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Follow the star;Project Christmas

(Photograph) - Relive the journeys that took Mary and Joseph, the wise men, and the shepherds and angels to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus 2000 years ago. Illustrations: Ted Dewan. Notes: Gerald Haigh.

* JOURNEY OF THE HOLY FAMILY

" And Joseph went up from Galilee unto Bethlehem, to be taxed, with Mary his wife, being great with child."

Luke 2, 4

* JOURNEYS TO THE MANGER

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the King, behold there came wise men from the the east....and lo the star which they saw in the east went before them."

Matthew 2, 1 and 9

" The Shepherds said one to another, 'Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.'"

Luke 2, 15

* PRAISE TO THE KING

" And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger."

Luke 2, 16

* THINGS TO DO WITH THE CHILDREN

1 The texts in this project are taken from the King James Bible. You can also find modern versions - Puffin Children's Bible or Good News Bible , for example - for comparison.

2 Discuss with your class what the shepherds were "keeping watch" for.

3 The Holy Family was forced to visit Bethlehem because they were in a conquered and occupied land. Can your pupils think of people in other lands today who are being forced to move around to suit the whims of conquering armies?

4 Some people think the star was the planet Venus. With the help of parents and staff, can your pupils find Venus in the sky on a clear night?

5 The kings brought gifts for the baby Jesus. What symbolic gifts would your pupils give to a new baby in their family?

6 Jesus was born in a stable. Ask your class to think about - or pray for - all babies across the world who are born without homes orproper shelter.

7 Discuss with your pupils why people from all faiths can enjoy Christmas, just as Christians can enjoy Diwali and other festivals.

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