This is a Christmas service. This has been adapted to make it a little bit more young person friendly. Add in games as appropriate! This is a creative telling of the Christmas story, in chronological order.
However, you’ll need to do some work for yourself (I’m sure you will anyway!) But this gives you a good outline. The service takes around 1 hour (to 1 hour and 10mins), depending on how tight you are running the service.
This will need 2 ‘narrators’ who will link the whole evening together.
Intro with prayer.
For this, we had a band and a gospel choir. Again, you may not have access to that kind of resource of man/woman power. So, think of how you can do some Christmas songs in a contemporary or original way. This will all depend on your youth work, church and access to resources. I have Christmas songs remixed in various musical styles – could you do something like that?
What does Christmas mean to you?
Direct Link to video from IPC Randwick ‘What do people think about Christmas’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-lZyUciIzU (link accessed April 2019).
Alternatively, interview a few people or shoot your own video.
Introduction – Narrator 1
Setting the scene – Hopefully, this service will give you a chance to understand what the Christmas story really means and what key part it plays in God’s rescue plan for the world.
Mary’s ‘What If’
You could do a quick sketch with two versions of Mary. In this there are 2 scenes, first with a ‘bad Mary’ and second with a ‘good Mary.’ The question you’re looking at is – what if Mary had said no…
Scene 1 is a ‘bad Mary’. When the Angel comes to visit her, she acts like she doesn’t care. She adopts a classic Essex accent and is ‘not bovvered’ about this whole Jesus thing. She doesn’t ‘wanna be anuva’ young mum like her mates but just wants to hang out with her boyfriend, J.
Scene 2 is the ‘good Mary’ who actually does as the Angel tells her. Try not to make ‘bad Mary’ seem more fun than good Mary!!
Or if you don’t want to use a sketch, just paint a visual / mental picture (with words!) by saying that Mary could have said ‘no’, just as Elizabeth did. But Mary didn’t. She did what God asked. How much we need to do the same when God speaks to us (through prayer, listening, his Word and in special ways).
Link – Narrator 1
Phew! It was a good job that Mary understood. God chose the right girl at the right time! But what about Joseph?
Joseph’s Dilemma (reading) – Narrator 2
Mt 1.18-24 – This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
Go to the Myfishbites Sketches > Joseph sketch. Use, amend, develop, edit as required!
Download this PDF here. Here, you will find a mini script (font size 7) and 2 A4 pages, which you can put outside a book and use as a screen to insert the mini script into, to help prompt you!
Mary Introduction (reading) – Narrator 2
Luke 1.39-45 – At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
In this section, we had someone do a street dance / expressive dance – to a tune – while someone read Mary’s ‘Magnificat’ (apparently that’s what it’s called anyway!) You may not have a street dance team! In which case, do something creative. Have music on, play some amazing / scenic / cool images in the background as appropriate for your crew (get them off the internet), and have someone reading over the top.
Luke 1.46-56 – And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”
Census – Narrator 1
Luke 2.1-7 – In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
There was a short animation released in the UK, called ‘It’s A Boy’. This is aimed at children, but isn’t too bad considering when it was made (2005). This is the one here – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0936481/ We showed the Innkeeper’s Scene with Joe Pasquale. It’s a short clip of around 1min 20secs. Be careful not to confuse it with another animated movie of the same name from 2016 which is far less God-filled !
Shepherds – Narrator 2
Luke 2.8 – There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
For this, go to our Sketches > Shepherds sketch.
Some more Christmas classics and others, mixed together in a mashup, or however is appropriate!!
Again, use the ‘It’s A Boy’ scene (or use Story Keepers, Miracle Maker, or another appropriate movie). The ‘birth’ sketch from It’s A Boy is very short, around 1 minute.
This was taken from the book, ’50 Sketches About Jesus’ by David Burt (Kingsway Publications, 1999). This is a good monologue (page 237). It does need a little bit of tweaking, but hey, what doesn’t?!
Response Time – Narrator 2
At Christmas, we have the picture of the 3 Maji coming to visit Jesus. The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh all symbolised something about the life and death of Jesus. The hymn, ‘In the bleak midwinter’ asks the question (about Jesus), ‘But what can I give him?’ and answers, ‘Give him my heart.’
This Christmas, what are you going to bring to Jesus? What kind of thing will you offer, or sacrifice?
There is a story about a pig and a hen who were walking past a church. Outside the church was a banner, asking ‘what will you give for the poor?’ The hen turned to the pig and said ‘we could team up and help by providing bacon and egg suppers.’ The pig looked at the hen and said, ‘that’s allright for you.. Bacon and egg supper? For you, that’s a gift. For me, it’s a sacrifice.’
You see, we need to be living sacrificial lives for Jesus. So what are you going to do? Maybe you need to re-commit your life to Jesus. Maybe you need to deal with something in your life. Maybe you need to do something that God’s been calling you to do, or that you’ve promised God or your family to do. Maybe today is the first time that you’ve really heard God’s voice, and you need to respond to him today, to give your life and heart to Jesus.
During the next 3-4 minutes, we’ll be playing some music. As the musicians play, let me challenge you to respond to Jesus today and bring your gift to him..
Music / Instrumental
An appropriate mellow tune during which people respond by bringing their gifts to Jesus (to the front of the church / the sides of the church / write something on a piece of paper and take it home with them). Make sure you have pens and paper available.
If you do encourage people to come to the front (as we did), you may want to have a bucket available for people to place their ‘sacrifices’ into (and assure them that the paper will be safely and confidentially destroyed later).
Ending Carol / song / time of worship.
End Summary – Narrator 1
Romans 8.31-39: What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
End with food – mince pies, drinks and creative hanging around!!