Enjoy this Christmas lesson plan, suitable for children in grades 4–6.
The children will be able to
- describe all the parts of the celebration of Jesus’ birth from Advent to his Baptism.
- identify the facts about the Holy Family that are contained in the Bible.
Student Handout A (The Promised One)
Student Handout B (Hidden Message Crossword)
Student Handout C (Prayer Service)
Family Handout (The Birth of Jesus)
Arrange the children in pairs and invite them to talk about the many different things they do during the Christmas season. (eat special foods, visit relatives, sing songs, exchange presents) Say: Because the birth of Jesus is so important, we celebrate it over a number of days. Ask the children: When do we begin to prepare for Christmas in the Church? (the first Sunday of Advent) Explain to the children that today they are going to learn about the Christmas season and how it lasts for three weeks.
Pass out Student Handout A, The Promised One, and ask the children to read it silently. Ask a volunteer to read Luke 2:1–7. Ask: Which feast is described in this reading? (Christmas) What will happen next? (Angels will tell shepherds that Jesus is born, and the shepherds will go to visit him.) Ask two volunteers to read the next two parts of the story, Luke 2:8–14 and 2:15–20.
Tell the children that the next feast day after Christmas is the feast of the Holy Family. Tell them you are going to read them a story about the Holy Family, and then read Luke 2:41–52.
Then tell the children that Epiphany is the feast day following the feast of the Holy Family. Ask: What does this feast celebrate? (the three Wise Men visiting Jesus) Read Matthew 2:1–12 to the children.
Then ask them what the final feast of the Christmas season celebrates. (the baptism of Jesus) Read to the children the account of the baptism in Matthew 4:13–17.
Pass out Student Handout B, Hidden Message Crossword, and have the children complete the puzzle and find the hidden message. Use this activity to see if the children have an understanding of the main parts of Jesus’ life celebrated during the Christmas season.
Pass out the Prayer Service, Student Handout C. Have a few volunteers read Matthew 2:1–11. Make sure you allow time after the reading for silent reflection.
Print out the Family Handout, The Birth of Jesus, and have the children take it home to share with their families.
Enriching the Faith Experience
- Have the children make colorful birthday cards for Jesus and present them at the parish Nativity scene.
- Teach the children traditional Christmas carols, discussing the lyrics to songs such as “Joy to the World,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” and “The First Noel.”
- Acquaint the children with some of the Christmas customs of different nations. If possible, invite a parent or parishioner to share his or her customs with the children.
- It is a custom in Central America for families to make their own Nativity scene. Each family member makes a figure out of clay, paper, or cardboard, or provides a store-bought one. The figures of the Christ Child, Mary, and Joseph are always made first. However, the Christ Child is always added last, on Christmas Eve. Then figures from the Old and New Testaments are added. Sometimes figures representing the family members themselves are made, as well as figures for the animals. Introduce this custom to the children and share this tradition as a class, or encourage them to share this custom with their families.
- Invite the children to dramatize one or more of the Scripture passages about the Holy Family found in Matthew 1:18–25; 2:13–23, 13:53–58; and Luke 2:1–52.