Sunday, December 23, 2012

Outline Nativity

Here is an outline I made for an all-age Nativity, which we used this morning. It is built around Luke 2:1-20. People had been invited to come dressed as their favourite character from the Christmas story. No line-learning is required; nor is it dependent on who turns up.

Welcome, introduction/explanation: everyone will be involved.

We sang a carol

Luke 2:1, 3
Has anyone come as Caesar Augustus? He was the first Emperor, the adopted son of Julius Caesar. When JC was stabbed in the back, Augustus took revenge on his killers, and proclaimed himself Emperor. He proclaimed his dead dad a god, and himself to be a living god, who had brought peace to the world. Caesar Augustus is the centre of his own universe; and though it is unlikely that anyone will have come dressed as him, there is a bit of him in every one of us. This, then, is an appropriate lead into confession. We use a form of confession, and absolution, from Common Worship.

Luke 2:4
Joseph is returning home for ‘Christmas’ – so anyone who has returned home for Christmas, as well as anyone come dressed as Joseph, gets to be Joseph. He was returning home not just to visit his relatives, but because he had no choice. Sometimes we have to return home for happy reasons – such as a significant birthday or anniversary – or sad reasons – such as a funeral. Life is full of highs and lows, and hopes and fears, to be held before God. Calling to mind a high point from 2012, we held our hands up high and thanked God for those things we wished to celebrate. Calling to mind a low point from 2012, we held our hands as low as we could reach, and thanked God that he never leaves us on our own, but is with us to comfort and strengthen us. Turning to 2013, we called to mind a hope, holding our arms out wide, and thanking God for giving us hope; then called to mind a fear, holding our hands close together, and asked God to fill our hearts with his love that drives out fear.

Luke 2:5
Mary is visiting the in-laws – so anyone who is visiting (or has visited) their in-laws for Christmas gets to be Mary, along with anyone who has come dressed in the part. At this point, we light the fourth candle on our Advent wreath, and pray together using resources from Times and Seasons.

We sang a carol

Luke 2:6-16
Here are several more characters: Joseph’s relatives (those hosting Christmas), the shepherds (those whose plans have ever been disrupted at Christmas), and the angels. With each new set of characters, the number of children and adults at the front grows. At this point I handed out 16 key words/phrases taken from the Bible reading, and made observations on ways in which Christmas is for people who identify with any of these categories. The words I chose were:

census; Bethlehem; first baby; not enough room; night-shift; glory; afraid; good news; great joy; a Saviour; company of angels; praise God; peace; spread the word; amazement; treasured.

We sang a carol

Intercessions: An open time for people to call out the things on their hearts, using the formula, “We pray for...Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.” (we all join in the response hear our prayer); followed by joining in the Lord’s Prayer.

Luke 2:17-20
The final characters in the story (for those who haven’t identified with any of the other characters yet) are the neighbours. What do you make of the Christmas story? It is both invitation, to enter-into the Story, and challenge, to tell others.

We sang a carol

Closing prayer and blessing (again, we used resources from Common Worship).

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