Episode 9: The carpenter's son - the home movie - paperlesschristmas

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The Adventures of Mary and Joseph - The Road Movie tells the Christmas story in nine entertaining and informative episodes. The following lesson outline offers you a way to work through the story in the video The carpenter's son.


The Adventures of Mary and Joseph - The Road Movie tells the Christmas story in nine entertaining and informative episodes.

The videos, produced as a collaboration between Jerusalem Productions and BRF, are ideal material for use in the classroom to help children explore the impact and significance of the nativity for Christians.

The following lesson outline offers you a way to work through the story in the video with your class group. There are a variety of possible activities. There are also links to other related videos and to further web resources. You can view a range of Christmas resources on the Festivals page in our books and resources section.


View the episode in advance.

Print off a copy of the Bible story as well as the discussion starters and activity suggestions to be used with small groups.


1. First Impressions - The carpenter's son - the home movie

Play this episode to the class. This tells the story of Jesus growing up and what happened to him next.

Ask the class:

  • What did you like best about this episode?
  • What made you smile?
  • What did you find surprising?
  • What didn't seem to make sense?
  • What would you say was happening in this episode?
  • What hopes did Mary and Joseph have for their son?
  • What clues about Jesus' future work did you spot in the home movie shots?
  • Which part of this story made the biggest impression on you?

2. Group work - growing up

Hand out the following discussion starters to small groups.

  • What do you hope to be when you grow up?
  • What are your earliest memories of life at home?
  • What home movies do you have of your family?
  • What have your parents told you of their hopes for your future?
  • If you could become any grown-up living today, who might you choose to be?
  • If you could grow up to do one thing to make the world a better place, what would that be?

Allow ten minutes for this and then ask one child per group to report back on what they talked about and what ideas they came up with.

3. The Story in the Bible

Read the first of two possible Bible stories for the movie clip. You will find the first below in the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

Philippians 2:4-11

Care about as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. Then God gave Christ the highest place and honoured his name above all others. So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And to the glory of God the Father everyone will openly agree, 'Jesus Christ is Lord!'

Alternatively, for younger children, use the story of Jesus as a young boy from Luke 2:41-52. There is an easy-to-read retelling of this story in The Barnabas Children's Bible, story 253.

Luke 2:41-52

The Boy Jesus in the Temple

Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for Passover. And when Jesus was twelve years old, they all went there as usual for the celebration. After Passover his parents left, but they did not know that Jesus had stayed on in the city. They thought he was travelling with some other people, and they went a whole day before they started looking for him. When they could not find him with their relatives and friends, they went back to Jerusalem and started looking for him there.

Three days later they found Jesus sitting in the temple, listening to the teachers and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was surprised at how much he knew and at the answers he gave. When his parents found him, they were amazed. His mother said, 'Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been very worried, and we have been searching for you!' Jesus answered, 'Why did you have to look for me? Didn't you know that I would be in my Father's house?' But they did not understand what he meant.

Jesus went back to Nazareth with his parents and obeyed them. His mother kept on thinking about all that had happened. Jesus became wise, and he grew strong. God was pleased with him and so were the people.

Here is a word search based on this second story.

Talk about the Bible story:

  • What are in these Bible stories that are not in the video? What is in the video that is not in the Bible stories? Does the video help you understand the Bible stories better? Which parts of the Bible stories do you find puzzling?
  • I wonder what experiences Jesus had as a child? I wonder what it felt like for Mary and Joseph, knowing that there was something special about their boy? I wonder when and how Jesus began to realise who his real father was?

4. A Carousel of Group Activities

  • Joseph would have taught his son carpentry, hoping that Jesus would take over the family business one day. List the skills of a carpenter. What do you think Jesus might have learned as a trainee carpenter that would have helped him later with the work he did as a preacher and a healer?
  • Write out words for a short play that tells the story of when Jesus was lost in Jerusalem for three days. 'Scene 1' could be Mary and Joseph finding out Jesus is missing; 'scene 2' could be mum and dad asking around for him in the city; 'scene 3' could be finding him in the Temple. There are some ideas for part of the dialogue in the Bible story from Luke 2: 41-52.
  • Jesus grew up as a Jew in a land occupied by foreign troops (the Romans). Imagine some of the experiences he might have had during his childhood: visiting the synagogue, watching the soldiers march by, and attending annual festivals. Find out from reference books or the Internet what life would have been like for him in Palestine in the 1st century. What else was going on in the world at that time?
  • The video The carpenter's son - the home movie focuses on Jesus' feet. Find out more about the following Bible stories that are linked to some of what is shown:
  • Jesus stepping into the water, when he was baptised by his cousin John (Matthew 3:13-17). There is a retelling of this story in The Barnabas Children's Bible, story 255.
  • Jesus walking the roads and countryside of Galilee to tell people about God's kingdom (Matthew 4:23-25). There is a retelling of part of this story in The Barnabas Children's Bible, story 257.
  • Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). There is a retelling of this story in The Barnabas Children's Bible, story 276.
  • Jesus standing on a mountain (Matthew 17:1-9). There is a retelling of this story in The Barnabas Children's Bible, story 278.
  • Jesus' feet are anointed by his friend Mary (John 12:1-3). There is a retelling of this story in The Barnabas Children's Bible, story 295.
  • Jesus having his feet nailed to a cross (Matthew 27:33-36). There is a retelling of this story in The Barnabas Children's Bible, story 309.
  • The story from Philippians (in section 3 above) is from a letter that Paul wrote to some Christians in modern-day Greece. It is possible that this is a hymn that they used to sing about Jesus. Like The carpenter's son - the home movie, it connects up the story of his coming to earth at Christmas with his death and what happened next. In a hymn book, find the hymn 'At the name of Jesus' which is based on these verses. What else does this hymn tell you about why Christians think Jesus is special?
  • The Bible story tells us that Mary was with Jesus right to the end, whereas it is probable that Joseph had already died by then. I wonder what five snapshots from the family album Mary would have always kept with her as a record of her son's life? Can you draw what you think they were?

5. Classroom Drama Ideas

Play the video The carpenter's son - the home movie again and use this to prompt some drama exercises:

  • Put various people who met Jesus in the hot seat- for example, his cousin John; his friend Peter; the local leader of the synagogue in Nazareth; Zacchaeus, the tax collector; Martha, who lived near Jerusalem and who, with her sister Mary, often welcomed him on his travels; Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, who presided at his trial. What different views of Jesus come across?
  • Take one of the stories of Jesus listed among the activities above and act this out as a group, creating your own dialogue and actions to bring the story to life.

6. Final reflection questions looking back on the session

  • I wonder how important it is to link up the Jesus of Christmas with the Jesus of Easter?
  • I wonder how much of a surprise it was for Mary to hear and to see what Jesus went on to say and do?
  • What clues does the whole Christmas story give about the sort of person Jesus did become?
  • I wonder why the Bible doesn't tell us more about what Jesus was like as a child and as a teenager?
  • What do I think of Jesus?

7. Further web links

8. Play Episode 9 again to finish off the lesson