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Jesus’ birthday party - Christmas Resources ::

GRANT HENDRY share ideas for a Christmas service …
Source: Perspective Vo11 No1-4 © Perspective 2004

Article in PDF format:

General comments …

This is full details of a service that lasts 35 – 40 minutes, which intentionally has little extraneous guff! The suggestion that follows actually gives suggested songs.

A suggested theme to flow through the service…

The birthday of Jesus (as opposed to the birth of Jesus)
The importance of clearly celebrating the fact that JESUS IS SAVIOUR & LORD (not just a helpless baby in a manger!)


Have a large ‘J’ shaped birthday cake in the centre of a table (with a bright table cloth etc)… all placed in the centre of the church (with chairs set in a formation so that the table is an unusual focus, and indeed, the whole auditorium is set up in an informal and somewhat unusual way.

Around this cake, there would be 5 wrapped presents (Christmas paper, with each present also numbered, and clearly identified as ‘male’ or ‘female’). The cake would need to be raised on something, to stand out from the presents. Each wrapped up present would contain a ‘cue card’ and an item or two of clothing. The ‘cue card’ would be the words of a particular character speaking in honour of Jesus, on the occasion of his birthday! The clothing would be symbolic of the character (eg a shepherds cloak and head piece)… to be quickly put on!

Suggestions for the cue cards:
Print in large text, onto thick A5 card [a sample text is included in what follows].

Service details …

Welcome to the celebration of the BIRTHDAY of Jesus!
Opening prayer etc

Sing:Joy to the world’ (verses 1-3)

Today I would like to ask you a QUESTION!

‘Why do we celebrate the birthday of Jesus SO DIFFERENTLY to any other birthday?’

When we celebrate a birthday

Even if the birthday that we are celebrating if for someone that is no longer alive

So at Christmas… the birthday of Jesus, why do we focus so heavily on Jesus as a baby?

Lets LEARN about and CELEBRATE the LIFE of Jesus today, through the testimony of those who played a big part in the account!

(Note: Each time a volunteer is needed, get someone of the right gender who is capable of ‘pulling off’ the task! My suggestion is that 5 people are ‘primed’ before hand… even given the text to become familiar with, and to experiment with an accent or way of reading that would be in character. But then, on the day… to call for volunteers, aiming to pick the ones that have been primed! The reason for this is that the task will be much easier for someone who has thought about it for a while, but on the other hand, it would probably be best to have the degree of informality that goes with simply calling for volunteers! This way those involved don’t need to feel bad about the need to read the full text, or nervous about making mistakes, poor accents etc!)

1. Mary (based on Luke 1:28-33)

Voice: Sweet & innocent!
Props: Ladies head gear & gown?

Hi! My name is Mary. I was thinking about all the things to get ready for my marriage to a great bloke called Joseph… when an angel scared the living day lights out of me! The angel said to me as clear as a bell…

“Don’t be frightened, Mary… for God has decided to bless you! You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will SAVE his people. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

I said, WOW… will all that happen NINE months after I get married? The angel NO MARY! “The Holy Spirit will come upon you RIGHT NOW, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. God will be your baby’s father, not Joseph! And your baby will be holy, and will be called the Son of God!

I said (with trembling)… “I am the Lord’s servant, and I’m willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.” And then the angel left. And ALL that I could think of was this… that I… Miss Mary NOBODY was going to have a wiggly little baby who was the Son of God, KING & SAVIOUR of the world. Then I fainted.

Song:I can not tell why he whom angels worship’ (verse 1 & 4)

2. Angel Gabriel (based on Luke 1:26-37)

Voice: ‘sweet’, slow & in control!
Props: Halo & white sheet to drape over shoulders

My name is Gabriel. I’m the one that spoke to Mary. Given the unimaginably great news that I told her… she did a remarkable job of remembering all the important bits! I mean… she was hardly expecting an angel to speak to her, let alone tell her what I told her! I happen to know that as amazed as she was, she didn’t fully understand HOW significant her baby is going to be! Because her son Jesus IS going to be THE ONE AND ONLY way of having a relationship with God!

She also didn’t know that Jesus’ LIFE was going to be far from easy and far from long… that he would be murdered in his early 30’s. But she didn’t need to know that, for NOTHING could ever stop Jesus, the Son of God from doing what He set out to do… SAVE people from their sins! And the means of doing that was for Jesus the man, to die a death that he didn’t deserve.

There was a lot that Mary didn’t realise! But I made sure that she knew all that she needed to… that she was going to give birth to the SAVIOUR of the world!

Song:Angels from the Realms of Glory’ (verses 1 & 4)

3. Joseph (based on Matthew 1:18-19)

Voice: Working class, sincere!
Props: A wooden mallet (to wave in air!) + sack like cape

Hi. My name’s Joe. I was busy running a fairly ordinary carpentry business… looking forward to marrying my fiancé Mary, when suddenly the wheels fell off my life. I discovered that Mary was pregnant… and I certainly had NOTHING to do with it! She told me about a special message from an angel… that just made me feel worse. I was so confused, hurt and betrayed… and now it looked like my beautiful wife-to-be was not only immoral, but loopy. But my love for Mary stopped me from wanting to make a spectacle of her. I obviously needed to break the engagement… I was thinking about how I could do it quietly when something VERY EXTRAORDINARY happened.

When I was asleep, an angel of the Lord appeared to me in a dream, saying. “Joseph, son of David… don’t be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

I woke up with a start, knowing without a shadow of doubt, that Mary had told me the truth… that she really was still a virgin, and that her baby was going to be the most remarkable and most significant person to ever be born. I fainted.

When I told Mary about all this… she cried and laughed at the same time. And when she could finally speak, she told me that when the angel had left her, she had fainted too!

Song:To God Be the Glory’ (verse 1 & 3)

*Well… Mary conceived and in due time, Jesus was born!

4. Shepherd (based on Luke 2:8-16)

Voice: Rough, working class
Props: Shepherds head covering and a crook

Listen here! I’m Zac the shepherd. I’m not a chariot scientist, nor am I a story writer! But what I have to say, as strange as it sounds, is TRUE. I was with my mates late one night looking after some sheep, when the sky lit up… as bright as the noon day’s sun, with a whole host of shining, amazingly beautiful creatures. I instantly knew that they were angels, even though I had never seen one before. I thought that I must have suddenly died! I asked my friend to hit me with his crook… and I discovered that I was very much alive!

Then one of the angels said… “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Saviour—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!”

I had grown up knowing the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah’s, about the coming of the Messiah. And without a doubt, knew that this baby was none other than THE Messiah Himself. As I was taking this in, the angels started to sing the most beautiful song I have ever heard. It went like this…

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favours.”

When my heart started beating again, I said ‘Lets Go!’… and together we ran all the way to Bethlehem to see the wonderful thing that we had just been told! And sure enough… we found Mary and Joseph AND the baby, lying in the manger, exactly as the angel told us.

When we finally left, we ran around telling EVERYONE what had happened, giving GLORY and praise to God. For we had seen with our own eyes, the SAVIOUR, the LORD… the MESSIAH that we had been waiting for.

Song:The First Noel’ (verses 1, 2 & 3)

During this Carol… collect an offering for humanitarian aid? [emphasising that ALL that is collected will go for this purpose]

5. Wise Man (based on Matthew 2:8-12)

Voice: Use a deep, educated voice!
Props: A crown and classy cape

OK… you know who I am, and you probably know what happened. But I’m going to tell you again anyway. My friends and I saw a star suddenly appear in the sky. It was clearly a special act of God… so when it started moving, we did the only natural thing… grab a camel and follow.

After MONTHS on the road, sleeping by day, travelling by night… we came to village called Bethlehem. And the star stopped moving! And in a way that I had never witnessed before, it just hung there, above a little house… it was an old house, and even smaller than the tiny carpenters workshop it was next to.

I was the most excited that I had ever been in my life! My friend knocked on the door. We were met by a man called Joseph. He invited us in. And there on the mat was a young boy… sitting, quietly playing with a wooden rattle!

He was only a kid in a shed like house, but we knew that he was no ordinary kid! For we also knew without a shadow of doubt that GOD had used a star to lead us to the greatest king to ever live! We fell down before him and worshiped him, and opened our treasure chests to give him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Song:We Three Kings’ (verses 1 & 5)


In the end… all of those things miss the mark, even the last one!

Because, as we have heard today

TODAY we have focused on JESUS… not just his birth, but on WHO he was and is!
May none of us shrink back from celebrating the birth of Jesus!

As we heard earlier… it’s appropriate to marvel at the wiggly baby, born to Mary!
But may we all step back in wonder, for the story gets better and better! As this divine baby grew into a perfect man who willingly died for your sins and mine!

May we celebrate the birth of Jesus as a baby… but trust Him as saviour!

Close in prayer.

Grant Hendry is the pastor of Busselton Baptist Church, Western Australia.

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Christmas and Easter are THE big preaching opportunities for most churches – which is why they have their very own section at Perspective.

This section is a little different to the others. Here, you will find many cut ‘n’ paste, ready to go out of the box resources for those two times of the year when we find good numbers of non-church people coming to our meetings.
Again, the caveat applies: Don’t be tempted to grab a Christmas talk from here and simply read it out at your church. Rather, see these as sources of good ideas, structures and stories that you can readily adopt and integrate into your own creations.

As always, contributions are encouraged. See the Contact page for how to submit your resources.