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Understanding the Christmas Story for Children

Help your children understand the story of Christmas with this child-friendly explanation for parents and kids to read together.

Who is Mary?

Mary is a young woman from Nazareth.
She brought Jesus into the world.
She became the most amazing thing
a person can be:
→ The Mother of God.

A very young woman from Nazareth, in today’s Israel,
experiences something unique:
Through an angel, God asks her
to be the mother of his son.
Mary says “Yes!”
Thus the Son of God can become man.
Mary changes baby Jesus’s nappies
and feeds him like a normal child.
And still Jesus is different.
Mary sees the miracles Jesus works.
But she also has to watch her son
being beaten and tortured
and killed like a criminal.
But she never stops trusting in God.
After his resurrection and ascension,
Jesus takes Mary with him completely.
He prepares a dream house for her in heaven.
He makes her queen and gives her to you and me
and to all people of all times as a mother.
She sympathises with us.
When we ask her for help
she stands with us before Jesus.

What happened in Nazareth?

The Annunciation:
Mary received
a message
that changed
the whole world.

The angel Gabriel
came to Mary and said to her:
“God has chosen you in a special way.
He is planning something and needs you for it.”
Mary was terrified when she heard that.
The angel said: “Don’t be afraid, Mary,
you are exactly the right person for this plan.
You will have a baby, a special one.
Give him the name Jesus!”
Mary said: “But I’m not even together with a man!”
The angel said: “The child is from God.
The Holy Spirit will do that.”
So Mary said: “I’m in!”

What role does Joseph play?

Joseph was Mary’s fiancé
(… and the best thing that could have
happened to her).
He was a righteous man, you see,
who listened to God.
When Mary was expecting a child
that wasn’t Joseph’s,
he didn’t leave her
but took her as his wife.
He trusted the → voice of God from his dream
and took care of Jesus and Mary.

Joseph was a craftsman.
He built houses.
Jesus learned from him
and later worked with him.
Joseph is a great saint.
He will put in a good word for you with God,
if you need help some day.

What happened in Bethlehem?

In Bethlehem
Christmas took place for the first time.
Because that’s where Jesus was born.

The Roman Emperor gave an order:
I want to know how many
people there are in my
empire → PRONTO!
That’s why Mary,
who was expecting her baby any minute,
had to travel to Bethlehem with Joseph.
It was so crowded there, though,
that they could not find a place to stay.

A stable is all there is left.
There, at night, Jesus is born.
Mummy Mary did not even have a cot.
She laid baby Jesus in a manger.
Nearby shepherds were tending their sheep.
Suddenly they took fright:
Angels were rejoicing in the sky.

They exclaimed: “Do not be afraid!
Today the Saviour has been born to you
the one you have been waiting for all this time.”
The shepherds left immediately.
They found the stable and the child.
Simple shepherds were the first to see
the Saviour of the world.


This child-friendly guide to Christmas is taken from our book YOUCAT for Kids, but made available to you for free as part of our mission to use the written word to support and encourage people at every stage of their journey. Please consider supporting our mission by buying a copy of YOUCAT for Kids or by making a donation.

YOUCAT for Kids is an engaging, child-friendly Catechism to help children (ages 8-13) and parents to discover their Catholic faith together. Includes fun graphics, quotes from Saints and thought-provoking images.

Find out more...

YOUCAT for Kids YOUCAT Foundation

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