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Nativity play: reflections and activities

Michele Frankeni  |  29 November 2018

Read Welcome to Bethlehem in the Summer 2018/19 edition of Australian Catholics and take part in the following questions and activities.


  • Can you imagine how Mary and Joseph felt when they couldn’t find somewhere to stay?
  • What do you think your reactions would be if you were in a strange place trying to find accommodation?
  • Do you think Mary and Joseph would have reacted the same way?
  • Can you think of people today who are being turned away because there’s ‘no room’? Is that a valid argument? Why/why not?
  • Are there alternatives?
  • What would Bethlehem have looked like in the first century?
  • What jobs did people do?
  • How would you react to the Roman soldiers? Are they there as occupiers or liberators?


Plan your own Nativity play. Research the gospel readings. Luke 2:1-14 tells the story of the census and Mary and Joseph’s travels to Bethlehem to register and being born in a manger, while Matthew 2:1-12 recounts the visit by the Magi and the Christmas star. What aspects of the story will you concentrate on?

Pretend you’re a TV news reporter in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth. You’re doing a report on Christmas shopping and the fact so many people are spending the next few days in Bethlehem. You could do a podcast or just a report from different people. What do you think the thoughts of the following people be?

  • Mayor and town council?
  • Shop owners?
  • Roman soldiers?
  • Town residents?
  • Tavern owners and accommodation providers?
  • Travellers who have a place to stay?
  • Those such as Mary and Joseph who don’t have a place to stay?

For younger students

See Gaming the Gospels: A gift for Jesus in the Summer 2018/19 edition of Australian Catholics.


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