>theong> following Bible verses

about God’s kindness to us: Ephesians

4:32; Romans 2:4; and Psalm 116:5.

Think about one way you can imitate

God’s kindness to someone in your

family this week. Then do it!

Holy

Bible

19


20


When we finally reached Bethlehem, things didn't go very

well. As it turns out, Joseph in all his hurry forgot to book us

a hotel room. Every place we went was full to ong>theong> brim with

people who had returned home for ong>theong> registration. Mary

was not pleased. They knocked and knocked, but everyone

said ong>theong> same thing. “We have no room in our inn.”

It was starting to get cold and dark when we got to ong>theong> final

house on ong>theong> edge of ong>theong> town. Joseph knocked on ong>theong> door.

A short man peeked around ong>theong> door. “Hello?” he said.

Joseph asked if ong>theong> man had any room in his house for ong>theong>m

to stay.

The man looked at Joseph’s tired face, pregnant Mary, and

me with my aching back. “My rooms are full, but if you are

really desperate, I can make space in my stable with ong>theong>

animals. It’s a bit smelly, but ong>theong>re’s lots of warm hay?”

Mary raised her eyebrows, but Joseph was

already following ong>theong> man around ong>theong> back gate.

21


Mary and Joseph were struggling to find somewhere to

stay in Bethlehem.

They might have felt unwelcome and that nobody wanted ong>theong>m in ong>theong>ir home. But even

though ong>theong>re was nowhere for ong>theong>m to go, God provided somewhere for ong>theong>m to stay. God

has a place for everyone in His house! There’s always room for one more! Everyone can be a

part of ong>theong> family of God!

Write or draw

something that reminds

you that ong>theong>re is always

room in God’s house and

that everyone is

welcome!

1. How do you think Mary and Joseph felt when ong>theong>y

couldn’t find anywhere to stay?

2. What’s a stable? What’s a manger? Are ong>theong>y normal

places for a baby?

3. Check out John 14:2. What does this tell us about

where we belong?

4. In 2 Corinthians 5:1, it says that we will have “a

home in heaven that will last forever.” How does

this make you feel?

5. How do you think you could help oong>theong>r people feel

at home in church?

22


1. Find a shoebox or oong>theong>r box

and take ong>theong> lid/one side off.

2. Lay ong>theong> box on its side. You can put a piece of

cardboard in ong>theong> middle of ong>theong> box to make two

levels in your house if you like!

3. Use items you can find around your house to make some furniture. Can you make a

small box into a bed or a bottle top into a stool? Use your imagination and go wild!

4. Now to decorate! Do you have

some fabric to make a carpet? Or use

paint or paper to decorate ong>theong> walls!

5. When you have finished, pray

over your house. Pray that

those who need safe houses will

be able to get one and thank

God that you have a safe home.

How many people can you fit in one space?

Using a newspaper or towel on ong>theong> floor,

try and fit as many people (or stuffed

animals or oong>theong>r objects) on it, making

sure that at least one body part is always

on ong>theong> square.

Keep folding it in half until you can’t fit

anyone in ong>theong> square!

What makes

home feel

like home?

On ong>theong> next page

23


Answer each of ong>theong> questions

in ong>theong> house about things that

might make you feel at home.

You could write ong>theong>m down

next to ong>theong> questions, or draw

pictures in ong>theong> windows.

Why does your house

feel like home?

What is your favorite

thing in your room?

Draw it in this window!

Who lives in your house? Draw

ong>theong>m looking out this window.

What do you

most look

forward to

about coming

home from

school?

Do you think Mary and Joseph had any

of ong>theong>se things to make ong>theong>m feel at

home in ong>theong> stable?

24


What town did Mary and Joseph travel to?

(HINT: See Luke 2:4)

A. Beong>theong>sda

B. Bethany

C. Bethuel

D. Bethlehem

Ask each family member to share:

1) Is ong>theong>re room for Jesus in your

thoughts, dreams, calendar, schedule,

bank account, home?

2) What could you do if Jesus came to visit

your house?

3) What would you show Jesus in your house?

4) What food would you serve Jesus?

Make a knocking sound on a

table, and lead children in

saying, “Come in, Jesus!

There’s room for You in our

heart…mind…home…day…

etc.” Repeat ong>theong> activity

several times.

• God’s heart has room for everyone. How

do you decide what kind of people to

accept and what kind to reject?

• Have you ever been rejected/left out?

What did it feel like?

• Ask your mom or dad about how ong>theong>y

welcomed/became friends with someone

ong>theong>y thought was very different or

unpleasant.

• Is ong>theong>re someone you have a hard time

accepting or getting along with? Pray and

ask God to help you see that person like

Jesus does.

• Think of someone in school who no one

seems to like. What can you do to welcome

that person and make ong>theong>m feel special?

The first person says, "I'm taking a trip

and I am going to pack... " and ong>theong>n fills

in ong>theong> rest of ong>theong> sentence.

It could be a piece of clothing or

a toy or a person or whatever

ong>theong>y choose.

Each person ong>theong>n repeats

what ong>theong> last person said,

and adds ong>theong>ir own

selection to ong>theong> end

and so on.

25


26

I guess this is it for ong>theong>

night. The man was right,

ong>theong> stable was very smelly.

There were goats, sheep,

cows, and camels all

mooing and baaing

togeong>theong>r — ong>theong>y weren’t

happy that ong>theong>y were

going to have to share

ong>theong>ir already small

space with us tonight.


Joseph cleared some space in

ong>theong> hay, laid Mary down, and

quickly fell asleep. I lay down to

sleep next to ong>theong>m, but all I

could hear were ong>theong> goats in

ong>theong> corner chatting away.

“Who are ong>theong>se people? Why

are ong>theong>y allowed in our house?

They are taking up all of our

space!”

They were being very unkind. I

turned over and did my best to

tune ong>theong>m out, finally falling

fast asleep with dreams of

carrots and fresh grass going

through my head.

27


I woke up to see Joseph all flustered. All ong>theong> oong>theong>r animals were

backed up against ong>theong> wall. What is going on?

Mary was lying on ong>theong> straw looking quite uncomfortable, when

ong>theong> innkeeper’s wife burst into ong>theong> stable. “Everyone keep calm.

The baby is going to be born today!”

28


Finally! We’ve been waiting for that kid for such a long time! The

innkeeper’s wife sent Joseph out to get some towels and knelt down

next to Mary. I stood back and kept control of ong>theong> now very excited

sheep in ong>theong> back corner. Sheep can be very difficult when ong>theong>y get

excited...

After what seemed like ages, ong>theong>re was a very loud cry. The baby was

born! Now, I thought this was meant to be a very special baby, sent by

God to save us all. But ong>theong> baby looked like any oong>theong>r baby I had ever

seen. He cried a lot, wanted food a lot, slept a lot, and needed his

diaper changed A LOT. He could do nothing by himself — how is he

meant to save ong>theong> world?

They gave him ong>theong> name that God picked for him — Jesus. This baby

doesn’t seem very special right now, but just you wait — his name

goes on to become one of ong>theong> BIGGEST in ong>theong> whole history of ong>theong>

world. Pretty crazy to

think about when you’re

looking at ong>theong> squirming

baby lying in a cow’s

manger!

29


Do you have a best friend? How did you get to know ong>theong>m? What

do you have in common? When Jesus was born, lots of people

were expecting an impressive king, but Jesus came as a baby.

He cried and slept and ate just like we did when we were babies. Jesus came to earth as a

person so that we could get to know him. God became like us so he could get close to us.

If you want to get to know somebody, what do you do? You spend time with ong>theong>m! How do

you spend time with Jesus?

Color in ong>theong> crown.

How shiny can you

make it look?

30

1. What’s ong>theong> best gift you’ve ever been given?

2. Check out John 3:16. What does this tell us about

why Jesus came to earth? How does this verse make

you feel?

3. People were expecting God to come to earth as an

impressive looking king. Why do you think God chose

to come to earth as a baby?

4. How does it feel when somebody knows you really

well? How do you get to know somebody?

5. Jesus loves us so he wants to spend time with us!

How do you spend time with Jesus?

Draw or write something

that will remind you that

Jesus ong>theong> King came to ong>theong>

world as a baby, just like you

and me. Do you have a photo

of yourself as a baby that

you could put on your

decoration?


Have everyone sit in a

circle. Begin by rolling a

ball to a child. Then have

ong>theong> child with ong>theong> ball

imitate an animal sound

that might have been

heard in ong>theong> stable ong>theong>

night Jesus was born.

Encourage ong>theong> rest of

ong>theong> family to guess

what animal it is.

Then have ong>theong> child

roll ong>theong> ball to anoong>theong>r

player. Continue until

everyone’s had a turn.

Snuggle up with your child and look

through his or her baby album (or

Gotcha album). Talk about ong>theong> time

your child was born (or adopted)

and compare (and contrast) your

child’s birth with Jesus’ humble birth

in ong>theong> stable. Compare a crib with ong>theong>

manger, compare ong>theong> sounds of a

hospital delivery room with ong>theong>

sounds of a stable, and so on. Point

out that Jesus was a gift from God,

and so is your child!

Jesus was born in a stable and slept in

a manger because ong>theong>re was no room

for his family in ong>theong> inn. Consider

inviting someone who is alone to

celebrate Christmas with your family

this year—perhaps a child from a

children’s home, an elderly person

living alone, or a college student far

from home. Along with a good meal

and loving company, provide a few

presents so your guest can be

completely involved.

Jesus was born a human just

like you and me. Can you

bake some gingerbread men?

Decorate ong>theong>m to look like

yourself and your family!

Recipe on ong>theong>

next page!

31


2/3 cup unsalted butter (room temp)

3/4 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup molasses

1 large egg (room temp)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground ginger

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1. In a large bowl, beat ong>theong> butter for 1 minute until smooth and

creamy. Add ong>theong> brown sugar and molasses and beat on medium

high spead until combined and creamy looking. Add ong>theong> egg and

vanilla and beat on high speed until nicely combined.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk ong>theong> flour, baking soda, salt, and

spices togeong>theong>r until well combined. Then on low speed, mix

in ong>theong> wet ingredients thoroughly.

3. The dough will be quick thick and

slightly sticky. Divide it in half.

4. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill

for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

5. Remove one half of ong>theong> dough from ong>theong> refrigerator.

Generously flour a work surface, your hands, and a

rolling pin. Roll out until 1/4 inch thick.

6. Cut out ong>theong> shapes and place 1 inch

apart on baking sheet lined with

parchment paper. Repeat with second

half until all dough is used.

7. Bake cookies at 350ºF

for 9-10 minutes.

8. Allow to cool

completely and ong>theong>n

decorate!


What did baby Jesus sleep on in ong>theong>

manger?

A. Cabbage leaves

B. Rose petals

C. Grass blades

D. Bird feaong>theong>rs

Ask each family member to share:

1) If Jesus is king, what does that make us?

Prince and princesses? Servants of ong>theong> king?

2) Where were you born?

3) Why do you think God allowed Jesus to be

born in a stable?

4) If you could’ve been ong>theong>re when Jesus was

born, who would you have wanted to be?

Why?

Let’s pretend to hold baby Jesus while we pray

and thank God for Jesus. Have every family

member pretend to rock a baby in ong>theong>ir arms

and invite ong>theong>m to take turns praying several

one-sentence prayers after you. Ideas:

• Welcome to ong>theong> world, Jesus!

• Thank you for coming to be with us.

• We’re so glad that you’re always with us.

Sing “Away in a Manger” as ong>theong> closing prayer.

It can serve as a lullaby to your imaginary

baby Jesus.

Choose a non-breakable ornament from

your tree, or get a ball.

Toss ong>theong> ornament around with your

family.

Everyone, grab a piece of paper and a

pen. First, draw letter g. Now, draw

Mary and baby Jesus from ong>theong> letter g.

Say one thing you know about Jesus each

time you catch ong>theong> ornament, and have

your family members do ong>theong> same.

Play anoong>theong>r round, only this

time have everyone share

what gift ong>theong>y could give to

| Jesus.

33


Now at ong>theong> same time that all of

this was happening, oong>theong>r exciting

things were taking place in a field

far away. Actually, my friend

Sofia (a sheep I had met on

vacation once) was ong>theong>re to

witness ong>theong> whole thing.

I’ll let her tell it:

34


Oh my goodness, we were just minding our own business,

eating some grass here and ong>theong>re, when an entire choir of

angels just showed up. There was music, ong>theong>re was

choreographed dancing, trumpets, singing — ong>theong> whole deal.

The shepherds who were

watching us were terrified;

all ong>theong>y knew was sheep and

shepherding, and as far as

ong>theong>y knew, this situation was

not a part of ong>theong> job

description.

35


They looked at each oong>theong>r, looked at us,

and ong>theong>n back at ong>theong> angels, when one of

ong>theong>m spoke, saying:

“Shepherds, do not be afraid — we have

been sent here by God to tell you some

amazing news. There is a new king being

born in ong>theong> town of Bethlehem and he

wants you to go and visit him.”


“Why us?” ong>theong> shepherds asked, “we are just some

poor and dirty shepherds. A king would never want to

see us!”

“Well this King is different,” ong>theong> angel said. “He

wasn’t chosen by people but by God. He wants to

get to know everyone, it doesn’t matter if you are

rich or powerful or have great cloong>theong>s — he wants

to help everyone.”

So ong>theong> shepherds and all ong>theong> sheep left ong>theong> hill and

made our way to Bethlehem. We were all very excited!

37


The shepherds were some of ong>theong> first people in ong>theong> whole

world to be told ong>theong> amazing news that Jesus was born.

God didn’t choose ong>theong> rich people or those who went to fancy schools or had very

important big-boss jobs. He chose shepherds. In ong>theong> Bible times, shepherds were seen as

being very unimportant and ong>theong>y didn’t have many friends. So why did God choose ong>theong>m to

hear such important news? God chose ong>theong>m to show us that ong>theong> Good News is for everyone!

Anybody who wants to can learn about God and have his love and hope in ong>theong>ir lives.

1. What is ong>theong> Good News?

2. Why do you think God chose ong>theong>

shepherds to be ong>theong> first people to hear

ong>theong> Good News?

3. How do you think ong>theong> shepherds felt when

ong>theong>y heard that ong>theong> baby Jesus was being

born?

4. What do you think ong>theong>y were expecting to

find when ong>theong>y went to see ong>theong> baby Jesus?

5. How does ong>theong> Christmas story make you feel?

6. In ong>theong> star, write down what gifts and talents

you have that you can bring to God’s family.

“What gifts and talents do

you have and how do you use

ong>theong>m for God?”

Write or draw

something that

reminds you that

everyone is important

to God and that ong>theong>

Good News of Jesus is

for everyone.

38


Ask a parent to scan this QR

code and togeong>theong>r watch ong>theong>

story of when ong>theong> angels tell

ong>theong> shepherds of ong>theong> birth of

Jesus Christ.

1. Go outside and look at ong>theong> clouds — what do

ong>theong>y look like? Do any of ong>theong>m look like sheep?

2. Try drawing your own cloud — make sure ong>theong>y’re

extra fluffy!

3. Once you’ve drawn your cloud, add a head by

making a circle on ong>theong> side of ong>theong> cloud.

4. Add ears, eyes, and a mouth!

5. Draw a little tail on ong>theong> oong>theong>r side of ong>theong> cloud.

(Can you see a sheep yet?)

6. You can also color in ong>theong> sky. What color will

your sky be?

For this game, you will need:

• Balloons

• Newspaper

• A stopwatch or timer

1. Roll your newspaper into a shepherd’s staff.

2. Blow up ong>theong> balloons (you may need an adult to help you) to

represent sheep.

3. Make a pen (like a section of your living room, a hula hoop, etc)

behind a dining room chair.

4. Use your shepherd’s staff to round up ong>theong> balloons into ong>theong> pen

you’ve created. How quickly can you do it? Who can do it ong>theong>

quickest? Who can round up ong>theong> most balloons in 1 minute?

39


40


Now at ong>theong> time, ong>theong>re was a mean King in

ong>theong> land named Herod. One day, he heard

that a King had been born in a stable in

Bethlehem. “Bethlehem? In a stable?” he

started chuckling to himself, “Can’t be much

of a King, he wasn’t even born in a palace!”

But over ong>theong> next few weeks and months, he

started to hear more and more about this

mysterious baby King. Lots of people came to

his palace saying, “Have you heard, a new

King has been born? Does this mean you’ll be

replaced soon?”

Herod was a very jealous man. He did not like

ong>theong> idea one bit that ong>theong>re might be anoong>theong>r

King in town and that he didn’t know

anything about him, so he gaong>theong>red his

advisors to figure out what he should do

about it. They needed a plan...

41


1 CORINTHIANS

1:27-28, 31

Herod was ong>theong> king in ong>theong> time when Jesus was born. He

was very rich, powerful, and important. When he heard that

a baby was going to replace him as king, he was very jealous.

He couldn’t imagine anybody being more important than him, especially not a baby!

Jesus didn’t seem like he was very rich or very strong or very important. He was just a

baby, born in a stable, to a poor carpenter and his wife. But ong>theong> shepherds and ong>theong> three

wise men knew that Jesus was ong>theong> King of Heaven.

Write or draw

something that

reminds you that

Jesus is ong>theong> King

or to remind you

that we should

not be jealous.

1. What did people expect a king to be like?

2. Have you ever felt jealous? Why? What was it like?

3. Why was Herod jealous of Jesus?

4. Check out Matong>theong>w 2:13-16. What did Herod do

because of his jealousy?

5. What makes Jesus different from Herod?

6. How can we be less like Herod and more like Jesus?

42


1. Find a piece of colorful construction paper or card stock and cut it in half.

Stick ong>theong> two halves togeong>theong>r to make one long piece.

2. Cut triangles out of ong>theong> top to make a crown shape.

3. Decorate your crown! You could

color it in, or stick colorful paper or

stickers around it.

4. Tape ong>theong> two ends of ong>theong> card

stock togeong>theong>r to make a complete

circle. You can now wear your crown!

Herod tried to steal God’s gift to ong>theong> world.

1. One person stands facing a wall with a present

behind ong>theong>m.

2. Everyone else has to attempt to steal ong>theong> gift from

behind ong>theong>m and carry it back to ong>theong> starting point.

3. The person facing ong>theong> wall turns around whenever

ong>theong>y hear a noise behind ong>theong>m.

4. If ong>theong>y catch someone touching ong>theong> gift, ong>theong>n ong>theong>y

win. If someone manages to get ong>theong> gift back to ong>theong>

starting line, ong>theong>n ong>theong>y win.

Two players: Jesus and Herod.

The aim of ong>theong> game is for Jesus to try and

beat Herod to Egypt before Herod catches him.

Jesus goes first.

Jesus wins if he gets to Egypt first.

Herod wins if he lands on ong>theong> same square as

Jesus or reaches Egypt before him.

Make two playing pieces out of small stones;

draw on ong>theong>m to make one Herod and ong>theong>

oong>theong>r Jesus. You will need to find a dice from

anoong>theong>r game!

43


Oh no! You

went ong>theong>

wrong way.

Follow ong>theong>

arrow.

You’ve been

walking a

long time and

need a break.

Miss a turn!

Challenge: If you

can stand on one

leg for 30 seconds,

move forward

3 spaces!

You found a

shortcut through

a mountain!

Follow ong>theong>

arrow.

You dropped

your keys in

ong>theong> sand. Go

back 6 spaces

to find ong>theong>m!

You found a lake.

Have a rest and

drink! Miss a turn!

Go back

three

spaces!

Challenge:

Do five

jumping

jacks!

Here’s a

donkey to

help you.

Roll again!

Move

forward

two

spaces!

44


When King Herod heard about ong>theong>

newborn King, he felt... (HINT: See

Matong>theong>w 2:3)

A. Jumpy

B. Jazzy

C. Jittery

D. Jolly

One evening this week, go outside with

your children early enough to watch for

ong>theong> first star to appear in ong>theong> night sky. Have your

child look for ong>theong> biggest or brightest star or ong>theong>

one that twinkles ong>theong> most.

Remind your children who made ong>theong> stars. Share

how God put each star in its special place. Then talk

about ong>theong> special star God placed in ong>theong> sky to

announce ong>theong> birth of Jesus.

Ask:

• What do you like about stars?

• What do you think of how God let people know

about ong>theong> birth of Jesus?

• On ong>theong> next page, you’ll read ong>theong> story of ong>theong>

wise men and ong>theong>ir long journey to find Jesus.

Why might you want to travel that far to see

Jesus?

• Talk about what you’d want to travel far to see.

Gaong>theong>r your family and read Matong>theong>w 2:1-7.

Show your family ong>theong> baby doll wrapped in a

towel, and tell ong>theong>m you’re going to play a

game to find baby Jesus, kind of like ong>theong> wise

men did.

Have your family members close ong>theong>ir eyes.

Place ong>theong> baby somewhere in ong>theong> house. After

you’ve hidden ong>theong> doll, give your family clues

to find baby Jesus.

Let each family member take a

turn hiding ong>theong> baby and

giving clues for ong>theong> rest of

ong>theong> family to find it.

Discuss: Where can you find

Jesus today?

Ask a parent to scan this QR code on ong>theong>ir

smartphone or tablet, and peek inside ong>theong>

royal palace where ong>theong> evil king is making

some frightening plans.

After reading ong>theong> story of ong>theong> wise men,

gaong>theong>r everyone in ong>theong> kitchen. Lay an apple

on its rounded side, and cut it into several

slices.

Cut enough apple slices for each child to

have two. You’ll also need a small jar of

cinnamon sugar.

Tell children that ong>theong>y’ll be able to find a

star in each apple slice. Pass out ong>theong> apples,

and see if anyone can find ong>theong> star in ong>theong>

middle.

Help children remove

ong>theong> seeds and ong>theong>n

sprinkle ong>theong> apple

slices with ong>theong>

cinnamon sugar. As

children eat ong>theong>ir

apple slices, talk

about how ong>theong> wise

men followed ong>theong> star to find Jesus.

45


Three wise men came to ong>theong> palace door. They were

searching for ong>theong> new King ong>theong>y’d heard was born, so

obviously ong>theong>y came to ong>theong> palace to find him! But ong>theong>

new baby King wasn’t ong>theong>re — what should ong>theong>y do now?

Herod brought ong>theong>m into ong>theong> palace; he was a man

with a plan. He told ong>theong> wise men that he wanted to be

able to congratulate and bring some gifts to ong>theong> new

King, but he was far too busy to travel himself.

The wise men would go in his place!

46


Now Herod would be able to secretly know more about

this so-called King, so that he could see what he could do

about it!

The wise men set off with ong>theong>ir camels and ong>theong>ir gifts for

a long journey. They followed a bright star in ong>theong> sky that

led ong>theong>m all ong>theong> way to Bethlehem.

I saw ong>theong>m coming towards ong>theong> house. They were so

excited to finally see Jesus, ong>theong> King ong>theong>y had been

searching for! They pulled some glistening wrapped

presents out of ong>theong>ir bags (why does no one ever bring

me a present — even a carrot would be lovely!). Gold,

frankincense, and myrrh. Not sure what ong>theong>y are

exactly... very shiny and smelly. I think Jesus would have

preferred some Legos to be honest, but everything in

this story has a reason!

Before ong>theong> wise men left, ong>theong>y had a dream telling ong>theong>m

not to go back to King Herod because he was a mean

man who didn’t want good things for Jesus. So, ong>theong>y

changed ong>theong> destination on ong>theong>ir star GPS and set off to

anoong>theong>r land.

47


The three wise men spotted ong>theong> star and followed it to ong>theong> baby

Jesus. They thought ong>theong>y were going to find Jesus in a a palace in

Jerusalem but instead ong>theong>y found him in a house in Bethlehem.

They followed ong>theong> star to find ong>theong> baby Jesus even though it didn’t lead ong>theong>m where ong>theong>y

expected. Sometimes when we follow Jesus, he leads us to places we don’t expect. But he

always leads us to good things, and sometimes ong>theong> things we find are better than ong>theong> things we

were expecting.

Write or draw

something to

remind you

that Jesus is a

gift worth

searching for!

1. What were ong>theong> wise men expecting to find when

ong>theong>y followed ong>theong> star?

2. How do you think ong>theong> wise men felt when ong>theong>y

found ong>theong> baby Jesus?

3. Check out Matong>theong>w 2:7-16. How did ong>theong> wise men

trick Herod?

4. God used a star to lead ong>theong> wise men. How else

does God show us what to do?

5. What do you think God might be leading you to?

48


1. Glue two popsicle sticks togeong>theong>r,

so it looks like a bottomless triangle.

2. Glue a third popsicle stick on ong>theong> oong>theong>r

side of an end of one of ong>theong> two popsicle

sticks that you have stuck togeong>theong>r.

3. Glue ong>theong> fourth popsicle stick to

make anoong>theong>r bottomless triangle.

4. Finally, glue ong>theong> fifth popsicle stick so

ong>theong> ends meet. Your star is complete, yay!

5. Then, turn your star ornament and form

a loop with a small piece of ribbon, glue ong>theong>

loop to ong>theong> back of ong>theong> star. You can now

hang your star on your Christmas tree.

6. If you want to jazz your star up even

more, you can use scrunched up tissue

paper to cover ong>theong> popsicle sticks, or

decorate however you want!

1. Write down some Christmas ong>theong>med words

on pieces of paper, fold ong>theong>m all in half,

and put ong>theong>m in a pile.

2. Take turns picking a word from ong>theong> pile and

drawing it for ong>theong> oong>theong>r people to guess!

3. Once ong>theong> word has been guessed, it’s ong>theong>

next person’s turn to pick a word.

Help ong>theong> three wise

men find Jesus by

completing ong>theong> maze

on ong>theong> next page!

Maybe instead of drawing ong>theong> words you could

make ong>theong>m out of play dough or act ong>theong>m out!

49


50

Help ong>theong> three wise men

find Jesus by going

through ong>theong> maze and

creating a special shape!


Why did ong>theong> wise men want to find

Jesus? (HINT: See Matong>theong>w 2:2)

A. To sing him a lullaby.

B. To take a selfie with him.

C. To play peekaboo with him.

D. To worship him.

Beforehand, hide a doll or nativity piece

representing baby Jesus on one side of ong>theong> room.

Invite ong>theong> children to come into ong>theong> room and form

a line, shoulder to shoulder, at ong>theong> opposite side of

ong>theong> room from where you hid ong>theong> baby Jesus. Then

say: Let’s pretend we’re on a journey to find Jesus

by following ong>theong> star in ong>theong> sky.

Dim or turn off ong>theong> lights. When I shine this

flashlight on your feet, you may follow ong>theong> light

shining on ong>theong> floor in front of you. But when I

turn it off, you must freeze right where you are.

Like ong>theong> star led ong>theong> wise men, ong>theong> flashlight will

lead you to baby Jesus.

Lead each child one at a time toward ong>theong> baby Jesus

figure. When all ong>theong> children are close, lead ong>theong>m to

baby Jesus by shining ong>theong> light where you hid baby

Jesus. Continue leading ong>theong> children until everyone

has spotted Jesus. Ask: What are some ways you

can look for Jesus in your life?

Ask a parent to scan

this QR code on ong>theong>ir

smartphone or

tablet, and follow

along with ong>theong> wise

men as ong>theong>y follow

ong>theong> star.

Have everyone sit in a circle on ong>theong> floor

with ong>theong>ir hands in ong>theong>ir laps. Choose one

child to be ong>theong> Wise Man and to sit in ong>theong>

center of ong>theong> circle with his or her eyes

closed. Hand a gift box to someone, and

have that person hold ong>theong> gift box behind his

or her back. Be sure ong>theong> oong>theong>r people have

ong>theong>ir hands behind ong>theong>ir backs, too.

Have ong>theong> children call out, “Who’s got a gift

for ong>theong> baby king? Find it, and we’ll go

traveling.”

Make a family nativity scene by sculpting

aluminum foil into different characters

involved in ong>theong> Christmas story.

Give ong>theong> Wise Man two guesses to find ong>theong>

gift. The Wise Man may hide ong>theong> gift box for

ong>theong> next round, and ong>theong> player who had ong>theong>

gift becomes ong>theong> new Wise Man.

Discuss:

• What is ong>theong> best gift you’ve ever

wrapped up and given to someone?

• What is ong>theong> best gift you’ve ever

received?

• What one gift can our family

give to Jesus this week?

51


52


STEP ONE: Use ong>theong> grid to copy ong>theong> drawing

STEP TWO: Color it in!

53


How long ago

did Jesus live?

What was Jesus

like as a child?

Why do some

dates have A.D.

and B.C.?

Was Jesus married?

Did He have children?

Who did Jesus hang out

with? Who were His friends?

Did Jesus have

broong>theong>rs and sisters?

What miracle would you

like to see Jesus do?

If Jesus came to spend ong>theong> day

with you, what would you

choose to do with Him?

Is Jesus in

history books?

Where is Jesus today?

If you could ask Jesus any

question, what would that be?

Is Christ Jesus’

last name?

What is your favorite

thing about Jesus?

What do you think

Jesus thinks about you?

Thank you so much for following me

on my greatest journey. You know,

that special baby boy eventually

grew up and did some pretty

amazing things. Why don’t you take

some time and learn a little bit more

about Jesus by thinking through ong>theong>

questions on this page? If you get

stuck, you may want to ask your

parents or your pastor to help you.

54


Christmas is all about ong>theong> Good News of God’s love.

In ong>theong> beginning of time, God created a perfect world. There was no sickness, sadness,

meanness, or death.

God also made people, so we could enjoy His beautiful world and be close to Him.

Unfortunately, people decided ong>theong>y didn’t really need God. They thought ong>theong>y

would be better off without Him.

So, ong>theong>y stopped trusting God, and ong>theong>y chose to disobey Him.

Their sin messed up God’s perfect world and ruined our friendship

with God.

Sin separated us from God, but thankfully God didn’t want to

be separated from us.

That’s why He sent His only son, Jesus—to make a way for us back

into God’s family.

At just ong>theong> right time, Jesus showed up as a baby born in a manger.

He grew up, lived a perfect, sinless life, and ong>theong>n He died on ong>theong> cross for all ong>theong>

wrong things we had done.

On ong>theong> third day, Jesus rose again which broke ong>theong> power of sin and death.

Jesus’ death and resurrection made it possible for us to be close to God again. Since Jesus

took ong>theong> punishment that we deserve, nothing stands between us and God.

Now anybody can become a part of God’s family! And THAT is ong>theong> Good News of Christmas!

Have you accepted Jesus? If you would you like to

start following Him, pray this prayer:

Dear God, I'm sorry for going my own way and sinning

against You. I deserve to die for my sins and be

separated forever from You. But I believe Your

perfect Son, Jesus, took ong>theong> punishment for sin by

dying on ong>theong> cross. Then He rose from ong>theong> dead, showing

that He won ong>theong> victory over sin and death. I now turn

from my sin and trust Jesus as my Savior. I commit my life

to You and ask You to save me and accept me into Your

family. I want to use ong>theong> rest of my life to serve You

instead of serving myself. Thank You for hearing me.

Amen.


A village girl.

A kind carpenter.

A long journey.

A host of angels.

A bunch of shepherds.

A brand-new star.

A band of stargazers.

A jealous king.

A tiny baby.

The very first Christmas.

56

To obtain more copies of this activity book

and oong>theong>r faith-nurturing resources,

please visit www.WeAreKidMin.com/shop.

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