Friday, September 7, 2012

CHRISTMAS: What's your program?

Sometimes in smaller congregations it can be hard to come up with a Christmas program that fits your population.  In the past I've had some interesting programs because we had only early elementary and high school kids, less than 15 early elementary kids with the majority of them under 7, only about 12 kids total at varying ages, and small groups who weren't singers or instrumentalists. 

Most published programs seem to be musicals geared toward large churches with a large population of elementary kids.  They have a number of roles and a large chorus and they all have cute names like Christmas comes to Sonland Ranch or something similar.  That's cute but not exactly a retelling of the original.  My philosophy is that when it comes to the Christmas story, more creative is not necessarily better.  The big question is how can you have a meaningful program that celebrates the birth of Chirst with any age or size group? 

After many years of being frustrated, I finally had to write something myself that could easily be adjusted and was an honest retelling of the birth of Christ.  My goal was that it be authentic, bring in the prophecy, included realistic dialogue that might show the drama of the situation (I mean really, what happens when a girl has to tell her parents and finace that she's pregnant by God?), add music that I didn't have to write, and involve any number of people of any age.  WOW!!  It's a whole congregational approach!

There are a LOT of options for this retelling of the birth of Jesus: 
  • People of many ages can be included.
  • Scripture readings (blue text) and spoken dialogue (red text) can either be read in front of the church or off-stage. 
  • Young children can be dressed as angels and can sing before and/or after the service.
  • Small groups of children can recite parts of scripture.
  • Teenagers or adults can read dialogue or play parts in costume.
  • A full costume drama can be done.
  • Suggested traditional carols or contemporary music is included.
  • Choir anthems and/or special music can be added or swapped throughout.
  • There are opportunities for solos or CD music can be played.
  • Beautiful art can be included as slides.
  • Candles can be used during the final song.
(If you'd like to see what I put together to adjust to your congregational needs, please feel free to look here.  This is not a sales pitch.  It's free!  There's a poster sample too.)

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