We at Prayer in Every City hope you are having a glorious Christmas season. There are so many traditions we associate with Christmas like lights, wreaths, holly, red bows, Christmas trees, stockings, Santa Claus and reindeer. I hope you are enjoying your holiday traditions, but don’t forget the most important reason we celebrate Christmas. Without Jesus, the other traditions will leave you empty come January.
Today we will hear the story of the shepherds, which can only be found in Luke chapter 2. Parts of the Christmas story can also be found in Matthew 1-2, so you must study both books of the Bible to get the full story. We can only read about the wise men in the book of Matthew. I hope you have been keeping up with my weekly Advent stories, which are intended for older children and teens. If you would like to read the other stories, you can click here: Advent Week 1, Advent Week 2.
Christmas Story Pretest Questions
Before you begin reading the Bible for today’s lesson, ask your children/teens the following questions. We will then check the answers after we have read the story to see how accurately we know it. Many of us have seen so many Christmas plays that we may think we know the story, but when we look closely at the Bible we realize we didn’t have all the facts correct.
- Whey is Jesus called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?
- Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem?
- What mode of transportation did Mary use on the way to Bethlehem?
- What did the innkeeper say to Mary and Joseph?
- What did the shepherds do when they saw the star?
- What was the sign the shepherds were to look for?
- What did the angels sing?
- Did the shepherds find the manger underneath the star?
Now read Luke 2:1-20 so we can look for the answers to these questions.
Why Is Jesus called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?
At the beginning of chapter 2 we are told that everyone had to return to their own city to be registered for a census, which is a count of the population. Joseph was from the tribe or family of Judah, which is the same tribe as King David so he was required to go to Bethlehem to be counted. The Jewish people belonged to one of 12 tribes, which were named after the 12 sons of Jacob in the Old Testament. You may have heard Jesus referred to as the Lion of the tribe of Judah in Revelation 5:5. Jesus was a descendant of King David so he was from the tribe of Judah. When Jacob blesses his sons in Genesis 49, he uses the symbol of a lion to describe his son Judah. So Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem?
Notice in verses 5-7 that Mary went with him and gave birth to Jesus while they were in Bethlehem. This fulfilled a prophecy from the Old Testament found in Micah, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting” Micah 5:2 (NKJV). This census was no surprise to God, because he had predicted this thousands of years before Jesus was born.7.
What mode of transportation did Mary use on the way to Bethlehem?
In many Christmas plays we see her riding on a donkey are we have been told she rode on a donkey, In Luke 2, there is no mention of a donkey.
What did the innkeeper say to Mary and Joseph?
Look closely at Luke 2:7. There is no mention of an innkeeper. We are only told that there was no room for them in the inn.
What did the shepherds do when they saw the star?
What was the sign the shepherds were to look for?
We will now look at verses 8-14, which tells about the angel appearing to the shepherds. The angel told them that they should look for a sign. This sign was not a star, but a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. They had no star to follow and had to go into the town of Bethlehem to find a manger. The town was very small so I am sure they did not have to look long to find them. Whenever we see picture on cards of the manger, we always see a star above the manger, but this is not how the shepherds found the baby. Only the wise men followed the star, which we will learn about next week.
What did the angels sing?
In verse 13 a multitude of angels join the first angel to praise God. Look closely at verse 13 to see if the angels spoke or sang. According to the Bible we have no singing angels in this story. There were no angels singing, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, or any song for that matter. The angles told the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:14 (NKJV).
Did the shepherds find the manger under the star?
After the angels disappeared, the shepherds went into the town to see if they could find the baby. After the shepherds found the baby, they made known the statement which had been told to them about the child. I wonder if people had a difficult time believing them. Shepherds were not very well liked in those days. Do you think your friends would believe you if you told them you saw an angel? How could you prove it to people? Since the shepherds told people about Jesus, they are technically the first missionaries. They heard about Jesus and then told others about him. I hope that you will tell others about Jesus.
Some of you may realize for the first time that you had a inaccurate understanding of the birth of Jesus Christ. I usually teach adult women and have enjoyed giving them my Christmas quiz every year. They are always shocked to learn how poorly they actually know this story. It is so important that we study the Bible for ourselves rather than relying on other people to tell us the story. They may not have all the facts correct as we have learned from this lesson. If we know the Bible for ourselves, it would not be possible for us to be deceived by a false teacher or a false religion. Please start studying the Bible and asking yourself the 5 W’s and an H (who, what, when, where, why and how).
Have a Merry Christmas!