Christmas Eve Service
For several years we’d done a simple, participatory “family” Christmas Eve service. Kids were invited to wear a headpiece of a shepherd, angel, or wise person, with extras on hand for visitors or those who forgot. As the Christmas story was told, kids were asked to come sit on the steps during “their part” of the story while a corresponding Christmas carol/hymn was sung. We invite them to bring gifts of baby food for our local food bank.
In 2001 we decided to expand on it a bit and bring in a little bit of “meat” for older kids and adults. Our theme was “The Perfect Gift”. The Assistant Pastor and I (children’s director) began by talking about gifts we give and receive, then “noticed” there was a huge gift right by us. We ripped it open and it was a “stable” with “Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus” (real people dressed up). We continued by telling the story about the perfect gift, Jesus, with the kids participating as in the past. We wanted a “reflection” time, so we showed a Power Point presentation of the Christmas story and also included Jesus’ death and resurrection, with Scripture overlapping beautiful artwork. Our pianist played while we ran it.
This past Christmas 2002 we knew we wanted something different, and “meat” again so during brainstorming, we came up with the idea of telling the Christmas story through the eyes of “lost sheep”. The youth director and I – in rented sheep costumes - came in, “lost” and were soon joined by another sheep, Asst. Pastor, who claimed not to be “lost” but just wandered away. Because sheep are forgetful, he had sticky notes all over him which were his reminders of what to do every day, including “clean your ears”, “where the Christmas story is in the Bible”, etc. We had the kids participate again and sit with the sheep to sing when it was their “part” in the story. At the end, it was focused on “what to do when lost” – which was “clean your ears and listen for the shepherd”. As we went out, we had our church “voice” (a guy with a great, deep voice) read John 10:1-18. We came back in during the last hymn – Joy to the World – then passed out candy canes (shepherd staffs) with postcards attached that said “You’re His sheep – Clean your ears – Give Him your heart – Change your life” with all the scripture we used.
It was very unique and quite a hoot! Lots of comic relief with a great message. My 16 year old son said it was too short!
Below is the script that is still rough draft in a way - the final version came after lots of practice in our own words.
First Presbyterian Church, Napa, CA