Skip to main content

Many churches have been experimenting with online options that bringing people together online for Advent and Christmas celebrations, worship, and learning opportunities. And they invented more ways to stay in touch when the 2020-21 pandemic "distancing" requirements shut down many in-person Advent celebrations. This topic began with some of our members' best ideas and is collecting new ones!

Ideas for Celebrating Advent and Christmas at a Distance

Not everyone can be home for Christmas, or is able to come to church when your Advent celebrations are scheduled.

Online Advent & Christmas offerings, both live and recorded, can be enjoyed by those traveling, living away (like college students), those who don't travel at night or due to the weather, those who are sick, disabled, or in a nursing home, and people who work weekends and nights, and those with childcare issues. Online options can also be a blessing to those who are already overscheduled or have transportation issues, or who simply want to participate with your church from afar!

Your creative use of technology can "be the church" to all such people, and help them enjoy fellowship, learning, and worshipping together whenever and wherever they happen to be.

Here's a collection of some of the ideas our members have shared.

You are welcome to add your own or suggest adaptations to those you read about.


Images (1)
Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Online Nativity or "Drive Through" Nativity ~ Or Both!

Not everyone can drive through your "drive through" nativity, so why not put it online -- both live and recorded!

Ideas for Live Nativity

If you're looking for at-home lessons and celebration ideas, go to our Celebrating and Teaching about Advent & Christmas at Home forum. Many of the "home" ideas can be adapted for use online!

A "Nativity Photo Shoot" idea

Whether your "live" nativity is in the sanctuary, or on the church lawn, or of the "drive through" variety, you can take photos of your dramatized scenes, turn them in to a "slideshow video" and post them online in a video for those who can't make it, missed it, or who want to enjoy it again.   

You could do one photoshoot (video) per week of Advent and post it with a short devotional.  Or do them all at once and share them one at a time.

The following Nativity Photo Shoot idea comes from member Amy Crane:

I used to worship at a church that didn't yet have a permanent building, just a theater we rented and a church office in a separate building. So one Sunday afternoon we invited all interested children to come to the church office. We put the kids in costumes and arranged them in tableaus on the lawn around the office building to dramatize our Script-River Church's "Virtual" Christmas Pageant.  Anyone who wanted to be Mary, Gabriel, etc. could, for at least one picture. They just wore the "Mary costume" or the "Gabriel costume" in one of the shots.

To include children who could not attend that day's photoshoot, the next Sunday we set up a station after Sunday School to take more photos individual angels, shepherds, and sheep quickly assembled into costumes and groups. These were added to the photoshoot presentation.

Another way to do this would be to invite individual families and church members to "take a role" and SEND IN THEIR OWN PHOTOS.

Using today's tech, you can put all the photos in a "slideshow" with transitions, and add appropriate text and actors' names (if you wish).

Turn this into a video and post it to your Facebook page so that your church members can share it with THEIR families and friends. After-all, the Good News is meant to be shared!

What kinds of shepherds are there today?

Synonyms for "shepherd" include:  Guide, show, teach, protect, herd, train, show, lead, defend, pastor, caretaker, watcher.

To develop this theme for sharing during Advent, you could (1) Invite members to "put on their shepherd costumes" and send in their photo, or (2) Invite members/kids to join you for a "posing" session where you pose the various "synonyms" for "shepherd."

Turn these into a display both online and at the church building.

Lighting the Advent Candle In Costume (and recording with video to share)

Isaiah-Advent-CandleYou could invite different families or groups within the church to assemble the necessary costumes and props and meet before worship to prepare to "pose" and video record these scenes/characters during worship the lighting of the Advent Candle. What would the first candle of "Hope" (Isaiah) look like? "Prepare" (Bethlehem), "Birth,"  (Manger), "Share/Love" (Shepherds)?

What would Isaiah look like lighting the first candle?  Shepherds gathering to read their passage and light the candle?

What would Mary and Joseph read and say when they lit the Advent Candle?


See more Ideas for Lighting the Advent Candles here!


Images (4)
  • Family Nativity Photo
  • mceclip0
  • Isaiah-Advent-Candle
  • Mary-Joseph-Candle
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Doing a Christmas Play Over Zoom!
Creating Virtual Performance

Not only can you host a "virtual Christmas play" on Zoom, Zoom "meetings" can be recorded and uploaded for viewing by others at a later time.

Ahead of time, you'll need a script, and you'll need to assign key parts and ask them to create a set/props at their computer where they are joining the Zoom group.  Do a "read through" together and give some directions, and then do the performance.


Here is a script you can use for a virtual performance: Writing Team's script, "News Team 7 Breaking News: Jesus is Born!" (This particular Writing Team lesson is free and open to all! )

The script is available as a docx file so that you can easily revise it and send copies to your actors.

Adaptations can depend on how many actors and/or families would like to have a part. This is the cast list from the script:

  1. Anchor 1: Chet Chumley
  2. Anchor 2: Cheer-y Chatter
  3. Announcer (a single line)
  4. Chip Chopper, Reporter
  5. Mary
  6. Joseph
  7. The Lord God Almighty
  8. Donkey 
  9. Sheep (you can have many sheep)

Thought this lesson script imagines these characters in the same room, each can be in their own home where they are zooming from. For example, the two news anchors can each be sitting at their own news desk where they are each zooming from.

Ways to adjust the casting to include more than 9 people:

  • Have additional news anchors (perhaps 2 teams of 2 for two different days' newscasts)
  • 3 chopper scenes could mean three different chopper reporters (and 1 shy actor could do scene 2 as a voiceover).
  • Mary and Joseph are in two different scenes, so they could be played by two different sets of actors. Just coordinate what they are wearing (for example, "Mary wears blue and Joseph wears brown") or give them similar props to make it easier to know they are the "same" people.
  • Add more animals. And they can be in separate places for ease of filming.

The news show can also be expanded by adding commercials. Assign these to your more creative participant.  How about a commercial for gold, frankincense, and myrrh?   A Manger Rental Commercial?

The news drama script is part of a lesson, which you can incorporate into the drama production process. Either have the lesson as a Zoom session with your actors and families and write the improvised parts of the script together, or let each family work on enhancing and developing their part of the script on their own.

How about a Christmas Party on Zoom for those who can't be at church in-person? (Put a little lesson into it too.)


Images (2)
  • zoom-performance=christmas
  • kids at home this Christmas season

Add Reply

Post a New Topic
Lesson or Resource Inc. is a volunteer-run, 100% member supported, 501(c)3 non-profit Sunday School lesson ministry. You are welcome to borrow and adapt content for non-commercial teaching purposes --as long as both the site and author are referenced. Inc reserves the right to manage, move, condense, delete, and otherwise improve all content posted to the site. Read our Terms of Service. Get a free Registered Membership or become a Supporting Member for full access to all site resources. is rated 5 stars on Google based on 51 reviews. Serving a global community including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, S. Africa, and more!
Link copied to your clipboard.