Journey to Bethlehem Sunday School Lesson

This Journey to Bethlehem Sunday School lesson is a complete lesson script packed with ideas for making this part of the Christmas story interesting.

Journey to Bethlehem Mad Libs

Ok, everyone, let’s start with something a little fun today. I need some words for a story I’m writing. I want you to think up with craziest, most ridiculous words you can think of, and I’ll write them down to add to my Christmas story.

1- plural noun

2- plural noun

3- noun

4- adjective


6- noun

7- verb


9- verb

10- adjective

11- plural noun

12- plural noun

13- adjective

14- plural noun


Now I’ll just add your words…

into the story, and then I’ll read it aloud to see how it turned out:

In my family, we have some really fun Christmas traditions. Every year, we put ___1____ on our heads and _____2___ on our feet because it’s cold, and head into the woods to chop down a Christmas ____3______. We always look for a ____4_____, ____5_____ one. When we find it, Dad takes a ____6_____ and cuts it down. Then we put it on top of our van and ____7____ all the way home. On Christmas day, we ____8____ and ____9_____. We eat ____10_____ ____11____ and roast ____12_____ over the fire. My parents always give us ___13_____ ___14______ as a present.


Now, Back To Our Story

Just like that ridiculous story, a lot of things about the Christmas story don’t make sense.

All of a sudden, a single girl is going to have a baby. Angels appear out of nowhere and pop up in Joseph’s dreams. Now, just when Mary and Joseph think they can finally settle down and have a normal married life, something else goes wrong.

The ruler, Caesar Augustus decided to make everyone go back to where they were born so that his officials could count them and see how many people there were in the country. They didn’t really have the internet or even the mail system, so counting people was a lot harder!

It was called a census. By that time, Mary was almost about to have the baby! Unfortunately, the government people just wouldn’t cut her any slack, and she was going to have to travel all the way to Bethlehem with Joseph because that’s where his family was from.

It sounds awful, but hundreds of years before, the prophets had said that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, and so this “random census” wasn’t so random after all. It was God’s way of getting Mary to Bethlehem so that Jesus could be born where he was supposed to be born. This is where the Hebrew people were expecting the Messiah to one day be born.

So they made it to Bethlehem, but Mary was about to pop! They needed to find somewhere to stay— and pronto! Unfortunately, however, many other people had come to Bethlehem because of the census too, and there wasn’t any place for them to stay.

You are going to sound suuuuuuper smart…

Now, listen up, because I’m going to give you some great info that you can tell to your friends to sound super smart. Everyone says, “there was no room in the inn,” right?

It wasn’t a place where you pay and get a room like the Holiday Inn

Well, the right word for where Mary and Joseph went is actually a “guest room”. It wasn’t a place where you pay and get a room like the Holiday Inn; it was actually a guest room in someone’s house. Yeah, I know that those Christmas plays normally have an innkeeper who turns Mary and Joseph away. Sorry, innkeeper— you’re out of a job.

These guest rooms were located on the second floor of a house, and people often kept animals on the first floor. So it’s possible that the owner of the guest rooms let Mary and Joseph stay downstairs with the animals, because there was no room upstairs. It’s also possible that they stayed in a cave, because in those times in Israel, people often used caves as stables; they didn’t use those wooden barn-like structures like we see in the United States.

Imagine that— Jesus being born in a dark, musty cave once used by the Croods! (click here if you don’t understand the reference) Ok, maybe not, but the point is that the Bible doesn’t exactly say where he was born, but we know that he was definitely placed in a manger, which is a feeding trough for animals. Not exactly the cleanest place— anyone here enjoy the smell of farm animals? I didn’t think so.

I know, it seems like everything had gone terribly wrong!

Why would God let Jesus be born in a stinky place like that?

The answer is in the reason WHY Jesus came.

When he was an adult, Jesus told everyone why He had come: “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28, NIV) So the fact that He was born in such a lowly, humble place was no mistake. It was so that we would know that He came to help us, and not to be waited upon hand and foot like a king.

You may be thinking, “but…isn’t Jesus King?” Yes, He is King of the entire universe, but He wants to be King of your heart. The only way to do that was to come to earth to die and pay the price for our sins, so that we can be with Him in heaven someday. He came as a gift for me and for you. That’s a better gift than anything that could be under your Christmas tree.

If you haven’t chosen to accept that gift yet, there’s no better time than today, during the Christmas season.You can talk to me or another teacher after class. If you already have accepted Jesus, share the gift with others by telling them about Jesus’ birth and what Christmas is all about.

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