Bible Truth: God takes care of Mary and Joseph.
Bible Story: Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted.
Bible Study: Luke 2:1-7
Joseph and Mary's journey to Bethlehem is simply stated in scripture, but a little research into history, culture and geography lends a little more insight into what the journey was like. It was approximately 70 miles from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem. The most common mode of transportation in those days for such a trip was walking and riding a donkey. Parts of the terrain were rocky and mountainous, and rainy weather was likely. Robbers often took advantage of vulnerable travelers who were making such a journey. It would not have been a comfortable journey for a pregnant woman to make.
Though we don't know all the details of this journey, one thing is certain, God was watching over, and protecting Mary and Joseph. Throughout the unfolding of events surrounding the birth of our Savior, we witness God's provision for the fulfillment of His promises. In telling this story, I want the children to know that there were dangers and fears, but God took care of Mary and Joseph. Preschoolers relate to feelings of fear and uncertainty, and through this story we can assure them that God is also watching over them and caring for them.
good news review
Review the good news that the angel Gabriel brought to Mary and Joseph in the story last week.
This week Mary, Joseph and the donkey that Mary likely rode are the special characters that I keep tucked in my little gift box and bring out for story time.
going to bethlehem
This is a fun, playful story chant that I created a few years ago. It's inspired by the classic children's story chant "Going on a Bear Hunt." You can watch me do the rhyme with my class here! This is something different that always captures the kids' attention. It helps them understand that that Mary and Joseph faced some difficulties, but God was watching over them, and helping them every step of the way.
Watching Over You is a great upbeat song produced by Group Music about how God is always watching over us. It's a favorite throughout the year in my classroom, and goes very well with our lesson this week. You can download the song here, and watch a video to see the actions here.
Pin Mary on the Donkey is just like the traditional game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Print out a large picture of a donkey, and a picture of Mary. Post the picture of the donkey on the wall. Blindfold a child, and hand them a cut-out of Mary with tape rolled to the back. Spin them around a couple times, face them towards the donkey to try to place Mary on the donkey's back. You could also do this with felt figures if you have them available to you. With young children, I don't make games like this a competition. The fun for them is having a turn to try, and watching others try.
journey to bethlehem
- this printable activity sheet
- Mary & Joseph graphic (not provided, I purchased mine here)
- card stock
- a hole punch
To prepare, print the activity sheet onto card stock. Search the web for a graphic of Mary and Joseph that will work for this craft. Cut pieces of yarn approximately 20" long. Punch a hole in the middle of each activity page, at the top and the bottom. Thread a piece of yarn through each hole. Tie it in the back, and move the knot to the bottom of the activity page.
In class, provide crayons for children to color the activity page. Help them tape the graphic of Mary and Joseph to the yarn at the top of the page. Children will be able to move Mary and Joseph through the different terrains and weather conditions from Nazareth to Bethlehem, as they tell the story of God's care for Mary and Joseph.