come and see

John 1:46 “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Nathanael asked.“Come and see,” answered Philip.


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Christmas Awards Ceremony

Yes, I know it’s only September, but Christmas will be here before you know it, and we have certainly already started to think about our Children’s Christmas Service. So we thought it was about time we shared with you what we did last year. This is an original work by Vanessa; feel free to use it or adapt it as you wish, but an acknowledgment of the source would be appreciated.
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The theme was a “Red Carpet Awards Ceremony”, with Vanessa as the reporter greeting the celebrities as they arrived. This enabled her to hold a clipboard which had both her words and the words of each of the participants on it. Made it so much easier all around, with no stressing about forgotten lines. There were no costumes – everyone was invited to dress as if they were going to a real awards ceremony, but we did have some Angels there as well.

I have included a note of the songs that we used between each “celebrity”, but you may well have your own favourites that you want to use.

So, without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to:

THE GOVERNORS BAY CHRISTMAS AWARDS CEREMONY!

Song: They Came to a Christmas Party (Starshine Singers, from Jesus’ Christmas Party)

Interviewer: Good morning everyone and welcome to WWJD TV, where we are live at the Governors Bay Christmas Awards Ceremony. We hope to be able to bring you interviews with many of the Nominees as they arrive on the red carpet today. And look, here is our first celebrity arriving now!

MARY
Interviewer: Hi Mary. It must be exciting to be at the 2013 Governors Bay Christmas awards. I know you have an important part to play in Christmas. You are the mother of Jesus. Wow you must have a really amazing story to tell so please share it with us here today and for all the viewers at home…

"Mary" on the red Carpet

“Mary” on the red Carpet

Mary: Look I am just a girl who believes in God. A while back I got the fright of my life, first when an angel appeared and then when I was told I was pregnant, and I wasn’t planning that, not yet  – I hadn’t even got the wedding invitations out.

Interviewer: Crickey, an angel what was that like?

Mary: His name was Gabriel and he was big, bright and beautiful. He told me not to be afraid because I was going have God’s son.  I was pleased I was already sitting down when he said that. Can you imagine being chosen to have God’s son. But wait there’s more …. my cousin Elizabeth who hadn’t been able to get pregnant was going to have a baby too, at the same time, so I went to see her to give glory to God for our babies and, of course, swap swollen ankle stories.

Interviewer: It must have been nice to have some relaxation before the birth.

Mary: Relaxation, if only! Just after I got back from Elizabeth’s, Joseph tells me we have to go to Bethlehem and the only transport left is a donkey. I suppose it is better than having to walk the whole way.

Interviewer: Thanks for your time Mary. You really were blessed by God weren’t you.

Song: Mary’s Boy Child

 JOSEPH
Interviewer: Hi Joseph. I gotta say it must have been bad news to hear that Mary was pregnant. First because you weren’t married, and even worse than that, it wasn’t your baby. So come on tell us your Christmas story.

"Joseph" tells his story

“Joseph” tells his story

Joseph: Mary and I were sorting out the wedding – well, Mary was. She loves organising all that.  And, yeah, I was not happy when Mary told me she was pregnant because I knew it wasn’t my baby.  Nazareth is a small town and everybody knows everybody, and of course that also means everybody knows everybody’s business. I really wanted to do the right thing and stay with her, but I was thinking about breaking up.

Interviewer: I didn’t know you were going to break up. So why did you stay?

Joseph: I had a visit from an angel who told me that God was the father of Mary’s baby, and I was to name the baby Jesus. Well that settled it for me, I wasn’t going to argue with an angel  – would you? So  straight away I married Mary, but just before the baby was born we had to go Bethlehem.

Interviewer: Bethlehem that’s about 130km from Nazareth – like going from Governors Bay to Hanmer Springs. It must have been something important to go to, especially with Mary just about to give birth.

Joseph: Yeah, it was very important. The Roman Emperor ordered a census, which meant you had to go back to where your family came from. I come from the tribe of David and our home town is Bethlehem. Pregnant or not we had to go, so we packed up and went on a road trip. There are quite a lot of us now from the tribe of David, so Bethlehem was busy, but we finally got somewhere to stay. That was lucky because pretty soon after that Mary gave birth to our son. We were in with the animals mind you. Did you know I am a carpenter? I just wish I could have carried all my tools to make a cot. We had to lie our baby in a manger. A manger! .. you know, that thing they put hay in to feed the animals. Wasn’t made that well either!

Interviewer: Thanks Joseph. We can see what a special guy you are because God chose you to raise his son. And I’d like to add what a great man that son turned out to be.

Song: Away in a manger

 INNKEEPER
Interviewer: And look here comes the innkeeper whose place was where Jesus was born. Hang on, I will try get a word with him as he goes past. Hi, I’m from WWJD TV. Can you please give us a moment to hear your story?

Our Innkeeper looks back on a profitable time

Our Innkeeper looks back on a profitable time

Innkeeper: Yeah, sure. I’m Donald from The Do Duck Inn. Mention you saw me on TV tonight and you can have a 5% discount on the room rate!
Well that first Christmas it was real busy. Bethlehem was the home town for the tribe of David, so it was like a huge family reunion. I filled up every room we had – and at a full rate price too. But all these people kept knocking on the door even though I had a sign out saying there was no room in the inn.  Then a couple came to the door, and I was about to turn them away like all the others, but I saw the woman- she was pretty close to having a baby and if that happened I could charge for another person!
So I let them sleep with the animals. No way was I giving them my bed. My bed is made from beautiful exotic wood, carved by the best artists and my sheets are made from the finest Egyptian cotton. They’re weren’t royalty you know, just from that small town of Nazareth. Nothing good will ever come from Nazareth.
I remember their names too, Mary and Joseph. Mary – how common! Everyone these days is called Mary. And they had visitors all night too. How did all these people hear about the birth of the baby? Someone must have posted it on Facebook.

Interviewer: Great, thanks for that, all the best at the awards.

Song: Knock on Another Door (Starshine Singers, from A Wriggly Nativity)

 ANGELS
Interviewer: Well this lot need no introduction…..here come the angels. I love you all! I have an angel at the top of our Christmas tree at home. So how was that first Christmas for you?

The Awesome Angels!

The Awesome Angels!

Angel: What a busy time we angels had with the birth of Jesus. It was brilliant! We hadn’t been that busy… ever. I always love seeing how those people react – sometimes frightened  like this (pulls face), sometimes surprised like this (pulls face) and sometimes both like this!!! Remember Mary – she did both faces. Her and Joseph were really surprised finding out there was an unexpected baby on the way, and it was God’s son too. Gabriel was the angel who visited Mary. Pretty scary seeing Gabriel, mind you; he is really big and really shiny. I would just like to say if you ever see an angel we aren’t scary at all.

Interviewer: So some of you angels visited Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus. Did you scare… I mean visit… anyone else?

Angel: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Gabriel went to tell some shepherds about Jesus being born, and they were NOT happy to see him. But when a whole heap of us angels joined Gabriel and we sang the shepherds beautiful songs of praise to God, they weren’t scared anymore and took off into Bethlehem to find Jesus.Thank goodness we got the next few days off!

Interviewer: It must have such a busy and exciting time as you raced around telling everyone about God’s son, Jesus, coming here to earth. Just like you are doing again today – telling all these people about that the very first Christmas,  the day when Jesus was born.

Song: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

 SHEPHERDS

The Shepherds: some of those sheep seem rather lively!

The Shepherds: some of those sheep seem rather lively!

Interviewer: So, hello shepherds! I am pleased to see you could get some time off work and come to the Governors Bay Christmas Awards. As you can see it is a big event here, look at all the people who have come to see the Christmas celebrities. I bet you became celebrities in Bethlehem after that first Christmas.

Chief Shepherd: Celebrities? You betcha! Everyone wanted our autographs after that night. It started out normal enough. We had eaten our tea and were settled in watching the sheep. Then this humungous angel appears! I thought I was seeing things but everyone else was freaking out too.

Interviewer: Can you remember what the angel said to you?

Shepherd: Remember? I can’t forget that night, ever. Well first he said not to be afraid – Yeah right! He said the Saviour, the Messiah, was in Bethlehem. That’s our town. And he said we will find a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger. Now that’s the oddest thing, because we have been waiting for the one to save us for  generations and he said we would find a baby lying amongst the animals. The animals!

Interviewer: This Christmas story sure has some exciting parts in it.

Shepherd: Hang on, it gets better. So we have one angel, right. Next thing there are so many angels in the night sky that it is as bright as day. And the coolest part is they all begin singing praises to God. It was better than a Justin Bieber, One Direction and a Selina Gomez concert all rolled into one. After that the angels disappeared, and so did we.

Interviewer: What you went to heaven too?

Shepherd: No! We raced into Bethlehem to find the baby and tell everyone about it. We haven’t stopped talking about yet either.

Interviewer: Thank you for your time. What a life changing experience for some shepherds to have.

Shepherd: Here is our agents card, we now do radio and TV interviews, giving our firsthand account of Christmas.

Song: While Shepherds watched their flocks

 THREE WISE PEOPLE
Interviewer: Oh look we have got some interesting looking characters arriving now. Let’s see why they are here at the Christmas Awards.

(Enter three Wise Persons, being led by person carrying star on a stick)

Wise Person 1: Greetings and salutations. We are accredited representatives from the Oriental Association for nocturnal observers of celestial bodies.

Wise Person 3: HUH?

Wise Person 2: We’re stargazers from the East!

Wise Person 1: Affirmative.  In accordance with our customary nocturnal activities…

Wise Person 3: HUH?

Wise Person 2: Let me do this – we are wise, not geniuses! No one will ever understand what happened if you keep talking like that.

Interviewer: Whew, Thank you

The Wise Persons (and star)

The Wise Persons (and star)

Wise Person 2: We noticed a bright star appear in the sky in such a place and formation that we realised a new King of the Jews had been born. We would have arrived sooner in Bethlehem had the maps in the GPS been updated. It wasn’t my fault, someone (secret pointing to WP3) else was in charge of navigation. Really I don’t know why she is even in the wisest of the wise club, because she’s not that clever.Interviewer: So how did you find this new baby king?

Wise Person 2: The first obvious place was to ask the current King, King Herod, but he didn’t know anything about it. Luckily the other GPS worked.

Interviewer: The other GPS, what’s that?

Wise Person 2: Glowing Prominent Star, of course.

Interviewer: Yes of course!

Wise Person 2: So we followed the star all they way to Jesus. We had brought the baby special gifts with us from the east.

Interviewer: What did you get him?

Wise Person 2: I gave gold, she gave frankincense, a very special perfume. And she gave myrrh – an oil for rubbing on dead bodies! It was a baby we were going to visit! I told you, not so bright.

Interviewer: It must have been easier going back home, the same way?

Wise Person 2: Oh no, we didn’t do that. God had warned us in a dream that King Herod was not going to worship Jesus. The King was not happy knowing there was now someone new who would take his throne, and we did not to be any part of that thank you very much!

Interviewer: No, thank you very much for your time today.

Song: We three Kings

CONCLUSION
Interviewer: I am so excited! I can’t wait to meet Jesus. I wonder when he will get here today? That might be him coming down the red carpet now…
(another person comes up and whispers to the interviewer)
What? He’s not coming? But Christmas isn’t Christmas without Jesus! It even has his name in it  – Christ-mas. What am I going to tell everyone? How will they get to meet him?
(more whispering)
God’s gift to us was Jesus, who was born on Christmas Day. Not a gift just for that  day but for everyday. If you want to hear his side of the story…ask him yourself, he would love to hear from you.

Song: Joy to the World

All of the Celebrity Guests, with Interviewer

All of the Celebrity Guests, with Interviewer

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Who are you?

This is the message Vanessa gave on the First Sunday in Advent. Scroll down the page for details of the Advent Activity pegs we made.

I love this weekend. It is the first weekend in December which means we get to go and get a tree, decorate it, start listening to carols, and the Christmas season in our house begins. I love it that Luke is part of it all and he is putting the angel at the top of the tree for the first time ever this year. It is the anticipation of what is to come, the counting down of the days or how many sleeps to go.

Advent is the period before Christmas when we anticipate and look forward to Christmas,  the day Jesus was born. The day God gave his only Son who would ultimately enable us to have our own relationship with God.

I read and re-read the Winnie the Pooh stories many many many times while I was growing up. I really identified with Tigger and this Tigger song sums it up:

A wonderful thing is a Tigger;
A Tigger’s a wonderful thing.
Their tops are made out of rubber,
their bottoms are made out of spring.
They’re bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy,
fun, fun, fun, fun, fun,
But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is:
I’m the only one!

Like me, have you ever identified with someone in a story, seen parts of yourself in a character you have read, or read about someone who you would like to be more like?

Here are a few people who played a part in that first advent, the time leading up to Jesus’ birth.  Let’s see if there is anyone you are drawn to.

ZECHARIAH (Luke 1: 5-23)
Zechariah was a priest, a man who studied the Bible, the way of God, and who lived a good life obeying all of God’s commands.  But something was wrong. He and his wife Elizabeth hadn’t had any children, and they were now too old for this to happen.

While he was at work in the temple one day, an angel appeared to him. The angel told him that their prayers were being answered, they were going to have a baby, a special God-given baby that would prepare the way for the Lord. Zechariah knew that God had done this very miracle before – given babies to women who were unable to conceive. There was Sarah, who had Isaac, Rebekah  who had Jacob, Rachael, who had Joseph, and Hannah, who had Samuel. All of these women were empty, and God filled them. Their painful emptiness was obvious to everyone around them…..and God filled it. You may have an emptiness that is obvious or hidden: please hear this, there is ONLY one thing that can fill that hole, and it is God.

Why had God chosen them? If something happens against all the odds or makes possible the impossible…. then it has to be a miracle. It has to be God. It must be God. It IS God.

So right now an angel is telling Zechariah it was going to happen to them too, they were going to have a baby.  And yet he doubted and questioned it “how do I know that this is going to happen? We are both too old to have children”

He didn’t believe it, couldn’t believe it, he may even have been too scared to believe it. The very thing they had prayed for had come true, and it was too much to take in. Had Zechariah prayed this prayer for so long that it just became empty words he didn’t really believe?

If you have a prayer that seems impossible, it is possible when you pray to God. Be ready to accept it when it comes true, for nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:31-37)

ELIZABETH
Elizabeth was Zechariah’s wife and had also lived a good life obeying all of God’s commands. This tells us she knew the Bible, and had kept her faith with God. She had not gone looking at other religions for the answer to why she was unable to have children. There was a social stigma attached to their lack of children. People would have thought there was something was wrong with them and they were being punished for it. When Elizabeth became pregnant she said “now at last the Lord has helped me. He has taken away my public disgrace.”

Elizabeth was not just old but the Bible says she was very old. An angel told Mary “Remember your relative Elizabeth. It is said that she cannot have children, but she is now six months pregnant, even though she is very old. For there is nothing that God cannot do.” (Luke 1:36-37).

Soon after this, Mary went to visit her. When Elizabeth and Mary saw each other, the baby inside Elizabeth jumped for joy. For this special God-given baby was John the Baptist. And Mary was pregnant at the same time with Jesus. And the connection for advent, the time of preparing for the birth of Jesus is John the Baptist. As it says in the Bible “He will be a great man. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. He will get the Lord’s people ready for him.” (Luke 1:15-17)

How amazing it must have been for these women to share this incredible time. They were both pregnant, and both with miracle babies. Elizabeth was too old, and Mary a virgin. And here they were together, for each other, at this time. We all need someone to support us, and it is often not the same person for everything. Who supports you, who do you support?

MARY
This is something Gail wrote …

Yes, Lord.
Mary said “Yes, Lord.”
Yes – turn my life upside down.
Yes – change my certain future for the unknown.
Yes – take away the comfortable sameness of my life.
Yes, Lord.
Yes.
Yes – make me your servant.
Yes – use me to speak your word to the world.
Yes – bring your glory forth in my life.
Yes – change me forever.
Oh Yes, Lord! Yes!

Would you say yes?

JOSEPH
What’s a guy to think when his girlfriend gets pregnant to someone else? Joseph wanted to break up with Mary, he obviously didn’t believe the story about it being God’s son. That is until he was told in a dream that it was going to be alright, and he was to name the baby Jesus. The naming of a Jewish child had great significance. It is not only a statement of what it was hoped the child would be, but also where they came from. And it was Joseph who named the baby Jesus. Jesus, because he would save us from our sin.

So God is sending his only son from heaven down to earth, not as a fully grown man ready for his mission to save the world but as a newborn baby boy. A baby needing someone to provide love, food, shelter and protection who will grow into a boy. A boy who will learn the way of the world to become a man stepping out on his own who will change the world by what he says and what he does. And who is the person God chose to be the earthly father to Jesus, to adopt and raise him as though he was his own?…… Joseph.

Has God given you someone to care for? A family member:older or younger? A friend, a neighbour, an animal?

I also think Joseph is truly obedient. He obeyed when he stood by Mary, when he didn’t have to. Society would not have thought any less of him if he left Mary, but they would have thought a whole lot less of Mary. He listened to God and stayed with Mary when she was pregnant, he listened to God and took Mary and Jesus to the safety of Egypt, and he listened to God and returned to settle in Nazareth. In obeying all this, Joseph fulfilled the prophecy in Hosea 11:1 “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph ….. Who are you?

Vanessa

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Advent pegs 1Bought Advent Calendars are so commercial – and usually have nothing at all to do with the birth of Jesus! We made these Advent Activity pegs with a different activity for each day, which could be drawn at random from a bag to make things a little less predictable – especially if you reuse them another year. Supplies needed are: clothes pegs, glue or double sided sellotape, the templates for the numbers to be written on, and the activity cards – these last two are on .pdf files below.

Advent activity cards

Advent peg toppers

Advent pegs 2


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Jesus is the Reason – an All-Age Christmas Worship Service

Jesus is the reason

Well, Christmas is fast approaching and you may well be going into panic mode – what can we do for the Children’s Christmas Service?? Given below is the whole of one of our previous All-Age Christmas Worship services. Feel free to copy, adapt, or otherwise tweak it for your own use.

(Note: The Leader’s words are in plain text and the responses are in bold.)

WELCOME

CALL TO WORSHIP: 

(Preparation for this section: Have a Christmas Tree without any decorations on it, and with lights arranged on the tree but not switched on. 

Have a basket of ornaments – enough for the number of children you expect so that each one gets to put a decoration on the tree. During the Call to Worship, after each response ask a group of children to come forward, take a decoration, and put it on the tree)

We have a lovely tree here but there is something missing – can anyone tell me what it is?
that’s it decorations and lights.

Like Mary we ponder the wonder of God acting through us
FOR THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND FOREVER
(First group of children put decorations on tree)

Like Joseph we obey what God was spoken
FOR THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND FOREVER
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the manger we cradle the light God has given
FOR THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND FOREVER
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the angel on the hillside, we announce Jesus is born
FOR THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND FOREVER
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the multitudes of angles we praise God with great joy
FOR THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND FOREVER
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the sheperds we gather eagerly around the baby
FOR THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND FOREVER
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the stars we shine with the brilliance of good news
FOR THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND FOREVER
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

Like the people of Bethlehem we hear what God has done
FOR THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND FOREVER
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

We are called to celebrate the gift of God – his son Jesus Christ
FOR THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND FOREVER
(Next group of children put decorations on tree)

(Once the tree is decorated, turn on the lights, saying:)
Thank you for all your help. You know, we are like this Christmas tree and when we have Jesus in our lives he lights us up.

(For this next part you need a narrator, and 5 or 6 helpers)
It is getting very close to Christmas, only 5 sleeps to go! Christmas can mean different things to different people. Maybe it is some of these things for you:

It is about having the best tree in the whole world
(All helpers stand and point at the Christmas tree)

It is about presents
(All rub hands together and say YEAH)

It is thinking the Christmas story starts
(One helper to read first few lines of “Twas the night before Christmas” )

It is about Christmas crackers and Christmas cards
(Helpers snap crackers and pass cards to each other)

It is listening to the Queens message
(One helper to put on a crown)

It is about having too much good food and good wine, then falling asleep
(Helpers pretend to eat, drink, then sleep)

It is about having paid leave
(A helper waves a handful of monopoly money)

It is about Santa with flying sleighs and reindeers
(Two helpers put on Santa hats)

Me, I think Christmas is about something very different indeed. I have a friend who knows a great story about Christmas. Let me get her and she can tell you all about it.

(Here either the Narrator gets dressed as angel, or you can bring in another person to do this part. You also need large signs to hold up with pictures of an Angel, an Inn, Sheep, and a Star, and a further sign with “Jesus” written on it.
You will also need five boxes wrapped in Christmas paper arranged at the front. On the back of each of the boxes– not visible to the congregation –  is one of the letters needed to spell JESUS)

Hello. I hear you want me to tell you a story about Christmas. Well yes, I know a TRUE story about Christmas, and I know it is true because I was there, but I will need you to help me tell it.
The front half of this side, up to say here, when I say ANGEL you say HALLELUJAH  and to help you remember that (helper one) will hold this ANGEL up.

The back half of this side, when I say INNKEEPER you say WHAT IS IT NOW and to help you remember that (helper two) will hold this INN up.

The front half on this side, up to say here, when I say SHEPHERDS you say BAAAA and to help you remember that (helper three) will hold this SHEEP up.

And the back half, when I say WISE MEN you say FOLLOW THAT STAR and to help you remember that (helper four) will hold this STAR up.

BUT, when I say WHAT WAS THE REASON, you ALL say JESUS IS THE REASON, and to help you remember that (helper five) will hold this up (SIGN WITH “JESUS” on it)

Right lets give it a go:
ANGEL (Hallelujah)
INNKEEPER (What is it now!)
SHEPHERDS (BAAAA)
WISE MEN (Follow that star!)
WHAT WAS THE REASON?  (Jesus is the reason!)

Great – let’s start

MARY TO BETHLEHEM
A long time ago, about two thousand years or so, there was a woman named Mary who was engaged to be married to a man called Joseph. One day an ANGEL (HALLELUJAH) came to Mary and told her that she was going to have a baby. When she told Joseph, he was a bit freaked out about it all because he knew it wasn’t his baby as they weren’t even married. So an ANGEL (HALLELUJAH) came to Joseph and told him it was alright, because it was God who caused Mary to be pregnant and they were to name him Jesus. So Joseph and Mary got married and waited excitedly for the day when the baby would be born. Just before the baby was due to arrive, Joseph and a very pregnant Mary had to travel to Bethlehem for a census. This was when the rulers wanted to count everybody. Mary was pretty lucky because she got to ride all the way on a donkey.

What was the reason an Angel spoke to Mary and Joseph: JESUS IS THE REASON

Song: Clippety-clop, clippety-clop, trotting to Bethlehem

JESUS BORN
Joseph, Mary and the donkey finally arrived in Bethlehem. They found that it was really crowded because a lot of people had come to be counted for the census. All the inns were full and the INNKEEPERS (WHAT IS IT NOW) were very busy. They tried all day to find somewhere to stay but with no luck. It was getting dark. Mary was tired. Joseph was tired and the donkey was tired. Knock, Knock on the last door. A flustered INNKEEPER (WHAT IS IT NOW) answered the door. He told them THERE WAS NO ROOM IN THE INN, then he saw how tired and how very pregnant Mary was and he said that they could sleep in the stable. That night, amongst all the animals in the stable, Mary had her baby and laid him in the manger. And they named him Jesus, just as the ANGEL (HALLELUJAH) had told them to.

What was the reason the Innkeeper let them sleep in the stable: JESUS IS THE REASON

Song:  Away in a Manger

SHEPHERDS
While all this was happening in Bethlehem, there were some SHEPHERDS (BAAAA) out in the fields looking after their sheep. Suddenly they were scared out of their wits. There were bright lights in the sky, and some really really good singing. It was ANGELS (HALLELUJAH). They told the SHEPHERDS (BAAAA) not to be afraid. They had come to bring them great news. “Today in Bethlehem a saviour has been born. He is Christ the Lord and is lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes.” They sang praises to God and then they disappeared.
Well the SHEPHERDS (BAAAA) were really excited. This sort of thing had never happened to any of them before.  They immediately leapt up and ran to find the baby. They found the inn, and asked the INNKEEPER (WHAT IS IT NOW) where the baby was. He told them that Mary and Joseph were out in the stable. So they went in and found baby Jesus lying in the manger. The SHEPHERDS (BAAAA) then left and told everyone in Bethlehem what had happened that night.

What was the reason the SHEPHERDS went to Bethlehem? JESUS IS THE REASON

Song: While Shepherds watched

WISE MEN
Far far away some really really really smart guys – lets call them the WISE MEN (FOLLOW THAT STAR) – had seen something rather amazing. They had spotted a special star shining in the East and thought “Hmmm, this star means a king has been born. We’d better go and find him.” So the WISE MEN (FOLLOW THAT STAR) packed up their camels, followed the star and made their way to Bethlehem. When the WISE MEN (FOLLOW THAT STAR) found the Inn, they asked the INNKEEPER (WHAT IS IT NOW) where the baby was. He directed them to the stable and there they found the baby Jesus. The WISE MEN (FOLLOW THAT STAR) gave Jesus three gifts. Gold because Jesus is a king, Frankincense because that means Jesus is a priest, and Myrrh because Jesus was going to grow up and die on the cross for each one of us .

What was the reason the WISE MEN went to Bethlehem? JESUS IS THE REASON

Song:  We Three Kings

And that’s the TRUE story of Christmas with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, and the ANGELS (HALLELUJAH), and the INNKEEPER (WHAT IS IT NOW), and the SHEPHERDS (BAAA) and the WISE MEN (FOLLOW THAT STAR).

(At this point turn the “present boxes” around to spell JESUS)

Christmas is about the best present we have ever been given, Jesus. It is about having his presence in our lives every day not just Christmas day. Mary and Joseph became a family with the birth of Jesus in their lives, just as we become part of God’s family with the birth of Jesus in our lives. Jesus is the real reason for the season, of Christmas.

PRAYERS

SONG:  Carol our Christmas (a New Zealand Christmas Carol)

COLLECTION – including donations for the City Mission

PRAYER OF BLESSING

NOTICES

SONG: Joy to the World

DISMISSAL WITH BENEDICTION BLESSING