"Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus" is a story song that is fairly easy for the children to pick up on. I also love the upbeat tempo change from the verse to the chorus that helps demonstrate the joyous announcement of the Lord's birth. Definitely point that out as you are teaching by asking the children what they notice about how the song changes and how does it help express the message in the song.
This is a fun one to have a child dress in a simple costume as Samuel and help demonstrate what happens in the song.
Here is how I presented the song last year. Depending on how quickly your children pick up on the song, you can teach in once session or split it up into two weeks.
- Show the picture of Samuel the Lamanite on the wall or have a child dressed up to portray Samuel stand on a chair while you take a minute to quickly give the story from Helaman 13+ of why Samuel was there on the wall and what happened. Here are some talk points you might share.
- Samuel the Lamanite was a prophet and the Lord told him to go to a place called Zarahemla and teach the Nephites and tell them to repent.
- At this time the Nephites were more wicked than the Lamanites. They were so wicked that they would sometimes make fun of the prophets and kill them.
- When Samuel began to preach to the Nephites, they didn't like it and kicked him out of their city. Samuel started to go home.
- The Lord told him to go back and to tell the Nephites the things the Lord put into Samuel's heart to say.
- So Samuel went back but the Nephites wouldn't let him back into their city, so he climbed on top of the city wall and preached to the Nephites to repent.
- The Nephites were so mad at him and didn't like what Samuel was telling them, so they threw rocks at him and even shot arrows at him. But the Lord protected Samuel and none of the rocks or arrows hit him.
- Samuel also told the Nephites something that was very important.
- Have the children listen to the song to find out what else Samuel told them. Sing or play the MP3 of the first verse and receive answers. Depending on their answers, you may need to sing again and ask specific directed listening questions for them to discover the answers. Here are some possible directed listening questions you can ask for the first verse.
- Who would be born? [Jesus]
- When did Samuel say Jesus would be born? [In 5 years]
- What is the sign he prophesied would happen? [A night would be as day]
- Where would Jesus be born? [In a land far, far away]
- Have them sing each phrase with you 1-2 times as you go through the questions.
- Sing or play the first verse and chorus this time and have the children listen to how the music changes and ask them how the first part is different from the second part of the song. [Possible answers: chorus is faster, sounds happier, etc.]
- Sing the chorus for them and ask them to listen for a special word that helps to express a praise of joy and how many times it is sung? [2 times]
- Have the children pitch lead the chorus with you as you all sing to see how the song goes up and down. Do this a few times.
- Ask them where in the chorus does the song go up the hill [How blessed that our Lord] and then down the hill with just a little bump [was born; Let earth receive her King].
- What word do we sing at the top of the hill? [Lord]
- Continue teaching the second verse using directed listening questions. Here are some possible ones you can use:
- Where across the sea did Jesus come to earth? [In Bethlehem]
- In the first verse of the song Samuel tells the Nephites that in 5 years Jesus would be born. He told about something that would happen in the future. There is a big word in this part of the song that means to tell about something before it happens. Listen for the word. [Prophesied]
- Who sang at Jesus' birth? [Angels]
- To review, you could ask the children to tell you the story they learned from this song.
- Said: ASL for said (I just shorten it to just pointing to the lips than out.)
- Samuel: With the pointer finger, draw an "S" in the air (you'll do your "S" mirrored so it looks like an "S" to them as they watch you draw it.)
- Within five years: ASL for 5
- A night: ASL for night or ASL for dark
- will be as day: ASL for day or ASL for Sunlight
- And Baby: ASL for baby
- Jesus: ASL for Jesus
- Will be born: ASL for born
- In a land: ASL for land
- far, far away: ASL for far away
- Hosanna! Hosanna!: ASL for praise (you may want to drop the finger to the lip part to make it easier)
- Oh, let us gladly sing: ASL for sing
- How blessed: ASL for blessed
- that our Lord was born: ASL for Lord-as in God
- Let earth: ASL for earth or raise arms in a circle above head
- receive: ASL for receive
- her king: ASL for king
- Across the sea: ASL for sea (To make it easier, I don't do the fingers to the lip)
- in Bethlehem: ASL for city
- Lord Jesus: ASL for Jesus
- came to earth: ASL for earth or raise arms in a circle above head
- As Samuel: With the pointer finger, draw an "S" in the air (you'll do your "S" mirrored so it looks like an "S" to them as they watch you draw it.)
- had prophesied: ASL for prophecy
- And angels: ASL for angels
- sang His birth: ASL for sing
Below is a flip chart for the song. The last page is a picture of Samuel on the wall if you need a picture to show.