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CHRISTMAS READING – written by Tanis Harms

TOPIC:       the Christmas story
SCRIPTURE:   John 1:1,14; Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25;
.            Luke 2:1-7; 2:8-20; 2: 15-20;  Matt.2:1-15
Style:       a Christmas program with scripture readings,
.            the building up of a nativity scene, songs,
.            and the lighting of the Advent candles.
.            (recommended songs can be sung either
.            by soloists, choir or congregation, or
.            you can find other songs)
Cast:        READER/s (could have a different person
.              for each portion, or add different readers
.              for “character lines”,
.              or the reader could be the PASTOR)
.            SHEPHERDS, MAGI
Set:         Designate part of the stage for
.            the two different scene areas to build:
.            - separate “scene area”
.            - “nativity scene” area with manger
Props:       Advent candles, manger, stool/s

.             $15.00 USD to receive a DIRECTOR’S SCRIPT
.                                    (plus sheet music)
how you receive this & package description


READING   John 1:1, 14  “In the beginning was the Word,
.         and the Word was with God,
.         and the Word was God...
.         and the Word became flesh,
.         and dwelt among us…”

.         – lyrics: Emily E.S. Eliott,
.         - music: Timothy R. Matthews
.         (verses 1 and 2)

(During the last part of the song,
MARY walks down aisle to light the first Advent candle,
then MARY poses with GABRIEL in the “scene area.”
Pose as if GABRIEL is delivering the message to MARY.)

READING   The Reading of Virgin Mary  (Luke 1:26-38)    2

.         God sent the angel Gabriel to a city
.         called Nazareth – with a message for a young girl.   
.         Mary, a virgin, was engaged to Joseph,
.         a descendant of David.  

.         And when Gabriel appeared,
.         Mary was greatly troubled.  
.         Gabriel said to her,

.     (G) “Do not be afraid, Mary,
.         for you have found favor with God.  
.         You will become pregnant,
.         and give birth to a Son,
.         and you will name Him Jesus.  
.         He will be great, and will be called
.         the Son of the Most High.  
.         The Lord God will give Him
.         the throne of His ancestor David;  
.         and He will reign over
.         the descendants of Jacob forever;  
.         and His kingdom will never end.”  

.         Mary replied,

.     (M) “But how can this be, since I am a virgin?”  

.         Gabriel answered and said to her,

.     (G) “The Holy Spirit will come upon you;  
.         and for that reason,
.         the holy Child will be called the Son of God...  
.         for there is nothing that God cannot do.”  

.         Mary responded,

.     (M) “I am the Lord’s servant”.  
.         “May it happen to me as you have said.”

SONG 2    “O Come All Ye Faithful”
.         – by John Francis Wade
.         (verses 1 and 3)

(During the last part of the song, JOSEPH walks down
to light the second Advent candle,
then Joseph poses in the “scene area”
as if GABRIEL is delivering the message to him.  
MARY moves to side, in front of manger, to kneel in prayer.)

READING   The Reading of Joseph  (Matthew 1:18-25)     3

.         Joseph was a man
.         who always did what was right.

.         But when Joseph found out
.         that Mary was pregnant,  
.         he did not want to disgrace her publicly,
.         so he made plans to secretly
.         break off the engagement.  

.         While he was thinking about this,
.         an angel of the Lord appeared to him
.         in a dream and said,

.     (A) “Joseph, son of David,
.         do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife;
.         for according to the prophet, it is
.         by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived.  
.         She will have a Son,
.         and you will name Him Jesus –
.         which means “God is with us” -
.         because He will save His people
.         from their sins.”

.         So when Joseph woke up,
.         he married Mary,
.         and knew her not until the birth
.         of her firstborn Son.  

.         And Joseph named Him Jesus.

.         (Luke 2:1-7)  
.         This took place in Bethlehem,
.         the birthplace of his ancestor, King David.
.         because of the census ordered
.         by Caesar Augustus.  When they arrived,
.         there was no room in the inn,
.         so Mary wrapped Him in cloths,
.         and laid Him in a manger.

SONG 3    “Angels We Have Heard on High”
.         (verses 1 and 4)

(During last part of the song,
ANGELS walk down aisle, one of them lights the third
Advent candle, then ALL ANGELS pose in “scene area”
in a group.  MARY and JOSEPH now pose at the manger,
beginning to build the “nativity scene.”)

READING   The Reading of the Angels  (Luke 2:8-20)     4

.         There were some shepherds
.         in that part of the country,
.         who were spending the night
.         in the fields,
.         taking care of their flocks.

.         An angel of the Lord
.         appeared to the shepherds,
.         and the glory of the Lord
.         shone over them.  

.         And they were terrified.  

.         But the angel said to them,

.     (A) “Do not be afraid;
.         I am here with good news of a great joy
.         which will be for all the people.  
.         This very day,
.         in the city of David
.         there has been born for you
.         a Savior,
.         who is Christ the Lord!  
.         And this is what will prove it to you:  
.         you will find a baby
.         wrapped in cloths
.         and lying in a manger.”

.         Suddenly,
.         a multitude of heaven’s angels
.         appeared singing praises to God:

.    (As) “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
.         and peace on earth to those
.         with whom He is pleased.”

SONG 4    “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks”
.         – lyrics by Nahum Tate
.         – music by George Frederick Handel
.         (verses 1 and 2)

(During the last part of the song,
SHEPHERDS walk down aisle,
one of them lights the fourth Advent candle,
then they pose in “scene area”
as if in a deep but joyful discussion.  
ANGELS move to “nativity area.”)

READING   The Reading of the Shepherds  (Luke 2: 15-20) 5

.         When the angels were gone,
.         the shepherds said to one another,

.     (S) “Let us go straight to Bethlehem
.         and see this thing that has happened
.         which the Lord has made known to us.”

.         So they hurried off
.         and found Mary and Joseph,
.         and saw the Baby
.         lying in the manger.

.         When the shepherds saw Him,
.         they told Joseph and Mary
.         what the angel had said about the Child.  

.         Mary remembered all these things
.         and thought deeply about them.  

.         When they left,
.         the shepherds sang praises
.         and glorified God
.         for all they had heard and seen.  

.         And everyone who heard it
.         wondered at these things.

SONG 5    “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
.         – lyrics by Philips Brooks
.         – music by Lewis H. Redner
.         (verses 1 and 2)

(During the last part of the song,
MAGI walk down aisle,
one lights center Advent candle,
then they pose in the “nativity scene.”
SHEPHERDS now join in the “nativity scene” also,
although they could move there
during the dong.)

READING   The Reading of the Wise Men
.         (Matthew 2:1-15)

.         About two years after Jesus was born,
.         some men who studied the stars
.         came from the east and arrived in Jerusalem.
.         These wise men went to King Herod and asked,

.     (H) “Where is the baby                            6
.         born to be King of the Jews?
.         We saw His star in the east,
.         and have come to worship Him.”

.         King Herod and all of Jerusalem were angered.  
.         He met with the chief priests and the scribes
.         to figure out where the Christ was to be born.

.         King Herod then met secretly with the wise men
.         and asked them when the star first appeared.  
.         He then tells the wise men to go to Bethlehem,
.         as it was predicted by the prophet.
.         He also told them

.     (H) “When you have found Him, report to me,
.         that I too may come and worship Him.”

.         But the wise men had been warned in a dream
.         to go home another way,
.         as King Herod wanted to find the Child
.         in order to kill Him.

.         When the wise men came to Bethlehem,
.         they found the Child with Mary and Joseph.
.         Opening their treasures,
.         they give Him costly gifts
.         of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
.         And they rejoiced and fell down
.         to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

SONG 6    “Joy to the World”
.         – lyrics by Isaac Watts
.         – music by George Frederick Handel
.         (verses 1 and 2)

INSERT:   short message from PASTOR, then the
.         lighting of candles and passing of the light
.         usually done while singing “Silent Night”

SONG 7    “Silent Night”
.         – lyrics by Joseph Mohr
.         – music by Franz Gruber
.         (all verses, then repeat verse 1)