The Nativity Object Lesson

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Have you looked at your nativity scene lately? Have you ever thought if it matches up to what scripture says? In this Nativity Object Lesson take a fun and in depth look at what scripture really says happened the night Jesus was born.

In this Christmas Story Object Lesson, discuss preconcieved notions about the nativity and what the Bible actually says.


Scripture Focus: Luke 2:1-20 and Mathew 2:1-12


  • Your baby picture;
  • Empty picture frame;
  • Nativity scene with shepherds, angels, animals, wise men, and family

Geography: Galilee, Nazareth, Bethlehem

Background: The law had been given. The Old Testament was over. The Romans were in charge of the world. Roads had been built and most people spoke a common language. The time was perfect for a baby to be born.

Object Lesson for the Nativity:

{Show the baby picture, but don’t tell the children who it is. Have the children list different fun, and not so fun, things about having a newborn baby. Explain that you have another baby picture to show as well. Only show the back of the frame.}

In this Christmas Story Object Lesson, discuss preconcieved notions about the nativity and what the Bible actually says.

When Adam and Eve had the first baby, that baby was born into sin. Every baby born since then has a sin problem, or a sin nature.

The baby shown in this next frame LOVES the baby who is in the first picture. In fact, this second baby was born to save the first baby.

{Turn the empty frame around. Ask:}

  • Who is the baby that was born to save this first baby? [Jesus]In this Christmas Story Object Lesson, discuss preconcieved notions about the nativity and what the Bible actually says.
  • Why is there no picture of Baby Jesus? [There are no pictures of baby Jesus that exist. In fact, there is no real likeness of Him at any stage of life.]

We don’t know what Jesus looked like, but we know that He was God in human flesh. God put on a costume. God isn’t human. Jesus, who is God, took off His glory and left it in heaven and put on the flesh of man. He chose to be human to fix our sin problem. You might chose a costume to wear and pretend to be something you really aren’t. But the neat thing about Jesus is that His costume was real. Jesus really was human. He was God AND He was human.

The first chapter of John tells us that Jesus was with God when He created the world. And then verse 14 tells us that Jesus became a man and lived on the earth.

Bible Lesson for the Nativity:

{Use the nativity scene to set up the events of Jesus’ birth as you read them. Read the scriptures and then ask the questions: Luke 2:1-20 and then Mathew 2:1-12.}

In this Christmas Story Object Lesson, discuss preconcieved notions about the nativity and what the Bible actually says.

There are many traditions that Christians talk about, act out, and assume during Christmas. And many times the traditions ADD to scripture, which can be dangerous. We want to know what God’s Word says, not assume we know what it says.


  • Was Jesus born the first night Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem? [No, he was born while they were there.]
  • Did Mary ride a donkey? [Scripture does not say, but many people traveled by donkey during biblical times.]
  • Was Jesus born is a stable? or a cave? [Scripture does not say, but there was a manger, and Jesus was laid in it.]In this Christmas Story Object Lesson, discuss preconcieved notions about the nativity and what the Bible actually says.
  • Did the inn keeper help Mary and Joseph? [Scripture does not say, only that there was no room in the inn.]
  • Did the shepherds visit at day or night? [The angels appeared at night, so they went to town after the angels left them.]
  • Was Jesus born during the day or night? [Scripture does not say.]
  • Was Jesus born just outside of Bethlehem? [No, in town because the angels said in the city of David and the shepherds went to town.]
  • Did the multitude of angels sing? [Scripture says they praised God and “said”, not sing.]
  • How many people did the shepherds tell about the baby? [The shepherds told many people about the baby because they made it widely known.]
  • Were the wise men there the same night as the shepherds? [No, because scripture says “after Jesus was born” and they “saw the Child,” not a baby.]
  • Did the wise men really “follow” a star? [A star appeared in the sky. We are not told about it moving until it reappeared after the wise men saw Herod.]In this Christmas Story Object Lesson, discuss preconcieved notions about the nativity and what the Bible actually says.
  • How many wise men were there? [Scripture does not say.]
  • Did the wise men ride on camels? [Scripture does not say, but people in the east probably did ride camels.]
  • Who was troubled by the wise men? [King Herod]
  • Where were Joseph, Mary and Jesus living? [A house]
  • How old was Jesus? [Scripture calls Jesus a Child and not a baby, so he may have been two or three years old.]
  • How many gifts did the wise men give? [Only three are listed.]
  • How do you think the nativity scene should be set up? [Allow for answers.]
  • What would you do differently? [Allow for answers.]
  • Would you add or take away characters? [Allow for answers.]

{In my house, the wise men are traveling and placed away from the baby Jesus.}

  • I wonder how many Christmas television shows will have the biblical story correct this season? [Allow for answers.]
  • Can you think of Christmas plays, or shows, or songs, that say something incorrect about the Christmas story? [Allow for answers.]

In this Christmas Story Object Lesson, discuss preconcieved notions about the nativity and what the Bible actually says.

Life Application of the Christmas Story:

Many times we think we know everything about a Bible story because it is familiar to us. But once you start to really read God’s Word, you realize that there is so much you never knew.

The world would LOVE for us to get our facts wrong. Satan would LOVE for us to not know the story of Jesus. But God wants us to be smart Christians. He wants us to read His words and think about them. Meditate on them.In this Christmas Story Object Lesson, discuss preconcieved notions about the nativity and what the Bible actually says.

When you hear someone talk about a historical narrative from the Bible be sure to read your own Bible. When you are in Sunday School, take and read your Bible. When you are in church, don’t read the screen, read your Bible! Don’t take anyone’s word, but God’s word.

{Show the children the first baby picture again.}

This is my baby picture. I’m the baby who was born into sin.

{Show the empty frame.}

I needed a Savior, someone who could fix my sin problem. I chose to believe that Jesus could fix my sin problem and because I believe Jesus lived on earth, died, and rose again in three days, my sin problem is fixed. I can have a relationship with God the Father. The only reason I can go to heaven for eternity is because God chose to wear a costume and be born as a human baby.

What can we learn from the Christmas Story? It is important to read the Bible and know the facts about God and Jesus. Jesus is God and took the form of man. He lived on the earth and saved us from our sins.

In this Christmas Story Object Lesson, discuss preconcieved notions about the nativity and what the Bible actually says.


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12 thoughts on “The Nativity Object Lesson”

  1. This is excellent! Thank you. I don’t home school but I do teach Sunday School. And a short version of this would be a TERRIFIC children’s sermon. Sandy

    1. Christmas trees, to many, may just be a tradition. But a Christian can turn that symbol into a Christian symbol for Jesus. Jesus is called The Root of Jesse. A Christmas tree is also evergreen which shows life when every other tree looks dead. The ornaments cling to the tree as we should cling to Jesus. The lights shine telling people that Jesus is The Light of the World. Yes, we need to really think about the WHY of what we do and make sure that we use everything to glorify the Lord. 🙂

  2. Very good lesson. It’s good to know why we celebrate and to know fact from fiction. I try to instill this in Michael…but also while making sure he doesn’t use his knowledge to beat others over the head. I think that’s the hardest part for kids. We don’t do anything scary or devilish on Halloween. Our neighbors have ghosts on their porch so Michael assumed they had to be unbelievers.I told him that we can’t judge that way. Not all Christians have the same convictions. We should never have a “us vs them” mentality. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace.

    My friend J.S. had an interesting article:

    I definitely think there is a fine line in these areas. There are black and white areas for sure but also grey areas where personal conviction comes into play. There are pagan roots in most things. Back when I was super legalistic in the holiday area, I used to think that every believer that had a Christmas tree or painted eggs was super ignorant of why they did so. It wasn’t until I became one of those believers that liked those things did I realize that some people know the roots and are fine with it.

    Also my kiddo knows why we celebrate. He’s completely cool with celebrating Jesus’ birth in December and in the Fall. We celebrate several holidays that the Bible never commanded (our own birthdays) but we do it for fun not to worship an idol. I like to decorate with pumpkins for Fall and flowers for Spring but I do not worship the gods of those seasons. I find the Christmas tree a lovely decoration. Now will I bow down to it and say chants to the sun god? No way! I’ll never draw a pentagram for Halloween. There is a difference though between God’s beautiful creation (that the world likes to worship) and man made symbols or idols. The Greeks used the owl symbol for Athena. I in no way worship Athena but I love owl jewelry and decor. I have a black cat but I’m not a witch. The rainbow is a symbol for the gay community but it was created by God first. So where do you draw the line? I think that comes down to personal conviction.

    People should for sure stick to their God-given convictions. But pushing personal convictions as the Gospel is crossing the line in my opinion. When I was the deepest in legalism (I’m still a recovering pharisee and will struggle that way probably til I die), I had an elite mentality. God continues to humble me and show me that there is no elite Christian. We’re all the same and Jesus’ righteousness is the only way we can stand in God’s presence. It is faith that pleases God…not the law. The law shows us that we need a savior and it’s also for our own health and to be a witness to others. It does not however give us bonus points in Heaven.

    Anywho, that’s my sermon for today lol. You’re article was in no way legalistic. It just made me think of these things so I had to share. Certain subjects hit my talkative button. I think Michael and I will do this lesson around Christmas time. Movies etc can really confuse the real Biblical events. Thanks for sharing! God bless!

  3. As I read the thoughts shared here with this EXCELLENT object lesson that I WILL US with my children’s SS class, I see a theme in the comments about “legalism” and the “roots” of “pagan” practices preventing Christians from celebrating. I just want to point out that if we consider “roots of pagan practices” as a reason to not participate, aren’t we also agreeing then that we are somehow responsible for the slavery committed by our ancestors??? “Roots in paganism” should NOT be a deterrent from anything we choose to participate in or celebrate. I had a friend that refused to have a Christmas tree in her home and wouldn’t let her five children celebrate anything “Christmas” because of “asher poles” in the Old Testament and the command not to decorate those trees. But she did not want her children to be left out of the celebration time in December, so she chose instead to embrace everything Jewish. My heart questioned why one would choose to celebrate the coming of a Savior through the religious practices of a sect that chose to REJECT that Jesus was/is the Messiah. I loved my friend dearly…and her children. I taught her children at a Christian school and it was awkward when the children left early often in December. They could not participate in the making of any craft with a Christmas theme. They could not sing in the Christmas presentation that was a re-telling of the Christmas story (with traditions of the story mixed in with the Biblcial account). But the children had dreidels…and celebrated the lights and Menorahs…and then there was the uncomfortable position of teacher trying to help classmates accept the differences…which all our children did well. Ultimately…when it comes to any celebration…I always point out to the children that I teach that God always looks at our hearts and understands our motivations for however we choose to act. My personal belief (warning: don’t take this as biblical because it’s a belief the Lord and I have worked out through our 40+ years of relationship)…a Christmas tree in my home is about “family”…not about Jesus. The decorations on the wall are about the “season”…not Jesus. But every thought through my mind during the Christmas season is about thankfulness to God for the greatest gift in my life…my salvation…salvation I would not have were it not for Christ’s willingness to give up His glory so that I could eventually share in it. It’s a “maturity” thing. I now have 3 grown children…with their 3 partners in their lives…and six grandkids under the age of 10. And we will continue to celebrate the birth of the Savior…and all things Christmas that we love and cherish. My adult children actually understand what’s “Biblical” and what’s “traditional”…and never have the struggled with the two different ideas. Yep…preacher’s hearts in all of us who love to make disciples! Thank you for this excellent lesson…the idea of sharing the Christmas story during the Halloween season is delightful for me. My 8 SS class members will be fed a lot about the traditions of Halloween…and being able to relate a “costume” to our salvation is an invaluable tool for this time of year!

  4. We don’t have any photos of Christ but we do have the beautiful picture that the Bible paints for us. Once I show them the blank frame and talk about how we really don’t know what Jesus looked like I add a picture of the Bible and manger and explain it really doesn’t matter what he looked like but what he did for us. It helps my younger Sparks to understand it better.

    1. futureflyingsaucers

      Is Jesus fully man now in a human body? or is it a glorified body like we will have one day? The idea is that Jesus chose to take off His glory and put on humanity to come to earth, like sometimes we put on and take off a costume.

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