Any children’s worker can tell this story using the Gospel magic trick of the Joker Tube / Stratosphere
Ask a child to come forward as a volunteer and show him/her the Joker Tube and asks if he knows what order the colours are in a traffic light. Red at the top, yellow in the middle and green at the bottom. The child gives you the coloured balls and you put them in the right order into the tube. Then you start telling the story...
"Joseph and Mary have travelled a long way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It’s busy. Lots of people have come to register. Joseph looks at Mary. He knows that she can give birth any moment soon. It’s important for him to find an inn where they can stay.
He knocks on the door of the first inn he comes across. “Hello, do you have a place for us to stay for the night?”
You look questioningly at the child and the child says ‘no’. You lift the covering of the tube and the lights are all mixed up.
Joseph is confused. How can this happen? Mary trusted God. He trusted God and now there is no place for them to stay. No place where the son of God can be born? Joseph doesn’t understand. How is this possible?
Take the three balls out of the tube and put them back again in the right order.
Joseph starts to worry a little now. Quickly he rushes to the next inn. He knocks on the door of the second inn. “Hello, my wife is pregnant. Do you have a place for us to stay for the night?”
You look again questioningly at the child and the child says again ‘no’. You lift the covering of the tube and the lights are all mixed up again for the second time.
Joseph starts to panic. How can this happen? Will God desert them? Is God not to be trusted?
Take the three balls out of the tube and this time you put them back again in a different order: yellow first, then red and then lastly green.
Joseph knows he has one more opportunity. The last inn in Bethlehem. He runs as fast as he can and knocks at the door. “Hello, my wife can give birth any moment now. Please, please, do you have a room for us? Have mercy!”
You look questioningly at the child for the last time and the child says ‘no’ for the third time. You lift the covering of the tube and this time there are two red lights in your traffic light and the green light has disappeared. You’ll hear the amazement from your public and you use this amazement to focus on Joseph’s amazement.
How is this possible? Why has God deserted them? Why? It wasn’t easy for Joseph to marry a pregnant Mary. Everyone in the village had spoken of their shame. But he did it, because he trusted God and now this. How can it be?
And then someone, we don’t know who, shows love and compassion to Joseph and Mary. God does care for them. Someone has a place for them in a stable.
You take the three balls out of the tube and this time you put them back again in a different order: In the stable is some straw: the yellow ball. There is a small manger: the red ball and some blankets: another red ball.
That night Joseph and Mary discover that they can trust God. He does take care of them. That the night the traffic light in Bethlehem turns...
You lift the cover away from the tube.
Green!! Green for Joseph and Mary. Green for us all."
Tthank the child who helped you and make sure he/she gets a round of applause. Then go straight into the end of the Cut and Restore trick and ask the girl who took care of your rope and knot to come forward and demonstrate the birth of Jesus Christ this way. Immanuel - God coming down to earth.
To demonstrate this you keep the rope vertical and move your hand down from the top to the bottom. When you reach the knot half way down the rope you move the knot down as you keep talking about God coming down from heaven.
Ask the girl to open her hands and slowly let the knot drop into her hands. Jesus is born in the stable and I ask her to take care of Jesus. She can keep the knot as a symbol of Jesus being born. Before she leaves the stage make sure she gets a around of applause.
You can do this too during your Christmas service, school assembly or in your Sunday school lesson
Watch the demonstration video
You can see me doing a full demonstration of this story and magic trick in the video below.
Don't forget – any children’s worker can do this Gospel magic trick. It only needs a little bit of practice. So give it a try!