Our church normally puts on a Christmas Eve service. However, this year the church wasn’t going to put one on. Knowing how important this is to our family and other families, we decided to organize a service.
Last year we did a family service, due to snow canceling the regular church service, so we had a skeleton to work from. From there, we put together a song list, a powerpoint, and finally a narration to be read about the birth of Jesus. We recruited some musical talent, as that is something Tracy and I are lacking in, and we had our Christmas Eve service under way.
Tonight we got to the church early, got everything ready, and waited for our talent to show up. They arrived early, we had a small rehearsal, and then it was time. We had no idea who would show up, but several other families did show up.
We sang all the familiar Christmas songs, listened to me and my brother in law Jeremy narrate my version of the Christmas story, and had a nice, short, casual service.
Thanks to Bake and Dave for the musical talent. Thanks for Jeremy for narrating. And thanks to all who showed up.
If anyone is interested in the actual narration and songs we sang, here it is:
The Christmas Story
1 A long long time ago, a promise was made. A promise to mankind that the curse laid on them would be lifted. Wise men and saints waited for years for the promised one, the one who will save them from the curse. In the course of events, this promised was fulfilled. An angel appeared to a small girl named Mary and told her that the promised messiah would be born to her. She would bear a child, and this child would fulfil the hope of ages.
What child is this?
2 Her husband to be found out that Mary was pregnant. He must have thought, “How could she do this to me?” Not wanting to shame her, he resolved that he would divorce her quietly. But God spoke to him in a dream and told him to not be afraid to marry her, as the child within her was from God. Mary’s relative Elizabeth was also pregnant, a miracle in and of itself as she was infertile and past child bearing age. Another angelic visit to Elizabeth’s husband Zechariah verified that something amazing was happening in the world. Angels were bringing messages to his people and God was interviening in the events of human history.
Angels we have heard on high
3 Being heavy with child, Mary and her husband Joseph were forced to make a long trip down to Bethlehem in order to fulful a census decree issued by Ceasar Augustus. Travelling so far when you have a pregnant wife? Long journeys are never recommended for pregnant women. But, the alternative was to disobey the Roman law and face the penalties for doing so. So, reluctantly, Joseph packed up their things and he and his wife went on a journey to Bethlehem.
O little town of Bethlehem
4 The trip was long and hard, but enduring the couple finally arrived at Bethlehem, only to find no room for them to stay. Joseph sought and searched high and low for a place for his wife to stay. Finally, he settled for a barn where the animals were kept, next to cows and sheep and a manger.
Away in a Manger
5 In this lowly place, Mary began to experience some hard contractions. The time was approaching. After what seemed like a long labor, her son was born. She named him YESHUA, or, what we know him as, Jesus. God has come to save his people.
6 Now, in the fields surrounding Bethlehem there were some shepherds tending their sheep. While sleeping, they were woken by a terrifying sight. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
7 The Shephards rushed to see this sight. The savior was here! They entered the town and went to the stable to see the baby. Amazed and overjoyed with what God had revealed to them, the went away and told everyone they saw about what had happened and what they had seen.
Go Tell it on the Mountain
8 Some time later, strangers from another land appeared in Jerusalem, asking about the one who was born King of the Jews? Who were these so called Magi, and how did they know about the birth of the Messiah? With all the strange events happening these days it probably shouldn’t have surprised anyone to know that they were following a star. After learning that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, the Magi once again followed the star to Bethlehem, to see the baby that was born on Christmas day.
O Come All Ye Faithful
9 All those who heard the news of the Messiahs birth reacted in one manner or another. King Herod reacted by trying to murder him. The religious leaders reacted by not reacting. The shepherds abandoned their flocks and rushed to meet the babe and spread the news about him. The magi travelled hundreds of miles to see him to present him with kingly gifts and to worship him. Joseph and Mary no doubt reacted too. They were to care for this child, to raise him to manhood, to wait to see what this marvelous gift of a Messiah would bring to this world. Mary was filled with joy. She was the mother of the one who would save her people.
Joy to the World
10 So, as you celebrate this Christmas season, remember the reason for it. Sure, you can have your Santa and your candy and your presents, but those are secondary. Christmas would still be Christmas without them. Because the Son of God came into this world, we now can have peace with God. The price for our sins was paid for by this Jesus. That is a reason to celebrate. That is a reason to be joyful. So, if you don’t get any presents for Christmas, if you don’t have any eggnog, if you don’t even get a nice meal, you still have reason to be thankful. God cared about you enough to offer the gift of his Son. May we remember that gift this holiday season and give glory to God for it.