A Christmas story with a lift!
To tell the following story with children ( and with adults) you need either a parachute or a large sheet or a blanket.
This story could be told in a lounge room in a family setting or in a larger group at Sunday School or a school setting.
The following is a guide which could be modified according to the size of the group and time available.
1. Introduction Lay the parachute on the ground and ask the children to sit around the edge. Talk about what you look forward to at Christmas.
Can you imagine this parachute (or blanket) is a very large wrapping for a present?
Have you bought any presents to give to your family or friends? What do think is the best present we could give to someone?
You could have some fun here by tossing an (unbreakable) object or gift on the parachute (like a small ball) Christmas is about giving. Let’s go back to where it all began as we use our parachute to help us remember the true Christmas story.
2. Zechariah & Elizabeth ( read or talk about Luke 1:5-23)
In the Bible we read about an older couple called Zechariah and Elizabeth. They sadly had no children. Zechariah was a priest and he was especially chosen to go into the holy place in the Temple to offer prayers and burn incense to God. Only one priest at a time could go into this special place.
Choose someone to be Zechariah and to go under the parachute to the middle.
While Zechariah was praying inside the Temple a large angel appeared to Zechariah and spoke to him.
Shake the parachute to flap the angel’s wings. Now shake the parachute because Zechariah is frightened.
The angel named Gabriel told Zechariah not to be scared because God had heard his prayer and was going to give them a very special present- a baby. A boy who was to be called John.
The people outside waiting for Zechariah wondered why he was taking so long.
Let’s call out “Come out! Come out Zechariah!
The child who was under the parachute comes out.
The people realize that God is doing something amazing when Zechariah can’t speak and starts to make signs to them.
Later on they have a beautiful baby boy who God has special things to do. John is Jesus’ cousin.
3. Mary & the Angel (read or talk about Luke 1:26-38)
God had a special gift for Mary. She was going to have a baby- God’s own Son Jesus.
Choose someone to be Mary and go under to the middle of the parachute.
Lift it high over her head. And then down a few times.
The angel spoke to Mary and she was frightened. Flap the parachute.
4. Mary visits Elizabeth (read or talk about Luke 1:39-45)
Mary walks to the hill country to visit her cousin Elizabeth.
The children walk once around a circle holding the side of the parachute
Mary meets and greets her cousin Elizabeth. Both the women have very big tummies
because they are both going to have babies!
Let’s make two big tummies with our parachute. Lift the parachute up high.
No doubt young Mary and old Elizabeth have lot’s to talk about especially about
the angel visits and the gift God was giving both of them.
5. The Birth of Jesus (read or talk about Luke 2:1-7)
‘Everyone went to their own town to register’. Walk around holding the sides of the parachute.
They probably had to walk up and down, up and down (raise and lower the parachute) before they arrived at Bethlehem.
They tried several places to stay but they were all full of people.
Raise and then lower the parachute to the ground several times
while saying “Sorry , no room here!”
Till finally an innkeeper gave let them rest in the stable. Late that night Mary had her baby – Jesus.
Lift the parachute high and then sit on the edge underneath.
( You could sing “Away in a Manger” at this point.)
6. The Shepherds and the Angels (read or talk about Luke 2:8-20)
The children sit around the outside of the parachute. Imagine our parachute is a fireplace on a hillside at night.
An angel appears and speaks to the shepherds.
Shake the parachute’s edge while it’s on the ground. Lift the parachute over your head.
Don’t be afraid! Shake the parachute like the angels wings.
Now lift the parachute high as they angels sing praises to God.
Move the parachute around in a circle while holding the edge as the shepherds go to Bethlehem to find the promised baby.
Raise the parachute over your head and go underneath as you look inside the stable to see Mary Joseph and Jesus.
The shepherds spread the Good News about the child and all were amazed.
The shepherds return while praising God. Now raise and lower the parachute while saying “ Praise God for Jesus!”
7. The Wise Men follow the star (read or talk about Matthew 2:1-12)
(This section may be included if you have time.)
The wise men traveled a long way. Holding the edge of the parachute walk around in a circle.
Stop and then start again several times.( Say ‘Are we there yet?’)
The wise men rode on camels following a bright star.
Raise the parachute up and down to make bumps or humps like camels.
Finally the star stopped at Bethlehem. Christmas is about giving.
What did the wise men bring to Jesus?
The wise men brought their gifts to Jesus and they worshipped him.
(You may want to choose some children to be wise men and pretend to take gifts and lay them in the middle of the parachute on the ground.)
8. Glory to God in the highest!
Today we’ve been using a parachute to remind us of the first Christmas.
What is a parachute usually used for? To save someone from falling to the ground.
The name given to Mary’s baby was Jesus- which means savior. God sent his only son Jesus to save people from their sins. Jesus is God’s gift to you.
Look at the small circle in the centre of the parachute. Jesus want to be the center of our lives so that this Christmas all people around the world will all look at him, bow like the wise men and worship him as their Lord and king.
Let’s raise the parachute one more time to offer a prayer of thanks and praise to God for Jesus.
( Extra: You could use the parachute for the “flight to Egypt” just in case!)
© Don Stott, http://Eliab.com, 2010