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How do you celebrate Christmas?

For every word highlighted have a child come up and pretend to be the object or person.
Bring something for the stoop (some stools will work), folders for the carolers to hold, a bowl, jacket, scarf, and a pair of big shoes.

The Story

There was a young lad sitting under a tree on his apartment stoop one Christmas Eve. His parents had passed away a few years ago. He had no decoration to hang and no lights to put up. It’s not that he hated Christmas, he just didn’t see what all the fuss was for. It was a chilly evening and the carolers were very delightful to listen to.

A homeless man walked up to him, this young man had no jacket and one could see he had been cold for days. Tommy, the young lad's name who was sitting outside his small apartment building could also see how cold this man was. Tommy asked the man to sit with him. “Thank you but I don’t mean to intrude,” the homeless man said.

“Wait, please sit down and let me get you something hot to eat,” young Tommy said as he rushed inside and took the bowl of hot soup out of the microwave, he had planned on eating before bed. Poured some hot apple cider and returned to the cold man.

“Put this on” Tommy handed him the new jacket his uncle gave him today for Christmas. “I still have one from last year so I really don’t need this one.” The homeless man smiled and nodded as to accept the kindness of Tommy. “And I hope you like the soup. It’s a leftover from my aunt's dinner last night.” The homeless man said it was a fine soup.

Just as Tommy began to sit down he saw a little girl across the street who began to cough and cough. He walked over to see if she was okay. The little girl said she was on her way home. “How far is home?” Tommy asked. The little girl said it was 5 blocks down. Then Tommy took the scarf his auntie knitted him and put it on the girl’s shoulders and gently wrapped her up snug. “You are a very kind man,” the girl said and continued to walk. Tommy turned around to notice an empty bowl and glass sitting on the stoop of his apartment.

He began to walk home when we heard a noise from the shop that had closed 30 minutes ago. He peeked in the window on the door to see a boy grabbing some shoes too big for him. Tommy opened the door and asked, “What are you doing?” The boy said, “Stop right there or I’ll hurt you”. Tommy asked, “Why are you stealing?” The boy began to cry and said: “My daddy’s shoes have holes in them and so I wanted to get him a new pair for Christmas, but I have no money.” Tommy said, “You don’t look like a thief.” The boy said, “I’m not very good at this am I.” Tommy reached into his pocket and took out his last twenty dollars, and said, “Here, this should cover the cost of the shoes, now let’s fix this window and there’s no harm done.” The boy helped Tommy nail in a new piece of glass they found in the back room, then said, “Thank you, mister.” Tommy said to the boy next time you need money come back here and I’ll let you sweep my store. The boy said he would be back tomorrow. Tommy said, “Nope I’m closed on Christmas, but you can come back on Friday”. The boy nodded and happily ran home.

Tommy went back to his apartment to find the homeless man back on the stoop. The stranger put his hand on Tommy’s shoulder. “But you do celebrate this holiday, Tommy. You have given me food and a warm jacket when I was cold and hungry. You helped a little girl who will now survive her bad case of the flu and grow up to become a doctor and save hundreds of people, and that boy that you helped will grow up to be one of the richest men in town and help out several poor families. Tommy was quite stunned by what the homeless man said. “How do you know all this?” Tommy asked.

Trust me, Tommy, I have the inside story on this sort of thing, but I have to go now, and when your days on earth are over you will be with your parents again and with me.”

“Who are you?” Tommy stated as tears began to swell in his eyes. The stranger stepped back and removed the jacket Tommy gave and revealed a glowing white robe. If you will excuse me now Tommy, I have to go, there is a birthday party for me upstairs.” Merry Christmas Tommy, see you again soon,” and the homeless man began to float up into heaven.

The End

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
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Post moved by Exchange Volunteer to Consolidate topic.

Posted originally by EllenK

Story Telling - Greyland

This is a story written by our pastor Wes Magruder. We used it in our "Hanging of the Green" service to illustrate why we use certain colors at Christmas. I thought it might be used in a storytelling workshop also.

Greyland and the Pink Baby

This is the story of a land which had no color.
A country called Greyland.

In Greyland, everything was a dull grey.
The sky was always grey with a light rain.
The ground was scattered with grey rocks.
All the cars were grey.
All dogs and cats were grey.
The people of Greyland had grey faces –
They didn’t frown much, but they didn’t smile either.

There was only one holiday during the year, a joyless occasion called Stand Up Straight Day.
On that day, everyone in Greyland made sure they stood up a little straighter than usual because it was good for them.
Not real exciting, huh?

But one day, the inhabitants of Greyland were shocked to discover an unusual sight in the Greyland Memorial Hospital.

A little boy was born there.
A strange and unusual little boy.
He was cute and cuddly … but he wasn’t grey!
He was pink!
A pink baby boy! Who would ever have thought such a thing could happen?!

His parents were ashamed.
They tried to cover up his pink with grey blankets and grey diapers, but people could tell that he was pink. Finally, his parents were so embarrassed by their pink baby that they moved away from Greyland. And nobody ever saw him again!

Nobody knew where the pink baby went. There were rumors that he moved across the great ocean. There were rumors that he never grew up. But nobody knew what happened to the pink baby.

One day, a little grey boy, about the age of six started to annoy his parents and teachers by refusing to participate in Stand Up Straight Day.

His parents woke him up in the morning and said, “Get up quickly! It’s time for Stand Up Straight Day! Let’s see how straight you can stand today!”

The boy said, “I don’t want to stand up straight. That’s a terrible reason to have a celebration.”

His mother answered him, “Do you have a better idea for a holiday?”

The boy sighed and said, “No, I guess not.” And he stomped his feet and stood up straight. But that night, before he went to sleep, he prayed a special prayer that God might give the people of Greyland a new holiday. In fact, he prayed it every night for several weeks.

One day, while he was walking to school through the Great Grey Forest, he saw something from a distance that caught his eye. A beautiful, colorful, green tree. He’d never seen a tree like this before. In fact, he’d never seen green in his life before!

Just then, an old man in a big grey robe and grey beard walked up and said to him, “This is the color green.”

“It’s beautiful,” said the boy. “But what does it do?”

The old man laughed. “It doesn’t do anything. But it means something very important. Green is the color that these trees are supposed to be. Trees aren’t supposed to be grey, you know!”

“They aren’t?!” said the boy.

“No, green is the color of living things, of growth and life and being happy. You’ve never seen green before?”

The boy shook his head.

“I’m sorry, little boy,” said the old man. “One day, all the trees in Greyland will be green again, like they’re supposed to be. Until then, here’s an evergreen branch for you – to remember what it will be like someday.”

The boy took the branch, then said, “But when? How long will we have to wait?!”

But the stranger was gone. The boy was left holding a strange green branch.

Well, the boy went home and put his green branch on his bookshelf. He was very proud of it. And from that day on, he began to hope and pray that he would discover other colors.

Every once in a while, he’d wander in the forest looking for other colors. And one day, he was rewarded by a splash of bright color in a flower. When he drew close, he saw a star-shaped flower in a brilliant shade of … what?

“That’s red, my boy,” said the old man in robe and beard who had appeared from nowhere. “That’s my personal favorite.”

“Red,” said the boy. “Are all flowers supposed to be red?”

The old man laughed. “Flowers are all sorts of colors, but red ones are especially pretty. This flower is called a poinsettia. Poinsettias tell an important story about the birth of a baby who came to change the world.”

The boy opened his eyes wide. “Are you talking about the pink baby?”

The old man laughed. “Yes, the baby who was born pink came to bring a whole bunch of colors to Greyland. Red is one of those colors. Poinsettias remind us that the pink baby grew up and became an adult, and then died.”

“The pink baby died?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so,” said the old man. “Did you know that when he died, he bled, and the color of blood is red?”

The boy gasped. “I didn’t know that. But isn’t that terrible? He wasn’t able to bring color to Greyland.”

“Oh yes, he did,” said the stranger. “He did bring color to Greyland. But not everybody can see it – it takes special eyes!”

“Special eyes?” said the boy. He bent down to pick up the poinsettia, but when he stood up, the old man was gone – again!!


When the boy went home, he put the red flower beside the green branch on his shelf. He began to think about what the stranger had told him in the forest. He began to wonder if there was even more color in Greyland than he realized.

He began to look at things more carefully. Every once in a while, he did see green leaves on the trees. Every once in a while, he saw red petals on the flowers.

Once he even saw a color in the sky … the stars that shone above Greyland were usually, well, grey and dull. But one evening, he saw a star that was so shiny, it made his eyes hurt. And it was a different color.

As he stood in his bedroom window looking at it, he saw the old man in the long robe and beard again.

“What color is that?”

“Why, that’s gold! Isn’t it dazzling? Isn’t it amazing? That’s the color of the most precious stones and jewels in the world. It’s the color of kings and queens, of palaces and castles. And it’s the color of stars.”

The boy twisted up his nose. “Stars are supposed to be gold?”

“Yes,” said the old man. “But the star you see up there is special. It’s just like the star that shone above the place where the pink baby was born. It let everyone know for miles around that a special baby had been born – only not everyone took the time to look up into the sky to see it!”

“I’m beginning to understand,” said the boy. “You really have to look for the colors in order to see them. If you don’t take the time to really look, you might miss them. I’m starting to see all sorts of colors now.”

The old man smiled. “You’re getting the hang of it, but you still don’t know the true secret behind the colors of Greyland. I’ll visit you again soon, but until then, here’s some gold dust.”

He waved his arm high in the sky, grabbed some of the stars and pulled them down into his hand. Then he dropped gold dust into the boy’s outstretched palms.

“Goodbye,” he called as he disappeared.

After a few more months, it was time for Stand Up Straight Day again in Greyland. The boy had lost all interest in the holiday. After all, he spent all his time looking for color in his world. He knew that he was the only kid who could see color.

This morning when he woke up, he looked at the green tree branch, red flower and gold dust sitting on his bookshelf and wondered when the whole of Greyland would be colorful. He wondered what the pink baby had to do with it all.

His mom ran into the room excitedly. “Wake up! Wake up! Something amazing has happened outside!”

The boy ran to his window quickly, and saw that the entire village was covered in snow. He’d never seen snow before, he’d only read about it in books. But this had to be snow! And the color of snow had to be WHITE!

He ran outside and soon all the village children had joined him in playing outdoors, making snowmen and snow angels.

He laughed and played all day long with his friends. As the long afternoon started to get dark, he saw the old man standing and watching at the edge of the forest. He ran over to the old man and said, “This is white, isn’t it?”

The old man chuckled. “Yes, it is. This snow means that the world has been wiped clean of grey; from now on, Greyland will be full of color.”

“Who did this?” said the boy.

“Why, the pink baby, of course.”

“I thought you said that he had died?!”

“He did, but he came back to life. And when he did, he made everything good as new. That’s the secret about the pink baby – he’ll always be with you … In fact, I’ve never been away.”

The boy gulped loudly and looked a little more closely at the old man ... and saw that his cheeks were pink!

“But you …!!”

The old man laughed and ran back into the forest.

A week later, when the snow melted, Greyland was suddenly full of color. The trees turned green, the flowers turned yellow, blue and purple, the houses turned red and brown. Suddenly, every baby born in Greyland Hospital was born a different color – white, red, black, brown.

And as for Stand Up Straight Day, you know they had to change that!
They have a new holiday
In which they celebrate a special birth
And all the colors that the pink baby brought to their world.

What do you think they call it?

Of course … CHRISTMAS!!



reply posted by Karen:

I am wondering if anyone can suggest to me "take home" project to go along with this story. (For example, last Easter we read the wonderful book Benjamin's Box to the kids, and as we read each page, whatever object Benjamin picked up in the story, the kids each got. After the story, they put their objects into a small paper mache box, and they were all able to retell the story of Holy week/crucifixon/resurrection with their objects.)

Can anyone think of a way to do a similar lesson with this wonderful story? I know we could do the color beads, and make a small bracelet, but we've done that several times in our church already. I'm wondering if someone could suggest any other ideas.

By the way, our Christmas rotation this year is Shepherds & Angels. I'm not sure I will be able to use the greyland story for Christmas, but I think we could use it at Easter! Don't know if that helps other's creative ideas or not!

Thanks,

Karen

Last edited by Rotation.org Lesson Forma-teer
What a wonderful story! I think I will use it in December for one of our preschool's sanctuary times along with the bracelet idea, since many of the children are unchurhced and probably haven't done that activity before. This story would be great for adults, too.

Layered Book

 

I think we are going to make a "layered" book. It is not complete in thought and theory yet, but the idea is a take the layered book concept. BAsically the first page starts out with black and white, The kids then make a grey page that shows a bit of the the black and white, the next page introducing the pink color etc. etc. Another idea we are toying with is to have the kids add a page of colored transparencies to make up the book. The illustrations and words will be ran off on cardstock, then the kids will add a layer of colored transparency to cover one scene of the page. On the pink page they would trace and cut out the baby, attach it as a flap and add it to their book.
Does that make sense? We will have it completed in the next few weeks. I'll add more as we get closer to the final project. Denise

Last edited by Rotation.org Lesson Forma-teer

Game: Taxicab

 

We used this story during a Birthday Party for Jesus held at the conclusion of our "Messiah" unit. We adapted the game "Taxicab" to use with the story. In the game each player recieves a key word from the story and the story is then read aloud. As the word is mentioned in the story the player with that word gets up, turns around and is seated again. At the mention of Stand Up Straight Day all players get up and rush to another place. You can have one less place than number of players so that one person is always standing and on the lookout for an empty spot. We selected key words like grey, pink, green, red, old man, boy, etc. which are used fairly frequently in the story.

Last edited by Rotation.org Lesson Forma-teer

"The Chimpanzees of Happytown"

 

There is a book right along these same lines by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees called "The Chimpanzees of Happytown". It is secular and doesn't make the tie to Christmas, but a great teacher could tie it in and make it work. The illustrations are awesome, and it reads really well! Published by Scholastic.

Last edited by Rotation.org Lesson Forma-teer

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