I'm going to take you far away to a distant time, to a distant place.
The night is cool
Dark also, but for the light of the moon
and a single large star.
You stand before a timber shed. A stable in fact.
At the nearby inn everyone is tucked up in bed
safe and warm.
Outside only the animals…
…and three unfortunate travellers
who were too late.
A man, a woman and a donkey.
This open timber shed draughty and smelly
is where animals take shelter.
Tonight it will sleep other guests.
Move forward to take a closer look.
Inside the smell is all animal. Earthy, puncgent. You see the woman is lying on her side.
Her face in the moonlight is pale and tired.
She shivers. Weeps.
And curls her body around a small bundle.
The man is helping her. Bringing her water from the trough. Stroking her head.
Take another step closer….
… and notice that the bundle is a newborn baby
tightly wrapped in grubby cloth.
Beneath the paper-thin skin of his eyelids, he dreams.
You watch his rosebud lips move gently as he suckles the night air.
There is something compelling about the scene. You cannot help but draw closer, even closer still.
You kneel beside the woman.
Ssshhhh. Close. So close now…
Bending towards the tiny frame you gently kiss the baby's head.
His warm skin carries the scent of milk.
And you breathe in his fragrance,
And you watch. And you wait
for the baby to wake.
This can be used with Key Stage 1 children after reading (or performing) the Nativity Story.
Older children can think about parts of the world where babies are still being born in conditions of poverty, and mother and baby don't receive adequate healthcare.
How did being in the stable make you feel?
Did anything surprise you in the visualisation?
Why do you think Mary was crying?
Which was the most real part for you?
Has it changed the way you think about the Christmas story?