Emotional Journeys


Christmas Season – December 24-31, 2015

Emotional Journeys

Biblical Texts:

(1) Luke 2:1-7 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

(2) Luke 2:8-21 on December 26-27

(3) Luke 2: 22-38 on December 28-29

(4) Luke 2:39-52 on December 30-31

Guidelines for Individual Playdates

Value of This Activity:

Stories have emotional arcs. The word emotion literally indicates motion — and this Playdate can help us see the motion in stories by tracing the emotional throughline of a story. The Playdate also encourages us to engage our own emotions and converse with the emotions in the text.

Items Needed:

Bible, paper & pen. If you wish you may download an Emotional Storyboard Worksheet from the website. You will want to print one for each text.

To Begin . . .

Spend a moment in quiet prayer. If you wish, begin by freewriting for 3-5 minutes. Just let the pen empty out your concerns and thanksgiving for the day. Breathe.

How to Play . . .

Use these instructions for each of the above texts you wish to explore.

Remember that there’s no way to get this wrong. If you get stuck, just make something up and go on your merry way. You’ll surprise yourself!

To simplify this emotional journey, let’s focus on three specific, very basic emotions: Anger, Fear, and Love. (If you feel compelled to work with another emotion, by all means feel free to do so!)

Read the text from the Gospel of Luke. See above for specific readings.

  1. Give this text a title. Come up with your own title, not just whatever title might be in your Bible.
  2. What would you say is the Primary Emotion of this text or story? Anger, Fear, or Love?
    • Where in the story does that emotion register most powerfully—at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end?
    • Either drawing a 3-panel storyboard or using the Emotional Storyboard Worksheet (downloadable PDF), write that emotion (Anger, Fear, or Love) in the appropriate panel — in the 1st panel if the emotion is most powerful at the beginning of the text, in the 2nd panel if the emotion is most powerful in the middle of the text, and in the 3rd panel if the emotion is most powerful at the end of the text.
  3. What would you say is a significant Secondary Emotion in this text or story? Anger, Fear, or Love?
    • Where in the story does that emotion register most powerfully—at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end? Write that emotion in the appropriate panel.
  4. Now, fill in the remaining panel of the story with a third emotion—either Anger, Fear, or Love … or some other emotion that you think expresses the story.
  5. Finally, spend a few minutes writing out your reflections about the emotional journey you’ve outlined in the text.


Write the emotion word at the bottom of the selected frame of the storyboard. Then, draw a figure or scene in that frame that illustrates roughly what action or event in the story demonstrates that emotion. Stick figures are fine. Bad stick figures are also fine. Play with it!

In Closing . . .

Take a moment to breathe and let the playtime settle around you. Carry your curiosity and insights and questions into the day.

 Playdate Reference Material

The idea for the Emotional Storyboard comes from Will Dunne, The Dramatic Writer’s Companion (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Playing with Narratives
On Emotions
Guidelines for Individual Playdates
Playdates with Scripture Email ARCHIVES

Creative Commons License
Playdates with Scripture by Virginia Wiles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at virginiawiles.com.

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