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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

Last edited by Luanne Payne
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The following is the OUTLINE of an original family worship program that was written by Ben Kerns and Jan Hanson and presented at First Presbyterian Church, Napa, CA on Christmas Eve 2002. May be used with permission in the local church setting providing no part is sold or used for profit and credits are used.

In advance children were asked to come dressed as an angel, shepherd or wise "person". It could be a simple headpiece (tinsel halo, cloth and headband, paper crown). We provided these same headpiece for those who forgot theirs and visitors.

Christmas The Eyes of Lost Sheep

Characters:
2 sheep who are lost: Sheep 1 and Sheep 2
1 sheep who has ‘wandered’: Sheep 3 – has ‘sticky notes’ all over him (his day planner)

Pastor does welcome

Sheep 1 & 2 enter down the aisle, Sheep 2 has a map

Sheep 1 - Typical male sheep – shoulda stopped for directions, blah blah blah
Sheep 2 - I think we’re really lost
Sheep 1 - What’s going on here? Where are we?
Sheep 2 - I’m not a crowd person and don’t like calling attention to myself
Sheep 1- We gotta think quick, I know … let’s play that game called “I like”: If you like what I say I like, then stand up …. I like oats, oops they’re people: I like candy
Sheep 2- I like to sing
Sheep 1- I like to read
Sheep 2- I like cold weather
Sheep 1- What do you know about cold weather?
Sheep 2 - Just the other night it got down to 48 degrees
Sheep 1- I grew up on a ranch in the Midwest … up hill, no shoes, snow up to my tail
Sheep 2- I’ve heard of snow
Sheep 1- Knowing about snow and living in snow is 2 totally different things. You think you know about it in your head…. But I really do know about it, cuz I’ve experienced it in my life.

Sheep 3 enters

Sheep 3- Hey, more sheep! You guys must be lost!
Sheep 1 - And you’re not?
Sheep 3- I’m not sure, I knew where the pen was and started wandering away cuz something caught my eye, but by the time I turned back around, I couldn’t find my way back.
Sheep 2- What’s that?
Sheep 3 - What’s what?
Sheep 2- All these sticky notes all over you
Sheep 3 - Oh that’s my Day Planner.
Sheep 2 - Why do you need a Day Planner? All we sheep do is wake up, eat, and go back to sleep.
Sheep 3 - No, that’s what you do. I live a full life. But because we sheep are so forgetful I need a Day Planner to remind myself of my appointments.
Sheep 1 - Let’s see what’s on today’s agenda. – WAKE UP, EAT, GO BACK TO SLEEP.
Sheep 3 - You forgot this one.
Sheep 1 - Clean your ears before you go to bed.
Sheep 2 - Hey you two, why do some of those little people have costumes on?
Sheep 3 - We’re in a church and it’s Christmas eve
Sheep 1 - Yeah, we’ve been around, we’ve heard of Christmas.
Sheep 2 - That’s such a nice story … I like the part about the deer with the red nose, blah blah
Sheep 1 - You goof .. that’s not the Christmas story! It’s about sheep, a star, and getting presents.
Sheep 3 - Uh, no. It’s about Jesus …
Sheep 1 - Oh yeah … we’ve heard the story .. sheep tell it a lot. It’s a real nice story.
Sheep 3 - It’s not just a nice story – it’s the most amazing story ever.
Sheep 2 - So what’s the bottom line point of the story?
Sheep 3 - The most important part of the story is the baby
Sheep 2 - I love babies … I remember when I was a baby
Sheep 1 - Aren’t the sheep the most important of the story? What are you talking about … a baby?
Sheep 3 - Since you are so misinformed and all these people came to hear the Christmas story. Let’s tell them ...
Sheep 1 - I’ll start … once upon a time ….
Sheep 2 - No! Long ago in a galaxy far, far away …
Sheep 1 - No! Just sit right back and you’ll a tale a tale of a faithful trip …. No
Sheep 2 - Hey look, this Sticky note with a heart that says “Christmas story, see Luke 2 … what’s Luke 2?
Sheep 3 - That’s right! Oh I’m so forgetful! Luke 2 is the place in the Bible that tells the Christmas story. My shepherd gave me that sticker for my Day Planner
Sheep 2 - The Bible?
Sheep 3 - Our shepherd gave us this great book called the Bible with all the directions for life in it. Hey people … Open your Bibles to Luke 2 …. If you find it shout out the page number it’s on.
READ Luke 2:1-8 – Call up kids who are dressed as shepherds
SING: First Nowell
READ: Luke 2:9-12 – Call up kids who are dressed an angels
READ: Luke 2:13-14
SING: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
READ: Luke 2:15 Send kids back to seats
READ: Luke 2:15-20
Sheep 2 - Wait a minute … there are people out there with crowns, don’t they get a part?
Sheep 3 - Hold on, let me check for another sticky note
Sheep 2 - Here's a star: for wise men, see Matthew 2:1-12
Call wise "people" up and SING "We Three Kings"
Sheep 2 - Angels, wisemen, shepherds, why would they worship and praise a little baby?
Sheep 1 - Before I split the pen, my parents told me the story about how Jesus was born, grew up, told stories and traveled around. It's a nice story.
Sheep 3 - It’s not just a story …. You know the story in your head but you haven’t experienced it in your life.
Sheep 2 - Yeah, kind of like the cold weather thing, huh, Sheep 1?
Sheep 3 - This baby grows up to become the shepherd who loves and cares for us and provides for all our needs. It’s a great life when you’re cared for by the shepherd.
Sheep 1 - If it’s so great, why did you leave your pen?
Sheep 3 - I didn’t leave, I wandered away. I saw something that caught my eye and now I’m stuck being lost with you guys.
Sheep 2 - (move close to Sheep 3)
Sheep 3 - Get outta my space
Sheep 2 - No, wait …. This sticky notes looks like the brand we have. I forgot we had brands. They say: If lost, read Luke 15…
Sheep 3 - That’s right. I should’ve remembered this one because I wander away a lot. When I do I need to just stop and clean my ears.
Sheep 2 - Clean your ears?
Sheep 3 - Stop and listen. Because the shepherd always calls me back.
Sheep 1 - That’s rather dumb
Sheep 3 - No, let’s listen.
LIGHTS DOWN
VOICE Reads John 10

Sheep leave

Pastor: sum it up … many have been to church, you know the Christmas story back and forth but have you ever listened to the shepherd. There will be an extended contemplative time during our offering ….. If you hear his voice, inside bulletin is a card for you to indicate how we as a church can help you figure it out. (card indicates: I want to commit my life to the shepherd now, I want to recommit my life now, I want a call from the church for more info)

Pianist plays

Pastor prays for offering, for people, community & beyond.

ALL SING Joy to the World – sheep return and sing first verse then walk to doors

As people leave, sheep distribute a candy cane (shepherds staff) tied to a card w/ribbon. Verses from tonite included as well as: “The Lord is your shepherd – clean your ears, listen to His voice, give Him your life”. Info about our church included.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

God is good all the time! All the time God is good!! I have a few children..a few youth and a few adults who will be able to participate in our annual Children's Program. I have prayed and searched and prayed and searched and prayed and AH HA!! Your program idea works as if it were written for the people who will do our event. I know God directed these words for the specific children and teens who will be happily working with this script. God richly bleeses us with the gifts of others to use to pass on the gifts to others. The spirit of the Lord keeps working and reaching out. Thank you for this blessing. Plans can now begin with clear direction.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

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