Jesus Born in Bethlehem

Luke 1.31, 32, 35; Luke 2.1-7

The birth of Jesus was the birth of the Messiah-king that God had promised his people for hundreds of years and that Israel had been waiting and waiting for! Fittingly, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which was also the birthplace of his great-great-great-great … grandfather king David to whom God had promised that an eternal king would one day sit on the throne. A major turning point in history was set in motion on that night, but as Silesius the old medieval mystic said, “though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if he’s not born in me, my heart is still forlorn.”

Key Verse

“… until Christ is formed in you!”

– Galatians 4.19b (ESV)

Lesson

Bible story (part 1).

Explain to the children that for a few months we’ve been looking at stories from the Old Testament that speak about God’s promise to send a new king who would become a savior to the world. Explain to the children that Israel had been waiting for a long time for this new king and for hundreds of years he hadn’t come yet. But then one day an angel appeared to a young lady named Mary! Who was Mary? She was Jesus’ mother, but before Jesus was born and before she was even married the Angel appeared to and said:     

Luke 1:31 “Listen: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” 35 … “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God.”

Wow, that’s amazing. He was telling her that God’s promise was coming true! What do you think it means for him to have the throne of David? Well, God promised king David many years before that one of his descendents would be king forever. David couldn’t be king forever because he was just a man, but Jesus could be king forever because he would be the Son of God!

Now, that is so crazy. The angel also said that Jesus would be holy and the Son of God. God’s holiness and love is too BIG for us to understand. God is so BIG (emphasize BIG!) yet the angel said that he would come into the world as a little (emphasize little) baby. Think of it like this…

Object Lesson (Fruit Juice Concentrate)

Props: Small bottle of juice concentrate and a pitcher of water.

Show the kids a small bottle of juice concentrate. Explain that it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of juice in the little bottle. It looks like there’s only a tiny bit; not even enough for one person. When you pour some into a pitcher of water you realize that it’s concentrated. Concentrated means that it’s very strong. See, we can make a whole pitcher of juice from this. What the angel was saying was that God’s holiness would come into the world through Jesus.

Bible story (part 2).

Tell the kids that what the angel said came true. Mary became pregnant, meaning that baby Jesus was growing inside of her. But then the governor said that everybody had to be registered in the town that they were from.

Luke 2:4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David.

So, Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth, but their family line was in Bethlehem. Do you guys remember who else was born in Bethlehem? King David was born there. King David was their great-great-great-great … grandfather! Look:

5 [Joseph] went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

That’s how it happened that Jesus the Son of God was born in a little town called Bethlehem! That day God’s holiness came into the world in a special way (hold up the fruit juice concentrate).

Application

Did you know that the Bible talks about Jesus being formed in you? (Gal. 4.19). That doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a baby like Mary but it means that when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior he makes us holy and we become more and more like him! (If you want to you can pour a few drops of concentrate into a glass of water to emphasize the point).

Prayer: Thank God for sending his Son Jesus who came to fulfill God’s promise. Pray for the children to understand the true meaning of Christmas and that they would become more like Jesus.


Review Questions

  • Why did the Angel appear to Mary?
  • Why did Joseph and Mary have to travel to Bethlehem?
  • What does it mean for Jesus to sit on David’s throne?
  • How is Jesus your king today?
  • What does it mean for Christ to be formed in you?

Activity

Christmas Carol Charades

Supplies: A list of Christmas Carols, a scoreboard (whiteboard).

What to do: Divide the kids into two teams. Give each of the adult volunteers a phrase to be acted out for the children to guess. Each time a team guesses correctly they get a point on the board. Some suggested phrases:

  • Away in a Manger
  • Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  • Joy to the World
  • Oh Holy Night
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem
  • We Three Kings of Orient Are

Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.