by Casey W. Fitzgerald
God of our story
Be with us
As we learn and share
As we listen and tell
As we seek to know you
In this story
And to be known by you
As we tell it
In what follows, families are encouraged to learn to tell the main elements of the Christmas story by heart, as well as engage in personal storytelling.
- TEST YOUR MEMORY: The story of Jesus’ birth is perhaps the most well-known story from the Bible. Before you begin to learn it by heart, see what you can remember. Without looking up the text, jot down all the parts of the story that you can recall. If you are working in a group/family, have someone keep notes for the group as you remember the story together. Jog your memory by asking yourself: Who? What? When? Why? Where? How?
- ORDER THE STORY: Now that you’ve got the basics down, print and cut out (along perforated lines) the actual birth story (Luke 2 Reordering Activity). Once you’ve cut out the story into parts, mix them up…then see if you can piece the story together in the correct order. You can work in groups/pairs/individually–just make sure you have enough copies. For non-readers, proficient readers can read the parts of the story to help non-readers rearrange.
- TELL THE WHOLE STORY: Once you’ve pieced the story together, notice what you remembered from the story as well as what you missed. Try telling it again without looking.
- FOR THE YOUNGER SET: Get out your nativity set! While adult reads aloud (2x), kids enact the story with their nativity set. Following the reenactment, kids should try to retell the story in their own words. Don’t have a nativity set? No problem! Make a paper one! Here is a printable–though a quick Google search will bring you to many different kinds.
- OUR STORY, GOD’S STORY: Tell a story of a significant birth/adoption in your life. What do you remember? Who was there (or wasn’t)? Where were you? When did it happen? How did it come to pass? Did you sense God’s presence at that time? Do you now? Parents or grandparents, this is a great time to tell your children/grandchildren the story of their birth/adoption!
Consider telling the Christmas story together before you begin to open presents on Christmas morning, or perhaps as you begin your family meal. What do you love most about this Christmas story?
Looking for a new family tradition? Consider this one!
*Much of this activity was originally put out on my website, www.FaithandWonder.com.
Casey W. FitzGerald is Associate Pastor for Children & Families and Young Adults at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, VA. She writes about storytelling at Faith and Wonder and and tells stories each week on her podcast, Story Divine.