Christmas in Community
What is Christmas in Community?
In the past, we have put together Christmas in Bethlehem, an interactive production to bring the town of Bethlehem into Fairfax to tell the story of Christmas through acting, song, and dance. This year, we will be taking a more intimate approach through what we are calling Christmas in Community. Christmas in Community is our initiative to share the true story and good news of Christmas that is God among us. We will take this into our families, our neighborhoods and apartments buildings, our workplaces, and our day to day communities. Listen below to Rev. Joe describing the program:
Telling the Story
1. Welcome - Tell what you are going to do and set the scene in a sentence or two.
Example – “In this season, we celebrate Christmas – the birth of Jesus. Tonight we are going to read the ancient scriptures that tell the story of that night. The setting is a small Hebrew town during the Roman occupation over 2000 years ago. The people are oppressed, abused, heavily taxed and most of them are very poor. Their only hope is the ancient promise that a Messiah will be born in this very town. He will be the Savior who will free them from their oppressors. They have been waiting for his coming for generations.”
2. Read the Story - “Now, this is the story”. Read Luke 2:1,3-20.
- Read a version that is appropriate to the age and education level of your guests and uses contemporary language.
- Use emotion and action!!! It is an exciting story. Let your voice express the fear and awe of the shepherds seeing angels and then their excitement as they go to see the baby.
3. Ask for volunteer to retell the story - even if they can’t recall all details, that’s okay. Affirm their efforts.
4. Through questions, review the story. Use these suggested questions or make up your own.
- Why did Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem?
- When Jesus was born where did Mary lay him?
- What did the shepherds see and hear that night?
- What did the shepherds do after the angels were gone?
5. Bringing out the Spiritual Treasures through observations of things of note in the story. Ask these (or similar) questions.
- Bible scholars tell us that Mary was a teenaged girl. She had to travel many days by foot or on a donkey to arrive in this unfamiliar town of Bethlehem. There she gave birth to her first child in a space that was far from ideal for a new baby. How do you think Mary may have felt?
- The shepherds were rough, uneducated men who were considered as low class in society. They were out tending their sheep on that dark night when an army of angels appeared in the sky. What kind of reactions might they have had?
- The shepherds went immediately into the town to find the newborn baby. What do you think they might have said to the townspeople that they encountered? What kinds of reactions do you think they got from those townspeople?
6. Application - Start from the beginning of the story. Pick out 1-2 important observations that came out and lead a short discussion of these observations. Here are some suggested questions for application:
- Are there any similarities between the world that the people of Bethlehem were living in and our society today? Who are people looking to today to save them from the ways that they are oppressed? Have you ever been saved from an oppressive situation?
- Have you ever been in a situation where you were far away from home and in a difficult or stressful situation – like Mary was? How did you handle that?
- God sent angels to very unlikely, unremarkable people (the shepherds) to tell them the good news. Have you ever learned something profound from a surprising source?
- God intervened in the lives of these people and kept His promise of sending them a Savior – even though the promise was made hundreds of years earlier. What does that tell us about the character of God? Has God ever kept His promise to you or saved you from something?