Jesus was born without the traditional fanfare for a king. However, each group that came to celebrate His birth did so in their own way and gave Him honor. Today we are going to look at the reactions of the various participants at the birth of Christ and consider how we might have reacted if we were able to be present at this glorious event.
Pass out sheets of paper and mirrors. As the women look at themselves in the mirror ask them to write down three adjectives to describe themselves. (An adjective is a word that describes, identifies or further defines a noun or a pronoun. Examples: thoughtful, hardworking, determined, strong, confident, ambitious.) Ask the women to put their names at the top of the paper, fold it over so that their responses are not visible and pass it to their neighbor. She is to write three adjectives that she feels describe her neighbor. She folds it over so her responses are not visible and hands it back.
Serve birthday cake to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Celebrating His birth is one of the many ways we can worship Him.
I Was There
The gospels reveal how people who came to the birth of Jesus viewed the wonderful event.
Shepherds—The shepherds’ account can be found in Luke 2:8–17. Turn off the lights briefly for the first verse and read it softly. Then turn on all the lights for the remaining verses and read in a loud open–air voice. After the passage has been read ask the women how they felt when the lights went dramatically from dark to bright and soft to loud. The shepherds were used to quiet evenings, having to chase off a sly wolf their only excitement. When the angel and the heavenly host appeared, it was out of the ordinary for them. Indeed, if I had been there, I think I would have been afraid as they were. Yet they were also full of excitement as they hurried off to see the Christ child. Their gift to the child was the excitement they brought, which continued as they reported to everyone what they had seen. If we needed to give adjectives as to how the shepherds reacted, what would they be?
Wise Men—Next let’s look at the wise men. It is thought that they most likely came to see Jesus when He was about two years old. Matthew 2:9–11 records their visit to the home of Jesus. When a new baby is expected in a family, we often hold a shower to honor the child. As parents or relatives, what gifts do you think are the most valuable? The magi were important men of science. The gifts they brought showed the value or importance of Jesus, but their worship was much more important than the physical gifts. What words do you think best describes the way the wise men worshipped?
Mary—Finally, let’s look at the reaction of Mary to the birth of her Son. (Read Luke 2:19.) This is the shortest description of a reaction to the birth of Jesus, yet it is one I’m sure we can relate to. Have you experienced an event in your own life that you had to think about before you could react? The birth of a child affects us profoundly. The love you have for this new little person can be overwhelming. Mary’s reaction was similar when she found out she would have a child. “She kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often” (Luke: 2:19).
Celebrations are often accompanied by music and fanfare. The song “Little Drummer Boy” is about a child who plays his drum to mark his visit to the newborn King. The song “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” by Bing Crosby and David Bowie combines the traditional tune “Little Drummer Boy” and the tune “Peace on Earth.” (Play this song. The words can be found on YouTube). After the song ask the women to discuss as a group how they think they would have reacted to the birth of Jesus. Remind them there are many ways to worship as we observed in the reactions of those individuals that we considered today.
Invite the women to discuss the greatest gift they might bring to the newborn king. Would their gifts be like those brought by the shepherds, or the wise men or Mary? Would their reactions and their gifts be different?
Were the adjectives the women used to describe themselves different than those recorded by their neighbor? If so, why do they think this was so? Does using these adjectives help them to come up with an idea of how they would have reacted upon meeting the baby Jesus? (If hardworking, would they have been busy cleaning up the stable?)
In conclusion invite them to share how they plan to worship Jesus this Christmas.