Help your congregation to explore the Nativity Stories and why we Celebrate Christmas
On Sunday 22 December 2013, I prepared and led a worship service for my 10am Congregation at Wesley Methodist Church, Taranaki Street, Wellington.
A congregation member said that she would like to be able to share a recording of the service with her church back in her country, so here it is.
I have re-recorded the service by reading my leader’s version of the Order for Service, which includes my sermon, the readings and discussion questions.
- The mp3 link will take you to a page where you can either listen to the recording or download and save the file to your computer to listen to later.
- Clicking the PDF link for the Order of Service will immediately download the file to your computer.
I felt that this service was particularly effective in stimulating the congregation to think again about the nativity story. I set the scene by explaining that stories about Jesus conception, birth and childhood only appear in the Bible in Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels, and pointing out that these gospels actually tell two different nativity stories.
In the middle of the service, the congregation formed four groups to discuss these questions:
- Group 1: What if Mary said “No” to the angel? Think about how this would affect our
relationship with God and God’s relationship with us.
- Group 2: Matthew and Luke provide nativity stories. Paul, Mark and John don’t. What
do you think about this?
- Group 3: Matthew has wise men. Luke has shepherds. Does this tell us anything about
the two writers and the audiences they were writing for?
- Group 4: What is your favourite part of the nativity stories. Are there any parts you don’t
They spent 10 minutes sharing within their groups and the groups then reported back their responses to the whole congregation.
Worship leaders are welcome to use or adapt any of my ideas in the Order of Service and the recording can be freely shared.
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Cheers, Philip Garside