The Angels and Shepherds

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 04 - The Birth of Jesus

TEXT: Luke 2:8-20


The students will be able to tell the method by which God made the announcement of the Savior's birth. They will further be able to describe the action taken by the Shepherds who received the announcement.


Introduction: Briefly describe the setting of the Judean hillside. Hand out the picture of the shepherds looking into the sky (see Patterns) and let the students fill in the facial expression on each face.

Progression of Events:

  1. Review last week's account of Jesus' birth.
  2. God chose a dramatic way to make the announcement to mankind—the appearance of the angels.
  3. Explain the angel's message.
  4. Explore the probable emotions of the shepherds.

Climax: They left their sheep and hurried to Bethlehem.

Conclusion: The shepherds believed, and so saw the Baby Jesus with their own eyes.

Response: Your students will be able to explain the good news brought by the angels and tell how the shepherds responded.


Although we think of Abraham and David as mighty men and rulers, they were also in fact, shepherds. Just as God had announced to those Old Testament shepherds His plan to bring forth a Savior, on this first Christmas He chose humble shepherds of Bethlehem to hear His message. Although Christ's entrance into this world was very humble, God also exalted His Son by sending an angel to announce His birth and a host of heavenly beings to praise Him.

And to whom was this pronouncement made, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”? The “all people” and the “you” of Luke 2:10-11 refer to any who will gladly hear the message of God. And Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” God will bless with insight the humble and spiritually needy. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).


  • Bring one or more angels and several shepherds. These could be hand puppets or dolls, or let the students be the shepherds and the teacher be the angel.
  • Do a flannelgraph with an audio Bible story for background effect. Bring a number of items used for communication: radio, walkie-talkie, phone, newspaper, letter. Discuss how God chose a unique way of presenting the announcement of the birth of His Son Jesus. Another possibility would be to have your class try writing some newspaper headlines to announce His birth, or compose a spot announcement for a radio broadcast.
  • Give each child a picture of the shepherds looking up as they hear the message of the angels (see Patterns). Let them fill in the facial features and expressions on each face, showing the awe, fear, or wonder the shepherds must have felt when they saw the angels.
  • Give each child two pieces of chenille wire and show them how to twist them together and then form a crook on one end. As they are doing this, discuss the responsibilities of a shepherd and why he carries a crook, as a lead-in to the lesson.


  1. The text says, “And there were in the same country ....” What country?
  2. Why do you suppose people were frightened when they saw an angel?
  3. Do angels always appear with a bright light about them?
  4. Do you believe there are angels around today? Why or why not?
  5. What city is the City of David? Do you know why?
  6. Even when there is much war and trouble in the world, where is there “peace on earth”?
  7. How do you suppose the shepherds felt at finding the Baby in a manger?
  8. The shepherds told abroad the things they'd seen and heard. Why do you suppose people didn't flock to the manger to see for themselves?


  • Make a paper chain of angels with your children. Let them color or glue on stars.
  • Let the little ones glue cotton to the sheep (see Patterns).
  • Bring a stuffed lamb for the little ones to hold and pet.
  • Make an angel, shepherd and sheep finger puppets (see Patterns). Let your children act out the story as you tell it.
  • Use a tape recording to simulate the praises of the angels.


Do an overhead telling the shepherds' story. Using the patterns provided, trace the figures onto a paper background. Cut out shapes so that when you put it on the overhead it gives a shadowbox effect (see Patterns). Tell the story as you normally would, using the overhead viewer.

Have your class put on a skit, various students taking the parts of the angel, shepherds, and angel host. Discuss how the students would feel if they were the angel bringing the good news, or if they were the shepherds that God chose to hear the wonderful news, or if they were the angels saying “Glory to God in the Highest.” Let them dress in costume and perform for the whole department or an older class.

Teach the students a Christmas song which features the angels and shepherds, such as “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “O Holy Night,” or “The First Noel.”

Make a large crossword grid on a blackboard, overhead transparency or piece of posterboard. Using clues written around the text of the lesson, help your students fill in the crossword puzzle with words selected from the text.


  • “The Night the Angels Sang” — Arch Book, Concordia
  • “The Little Shepherd and the First Christmas” — Arch Book, Concordia
  • “Little Benjamin and the First Christmas” — Arch Book, Concordia