The Stories behind the Story (Contextual Enquiry)

Give out the downloadable worksheet Bethlehem News and go through it, as appropriate, with your pupils. You might also find it helpful to re-show the three videos in lesson 1.

Invite your pupils to imagine that they are reporters who have been asked to write a follow-on story for the next edition, giving more information about the stories behind the story.

Ask them to consider what specific questions they would ask the shepherds, the wise men and Mary in order to find out why these things happened and what it all means. (You might find it helpful to divide the class into three groups, considering the shepherds, the wise men and Mary separately).
As appropriate, use the downloadable PowerPoint Stories Behind the Story to guide their discussion of the questions that would provide background information to enable them to write about the stories behind the story. This ends with these key questions:

  • Shepherds. Why did the angel tell you a saviour was born? Why was this new king in a manger?
  • Wise men. Why did you travel so far to see this baby? Why did you bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh?
  • Mary. Were you surprised you would give birth to God’s son? You were to call the baby ‘Jesus’ what did that mean?

Point out that we are not able to interview these people and so, as good reporters, we need to look for other sources of information. Invite them to consider where they might find out more. Over the years many scholars have reflected on these questions and provided more information from other parts of the Bible and other historical records. Some of this information is given in the following three videos.

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