Here’s a free Christmas preteen lesson on the birth of Jesus, based on Luke 2:1-20 and Micah 5:2-3.

The lesson’s big idea: We celebrate Jesus’s birth because His coming brought our salvation.

It kicks of with a fun game, Jingle Bell Relay.


Nick Diliberto

Looking for preteen curriculum? Check out the…

ONE YEAR PRETEEN CURRICULUM, VOLUME 2 – Get one year of new preteen ministry curriculum designed to help 4th-6th graders explore their faith and wholeheartedly follow Jesus.


Bible: Micah 5:2-3; Luke 2:1-20

Bottom line: We celebrate Jesus’s birth because His coming brought our salvation.


  • Audio of Jingle Bells
  • Audio of O Little Town of Bethlehem
  • Audio of Angels We Have Heard on High
  • 2 strings of small bell necklaces
  • Masking tape



Before class, clear enough floor space for a relay race.

Use masking tape to make a starting line and a finish line.

String several small bells onto two different ribbons and tie them into necklaces.

Make sure they are long enough to easily move from around one student’s neck to the next during the race.

Set up the song, “Jingle Bells,” so it’s ready to play before students arrive.

Divide the students into groups and line them up behind the starting line.

Have the first person in line for each group put on the jingle bell necklace.


Say:  Today, we are going to have a jingle bell relay race.

When the music starts, the racers at the front of the line will run to the finish line and back again while wearing their jingle bell necklaces.

Once the racer arrives back at the starting line, they will remove the necklace and put it on the next racer who will then run the race.

We will repeat this until every racer has run, and the winner is the team who gets all of their racers across the finish line the fastest.

*Play Jingle Bells song and start the game.


Say: You guys are great runners.

It didn’t take you long to complete the race, but I wonder if you could have handled a really long race.

What do you think?

Could you have run a mile?

5 miles?

90 miles?

90 miles is a really long distance to go on foot, isn’t it?

What would you say if I told you Joseph and Mary walked 90 miles while she was expecting Baby Jesus?

It’s true, and it was something that had to happen.

Today we’re going to talk about about a prophecy of Jesus’s birth. 

Jesus was supposed to be born in the City of David, Bethlehem.

Read Micah 5:2-3.

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.

Listen to this song from our Christmas playlist.

Play, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

It might not seem like such a big deal to us that Jesus needed to be born in Bethlehem, but this was a really difficult thing for Joseph and Mary.

They lived in Nazareth.

Nazareth was 90 miles from Bethlehem.

That’s 90 miles of walking!

Why would anyone walk 90 miles with an expectant mother?

Well, God provided a reason for that, too.

Read Luke 2:1-5.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

And all went to be registered, each to his own town.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

Caesar Augustus was the emperor of Rome.

More specifically, he was the first emperor of Rome, and becoming emperor had been a long-fought battle.

Have you ever heard of Julius Caesar?

He ruled Rome before Caesar Augustus.

When he was murdered, Caesar Augustus––called Octavius at the time––and Mark Antony ruled together for a while.

You might have studied Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

She was the queen of Egypt.

If you haven’t yet, you’ll learn about them in high school.

Caesar Augustus and Mark Antony had a falling out.

They spent years at war over the future of the Roman Empire, each controlling about half of the empire in the beginning.

When Caesar Augustus defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra in Egypt, he gained the entire empire and his word became law.

He was the most powerful man in the world.

If the emperor gave a decree, all the people in his land had to listen.

Expecting a baby wasn’t going to get Joseph and Mary out of following the decree.

They had to make the trip to Bethlehem.

Caesar Augustus did not serve God, but God used his decree to put Joseph and Mary in exactly the right place at the right time.

Read Luke 2:6-7.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Think back to our song.

Look at the familiar lyrics in the middle.

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head.  

The stars in the sky look down where he lay, the Little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.”

Those are the lyrics we are most familiar with from this song, aren’t they?

But, can you imagine being a young mother and having to have your baby in a stable?

This was Mary’s reality.

Nothing about Jesus’s birth went the way most births go.

I think it is safe to say Joseph and Mary probably didn’t want to walk 90 miles so late in Mary’s pregnancy.

They would have preferred baby Jesus to be born in the comfort of their own home, not some stinky stable in a faraway town.

But, God took care of the details.

Bethlehem was crowded with other descendants of King David.

Everyone was busy doing as Augustus Caesar ordered.

Bethlehem wasn’t a big place.

The song is called, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” not, “O Big City of Bethlehem.”

The people of Bethlehem couldn’t have possibly been prepared for so many visitors at one time.

That’s why there weren’t enough rooms in the inn.

The sad truth is, even today, there are people who don’t want to make room in their lives for Jesus.

Jesus deserves our worship.

He gave everything to bring us salvation.

There were some who came to worship Jesus though, and we are going to talk about them right after we listen to one more song.

Play, “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

The angels celebrated when Jesus was born.

Isn’t that great?

And, they told the good news of Jesus’s birth to the shepherds.

Read Luke 2:8-14.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.

And the angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

The angels put out an invitation to the shepherds to see Jesus for themselves.

Look at the lyrics.

“Come to Bethlehem and see him whose birth the angels sing; come, adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the newborn king.”

What an invitation!

These shepherds were invited to worship Jesus.

Shepherds were not the most respected people in the land.

They weren’t Scribes or Pharisees who constantly studied the law.

They were simple men doing their jobs, but that night, they received a heavenly invitation to worship the king.

Read Luke 2:15-20.

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning the child.

And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Can you imagine how special it was for Mary when the shepherds showed up?

I’m sure they told her about the angels’ song.

The Bible makes it clear they told many people what happened that night in the field.

Mary hid the moment away in her heart.

It wasn’t the birth she planned, but it was very special.

Jesus was finally here.

The Messiah had arrived.

Close in prayer.


  • What’s the furthest you have ever walked? or How long do you think it would take to walk 90 miles?
  • Put yourself in Joseph and Mary’s place. What do you think it was like to walk so far only to find out there wasn’t even a comfortable place for you to sleep?
  • Imagine what it must have been like to see a whole group of angels appear in the sky. What would have been going through mind if you were there? What emotions would you feel?
  • The shepherds were told where Jesus would be and what to look for. The angel said it would be a sign to them. What do you think the shepherds were thinking as they went to look for Jesus?
  • What do you think people thought when the shepherds told all they had seen and heard? 

(End lesson)

Looking for preteen curriculum? Check out the…

ONE YEAR PRETEEN CURRICULUM, VOLUME 2 – Get one year of new preteen ministry curriculum designed to help 4th-6th graders explore their faith and wholeheartedly follow Jesus.

Looking for another free preteen lesson, check out this…

Preteen Lesson on Prayer

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