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Because He Loves Me
Sun, Dec 18, 2016

BECAUSE HE LOVES ME

Lights low.  Only front lights on.  Action mostly takes place during scripture reading, after narrator is done and before the song.

Scripture:  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”   Congregation sings.  Children enter slowly, carrying fake candles.  Then sit around the stage area and steps.

Narrator:  (Speaks to the children mostly.) That first scripture reading was from the Old Testament.  And it promised to Israel a Savior, who would come and free them and restore their nation.  And the people waited, and waited, and waited for that day to arrive.  And just when they had all but given up hope, and angel came to a young woman with a very unexpected message.

Scripture:  God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.

(During reading, Gabriel goes to Mary, Joseph take Mary out of sanctuary.)

“Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”   Kids sing from steps,

Narrator:  Joseph and Mary were married, and not long after, they found out they had to go on a long journey, which of course wasn’t very easy since by then she was VERY pregnant.  And to make matters worse, lots of people were traveling at the same time, which made it difficult to find a place to stay.

Scripture:   And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.   And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.   And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

(Mary and Joseph return, speak to Innkeeper and move to manger.  Kids gather in front of them to sing, blocking them from view.  When they part at end of song, the baby is in the manger.)

 “Away in a Manger”   Kids sing from steps, standing to hide Mary and Joseph.  Kids scatter, shepherds and sheep to aisle.  Scripture is read.

Narrator:  That same night, and not far away, work continued like usual.  Nowadays, we don’t have to work on Christmas, but since it wasn’t really “Christmas” yet, people went on doing what they always did.  For some, that meant taking care of animals.

Scripture:  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.   And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.   And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

(Angels go and surround shepherds and sheep during scripture.  During song, they all head to the front to see the baby JOYFULLY as if heading to a party.)

“Joy to the World”   Sang joyfully as angels and shepherds and sheep gather at the manger.  Scripture is read as wise men bring gifts forward.

Narrator:  On that night long ago, while the rest of the world went on about its business, this small group of people (and animals) was the first to know that the world had changed forever.  But it would stay that way for long.  Even then, others were seeking the foretold King. 

Scripture:  Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

“Hark the Herald Angels Sing   All gathered around manger … Final scripture reading.

Narrator:  That is the story of the first Christmas.  And as soon as the shepherds heard it, they went to tell other people.  And those people told others.  And THOSE people told even more people.  And over 2000 years later, God still wants us to tell people!  Listen to our last scripture reading, and then do as the shepherds did on that night long ago.  Spread the good news!

Scripture:  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

(Children stand and help each other up, miming how excited they are and that they need to go tell people.  Gather candles, turn them on, mill around, and wait for music to start before going out singing.)

“Go Tell It on the Mountain”   Congregation sings along as kids disperse, carrying their candles, and singing to everyone!  Lights come up in the sanctuary as they go.