To be used with Manger Scenes:
Mary, Joseph Baby Jesus, Angels, Innkeepers Shepherds Wiseman/Kings
Have family members move the
Manger scene pieces as you tell the story:
SING: SILENT NIGHT (Franz Gruber)
“Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm all is bright. Round yon virgin, mother and child, holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.”
A long, long time ago there was a young girl named Mary. Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph. However, before they lived together, Mary became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. When Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant he decided that he would not marry her.
One night Joseph had a dream. In the dream an angel appeared to him and said, “Joseph, son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child. She is to have a son and you are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from sins.” (Matthew 1:20) All this happened to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet Isaiah, “The virgin shall be with child and give birth to a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel.” A name which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke he believed his dream. Despite how it looked, and the possible embarrassment that he might endure, he chose to do as the angel of the Lord had directed in his dream and bring Mary into his home as his wife. They exchanged marriage vows and thus began their family and our Christian family.
In the days of Jesus’ birth Caesar Augustus published a decree ordering a census of the whole world. Everyone went to register each to his own town. And so Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to David’s town of Bethlehem – because he was of the house and lineage of David – to register with Mary, his wife, who was pregnant.
When they got to Bethlehem, it was crowded. They went to one Inn, the Innkeeper said, “There is no room.” They went to another Inn and that Innkeeper said, “There is no room.” They went to one more Inn and the Innkeeper said, “I have no room in my Inn, but I do have a stable that you can rest in.” It was in this stable that Mary gave birth to her “first-born” son and wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger. (Luke 2:7)
SING: AWAY IN A MANGER (William Kirkpatrick )
“Away in a manger no crib for his bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where he lay. The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. The cattle are lowing the baby awakes; but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes. I love you, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky and stay by my side until morning is nigh.”
There were shepherds in that region, living in the fields and keeping watch by turns over their sheep. The angel of the Lord appeared to them as the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid. The angel said to them, “You have nothing to fear! I come to proclaim good news to you – tidings of great joy to be shared by the whole people. This day in David’s city of Bethlehem a Savior has been born to you, the Messiah and Lord. Let this be a sign to you: in a manger you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes.”
SING: GO, TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN (
John Work, Jr.)
“Chorus: Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;
Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!
While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night,
behold throughout the heavens there shone a holy light. ( chorus)
The shepherds feared and trembled when lo above the earth
rang out the angel chorus that hailed our Savior’s birth. (chorus)
Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of others praising God and singing, “Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests.”
SING: HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING (Charles Wesley)
Hark! The herald anges sing, “Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful all ye nations, rise, join the triumph of the skies; with th’angelic host proclaim: “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Hark the herald angels sing,“Glory to the newborn King!”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us.” They went in haste and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the manger. Once they saw they understood what had been told them concerning this child. All who heard of it were astonished at the report given them by the shepherds. Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart.
SING: O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM (Phillip Brooks)
O little town of Bethlehem, How still we se thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by; Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above, while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love. O morning stars together proclaim the holy birth! And praise sing to God the King, and peace to all on earth.
As you sing this song, stand before the manger scene,
observe all the pieces now in place.
Mary and Joseph around Baby Jesus resting in the manger.
The Shepherds with their sheep, and all the animals
gathered around the “everlasting light”.
Meanwhile…According to the Gospel of Matthew…. In the East, there were some wise man, some believed to be Kings, who observed a star. They began to follow that star because they believed it would lead them to the newborn King of the Jews. (Matthew 2:1)
SING: WE THREE KINGS
Bring out the three Wiseman and process with them around the house as you sing
We three kings of Orient are; bearing gifts, we traverse afar
field and fountain, moor and mountain following yonder star.
O, star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to the perfect light!
We Three Kings. At the end of the song leave them somewhere in the house away
from the manger. Move them each day closer to the manger.
Have them arrive at the manger on Epiphany.
This foundational story of our faith speaks of a strength of character in both Mary and Joseph. The strength to say ‘yes’ to God’s will despite how it looks and what others might say. Joseph and Mary chose to follow dreams and God’s voice instead of what could be called ‘common sense’. We as members of the Christian family can claim that thread of strength as part of our life’s tapestry. It can be woven into our own family story and thus strengthen our own family’s foundation. Thank you, Mary. Thank you, Joseph. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, God!
SING: JOY TO THE WORLD (Isaac Watts)
Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; let every heart prepare him room, and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and heav’n and nature sing.
Adapted from the Gospel of Matthew and Luke
by Sara Fontana Christmas, 2010