Family Carol Service
St. Augustine's

2005 December 11

Key :

instructions for congregation
movements during service
prayers and readings
sections of the service

Other information :

There are some notes on our production of the service.

A rough plan of the church is available.

A note on copyright.


St. Augustine's Carol Service

Narrator We welcome you here in the name of Jesus, Whose birthday we celebrate each Christmas.

No collection will be taken during this service. There is a donation box at the back of the church for anyone who would like to give a donation.

Some "house-keeping" information -

  • If anyone would like the music for our hymns today, please put your hand up and Jean will bring it to you;

  • Toilets are between the church and the hall.

Our sentence for today is from Isaiah Chapter 7 verse 14 : "The Lord himself will give you a sign : a virgin will have a son and will call him 'Emmanuel'."

Emmanuel means "God is with us". "Oh, yes", we say, "that's nice." But just think what it means - the almighty God, the Creator of the universe, is here, with us, wherever we are. That's not just nice; that's mind-blowing.

In this service, we'll think about just a few of the ways in which the birth of Jesus changed things, and brought God much closer to everyone.

And the first is that EVERYONE is invited - so please stand to sing "O Come all ye faithful".

( During the last verse of this hymn Angel and Rachel go down Hospital aisle and stand behind the Christmas Tree, V Mary, V Angel go to behind lectern. )
1.   O come, all ye faithful,
  Joyful and triumphant,
  O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem !
  Come and behold Him,
  Born the King of angels :

Chorus :
  O come, let us adore Him;
  O come, let us adore Him;
  O come, let us adore Him,
  Christ the Lord !

2.   God of God,
  Light of light;
  Lo ! He abhors not the virgin's womb.
  Very God,
  Begotten not created :


3.   Sing, choirs of angels,
  Sing in exultation,
  Sing all ye citizens of heaven above,
  Glory to God
  In the highest !


Narrator Please sit and remain sitting for the Christmas story.

We've used gold this year to represent the glory of God which came from Heaven to earth in an new way - through the birth of a baby.

The angelic host which the shepherds saw sang of the glory of God - a glory which brought peace to earth and goodwill to mankind.

The star which the Wise Men followed revealed God's glory by its very character, announcing to these astrologers that a great king had been born, and guiding them to the house where the young King was living.

Our star has been deliberately shaped in the form of a cross to demonstrate another way in which God's glory came to earth. For, while the beginning of Jesus' earthly life was peacefully under a star, the end was violently on a cross.


The Angel appears to Mary.

Luke Chapter 1 verses 26-38; Page 1123 of the church Bibles.

( Mary comes down centre aisle and sits on chair in front of altar. )
Narrator God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee. He had a message for Mary, a virgin promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, from the family of King David.

The angel came to her and said,

( Angel comes across to Mary )
V Angel Peace be with you ! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you !
Narrator Mary was confused by the angel's message, and she wondered what he meant.

The angel said to Mary,

V Angel Don't be afraid, Mary; God is pleased with you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord will make Him a King, as His ancestor David was, and His kingdom will never end !
Narrator Mary said to the angel,
V Mary How can this happen, for I am a virgin ?
Narrator The angel answered,
V Angel The Holy Spirit will come to you, and God's power will rest upon you. For this reason the Holy Child will be called the Son of God. For there is nothing that God cannot do.
V Mary I am the Lord's servant; may it happen to me as you have said.
Narrator And the angel left her.
( Angel goes behind the Christmas Tree. Joseph comes down centre aisle. )
Narrator Mary told Joseph everything that had happened and went back to her home.
( Mary speaks to Joseph and leaves down centre aisle. Joseph walks up and down behind altar rail. When Mary is half-way down the aisle : )

God speaks to Joseph through a dream.

The story is written in Matthew Chapter 1 verses 19-24; Page 1048 of the Church Bibles.

Joseph was a good man and didn't want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding.

( Joseph sits down on chair and goes to sleep. )
Narrator While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream.
( Angel comes to Joseph. )
Narrator The angel said,
V Angel Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. Then after her baby is born, name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.
( Angel goes behind the Christmas Tree. )
Narrator So the Lord's promise came true, just as the prophet had said : "A virgin will have a baby boy, and He will be called Emmanuel", which means God is with us.

After Joseph woke up, he remembered God's message, so he and Mary were married, but they didn't sleep together before the baby was born.

( Joseph wakes up and goes to back down centre aisle. )

The long expected Jesus is now on His way;

God is doing a new thing.
Narrator Please stand for the hymn "Emmanuel".
This is a new Carol and some of our actors will now come to the front to help us ALL sing it. Choir goes forward. )
( During this hymn V Angel and V Mary return to their seats. Stage hand moves manger and chair to in front of altar.
Innkeeper comes down organ side.
Maid comes down organ side. )
Chorus :
  Emmanuel ( Emmanuel ),
  God with us ( God with us )
  Wonderful ( Wonderful )
  Counsellor ( Counsellor )
  Prince of Peace -
  a Saviour is born to redeem the world,
  and His name is Jesus.
  King of kings ( King of kings ),
  Lord of lords ( Lord of lords ) is He.

1.   God Himself will give a sign,
  A virgin shall bear a Son
  Who shall be called Emmanuel.


2.   People who now walk in darkness
  Soon will see the light of Jesus,
  He is the Light of the world.


3.   Hear a voice cry in the desert,
  Clear a way for the Messiah,
  Make straight a highway for God.


4.   Bringing good news, healing heartaches,
  preaching freedom, releasing captives,
  giving a mantle of praise.


( Choir return to where they were. )

Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem.

Luke Chapter 2 verses 1-7; Page 1125 of the Church Bibles.

At that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. This meant that everyone had to return to their own towns to register.

( Mary and Joseph come down centre aisle to the front. )
Narrator So Joseph and Mary went from Nazareth to Bethlehem in Judaea, the birthplace of King David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David.
( Joseph knocks on the 'door' ( altar rail ).
Innkeeper comes hurrying across behind altar rail to answer the door,
Rachel peeps round Christmas tree to see what is happening. )
Joseph Can we have a room ?
Innkeeper No room here.
Joseph Oh no ! Surely you could squeeze us in somewhere ?
Innkeeper No - every room is crammed full with people - mattresses everywhere - Bethlehem is so full of people coming to register.
Truly I have no room.
Joseph We're so tired and Mary is soon to give birth.
Haven't you anywhere where we could stay ?
Innkeeper Well..... there is space with the animals. But you wouldn't want to go there.
Joseph Anywhere for privacy - with the animals sounds good to me.
Mary And to me.
( Innkeeper leads Joseph and Mary round to stable by going across to Christmas Tree and then to the front where the manger and chairs are. He settles Mary and Joseph on the chairs and goes back past Christmas tree and across in front of altar rail to organ side.
Rachel and Maid meet in the middle in front of the altar rail. )
Rachel Did you see those strangers ? I wonder who they are ?
Maid They do look so tired. Oh - how nice that she has the donkey to ride.
I'm so glad they found somewhere to go.
Rachel Looks like they've come a long way - I'll go and see if I can help. I feel so sorry for them being with the animals - there are so many people in town this week.
Maid Don't be nosy ! Get on with your work.
Rachel It's all right; I'll only be a minute. I'll just take some fresh straw and some water.
I hope I'm around when she has the baby. I do so love babies. Come with me ?
Maid No, no. They'll be looking for us.
( Maid stands hesitantly by Christmas Tree. )
Mary ( to Joseph ) Did you ever hear of God's Son being born in a stable ?
I hope everything goes well.
God's Son, Emmanuel, born in a stable, I just can't take it in.
( Rachel comes hurrying to manger with straw and water which she picks up from near the Christmas Tree.
Nurse quietly brings baby to stand on Hospital side near tree )
Joseph ( to Mary ) Shh ! Here's someone coming.
( to Rachel ) Oh, thank you !
Innkeeper ( from organ side ) Rachel, where are you ?
( Rachel hurries back to Christmas tree and Rachel and Maid go across in front of altar rail. )
Rachel ( to Maid ) God's Son ? Could it be that the Promised One - the Messiah - is to be born here tonight ?
( Rachel and Maid stand at organ side. )
ALL God's Son to be born in a stable ? Surely not !
Narrator Mary gave birth to a baby Boy, wrapped Him in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.
( Mary wanders across to in front of tree and returns with baby Jesus and sits down and places baby Jesus in manger. )
Rachel Did you hear that ?
Maid No. What ?
Rachel A baby crying - I must go and look at God's Son !
( Rachel and Maid hurry across to Christmas tree. Maid stops there but Rachel goes on into stable and admires the baby then she goes back to Maid. )
Rachel ( to Maid ) The baby is so beautiful and has the most beautiful glowing face. They have wrapped the baby in strips of cloth. I must find something to give Him. Come and look, come and look.
( They both have a look then hurry back to the tree. )
 They say the baby is blessed by God and will reign over all Israel ! Goodness - how can a baby do that ? A king born in a stable ! Well I never !
( Rachel and Maid go to organ side. )

The long-expected Jesus is here, born in a stable.

God is doing something new.
Narrator Please remain sitting whilst we sing

"Away in a manger".

( During this hymn stage hand moves camp fire to gap between altar and Hospital side.
Shepherds come down centre aisle and sit around the camp fire. )
1.   Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
  The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
  The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay,
  The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

2.   The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
  But little Lord Jesus no crying He makes,
  I love You, Lord Jesus ! Look down from the sky,
  And stay by my side until morning is nigh.

3.   Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask You to stay
  Close by me forever, and love me I pray.
  Bless all the dear children in Your tender care,
  And fit us for heaven to live with You There.


The Shepherds and the Angels.

This part of the story comes from Luke Chapter 2 verses 8-20; Page 1125 of the Church Bibles.

( Speaks informally to congregation ) Now, we have a little problem. The story tells us about "a great company of the heavenly host", and we haven't really got enough actors to do that realistically - so we're going to ask you ALL to be angels for a little while. I'm sure you can manage it. Just join in in the right places.

( Back to normal mode. ) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

( Angel of the Lord comes from behind the Christmas Tree and stands by the shepherds. )
Narrator An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
( Shepherds act terrified. )
ALL Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy.
Today in Bethlehem, a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you : You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Narrator Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and singing,
ALL SING All glory be to God on high,
and to the earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease.

The angels proclaim God's message of peace and goodwill.

God is doing something new.

( Angel goes to back down centre aisle )
Narrator After hearing the angels' message, the shepherds said to one another,
Let's go to Bethlehem and see this baby which the angels have told us about.
Shepherds ( to one another ) Let's go.
Come on, let's go to Bethlehem.
Narrator Please remain sitting as we sing

"Angels from the realms of glory".

( During this hymn shepherds go along the Hospital aisle, round the back, down the centre aisle, across to the Christmas tree and gather round the manger. Shepherds with sheep place them in front of the manger. )
1.   Angels from the realms of glory,
  Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
  You who sang creation's story,
  Now proclaim Messiah's birth :

Chorus :
  Come and worship Christ the new-born King
  Come and worship, worship Christ the new-born King.

2.   Shepherds in the fields abiding,
  Watching o'er your flocks by night,
  God with man is now residing,
  Yonder shines the infant light :


3.   Sages, leave your contemplations;
  Brighter visions beam afar :
  Seek the great Desire of Nations;
  You have seen His natal star :


Narrator When the shepherds saw the Baby, they told Mary and Joseph what the angel had said.
Shepherd 1 The angel came and told us about this baby.
Shepherd 7 He said He would be a Saviour -
Shepherd 2 a Saviour Who brings peace to the world -
Shepherd 3 and We'd find Him in a manger -
Shepherd 4 And we came -
Shepherd 5 And here He is,
lying in the straw !
Just as the angels said.
ALL It's wonderful !
Shepherds We must go and tell everyone !
( Shepherds except Jacob hurry out past Christmas Tree and down centre aisle to the back. Jacob stays at centre front )
ALL turn to neighbours and say : A Saviour has been born - Christ the Lord !
( Rachel comes hurrying to meet Jacob )
Rachel Hi, Jacob ! I bet you don't know what I've seen ! a beautiful baby boy.
Jacob I know - I know all about it. I've seen Him too.
Rachel How can you know ? You've been out in the fields all night.
Jacob The angels told us while we were out in the fields.
Rachel What angels ? Where did you see them ?
Jacob There were lots of them praising God.
Rachel What did they say ?
ALL Glory to God in the highest and peace to all people on earth.
Jacob It was so bright and angels everywhere
So we came to see what it was all about
And it was wonderful.
Emmanuel - God is with us here in this stable !
Rachel Wonderful. God is with us here.
ALL God is here !
Innkeeper Rachel, you're not looking at that baby again, are you ?
Rachel No - coming, I'm coming.
( Rachel hurries back to organ side;
Jacob hurries after shepherds. )

Jesus our Saviour is born, offering the peace of God to us all.

God is doing something new.
Narrator At the end of the story in St. Luke's Gospel, he tells us that "Mary remembered all these things, and thought deeply about them". Perhaps this is what she thought -


I gaze at this bundle all swaddled in bands :
This life my body brought forth.
It stirs in me memories of months gone by,
Of blessing and favour and worth.

How the angel brought word from Heaven above
That I was the chosen one :
Chosen to nurture the life that was GOD.
What fear, what joy was my own.

Then Joseph, with love so strong and supportive,
Married me right there and then.
And to save me from shame and embarrassing moment
God moved us to Bethlehem.

But, what is that stirring and fuss at the door ?
Who's there at the crack of dawn ?
Shepherds ! You what ? You saw angels above
Sing of the babe that was born !

They filled up the heavens with shining apparel
Giving glory and honour to God ?
How could one so reliant and small
Become the Saviour of all !

( Joseph, Mary and baby prepare to leave. )
 Thank you innkeeper for your kindness that night,
I was so weary you see,
That even a bed of hay with an ass
Was rest so needed for me.

( Joseph, Mary and baby go to back down side aisle, swap baby for toddler and return to front down Hospital aisle and sit on the chairs in front of altar.

Stage hand moves manger to Hospital side and camp fire back to side )

 But now we must leave you for another abode
Until we are ready to roam.
When the babe's a bit older 'twill be easier to go
And return to our family home.

Ah, for some peace ! I like your home town,
Joseph my dear. Do you know ?
Look at the child; it's nearly two years.
My, how quickly He's grown.

How lovely it is. Come outside for a while,
It's so fresh and clear tonight.
The heavens are glowing; there's beauty around;
Just look at that star so bright.

poem next

Narrator The next part of the story is the visit of the three Wise Men - or the three Kings - or the Magi - or the Sages, in the carol we just sang. Their observations and journey took quite a while, so - as you see - Jesus has grown quite a bit. Please sing again the third verse of "Angels from the realms of Glory".
( During this verse Stage hand places chair on Hospital side for Herod to sit on. Herod comes to front Hospital side and sits on the chair.
During Chorus Kings come down centre aisle to meet Herod. )
  Sages, leave your contemplations;
  Brighter visions beam afar :
  Seek the great Desire of Nations;
  You have seen His natal star :

  Come and worship Christ the new-born King
  Come and worship, worship Christ the new-born King.


Visitors from the East;

the story is in Matthew Chapter 2 verses 1-12, Page 1048 of the Church Bibles.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judaea, during the time of King Herod, Kings from the east came to Jerusalem.

King 1 Where is the One who has been born king of the Jews ?
King 2 We saw His star in the east and we've come to worship Him.
Herod Where is the Christ child to be born ?
King 3 In Bethlehem in Judaea, for this is what the prophet has written :
King 1 A child will be born in Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.
Herod Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find Him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him.
Narrator After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
( Kings leave Herod and come down Hospital aisle to back, down the centre aisle to the front and wait at altar rail until 'gifts of gold' is said by narrator.
Herod hides behind the Christmas Tree. Organist plays quietly until the first King reaches the centre front. )
Reader Who then are these who come calling at noon ?
They seem to be coming in here.
Their camels are regal : their garments so rich :
Do You think they want us, Jesus dear ?

Wise men from the East bearing gifts from afar;
With reverence they bow, that is clear.
Gold speaks of Kings, and Incense of Priests :
But Myrrh brings us suffering, I fear.

poem next

Narrator On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped Him. They presented Him with gifts of gold, ( King 1 presents his gift and stands to one side ) frankincense ( King 2 presents his gift and stands to one side ) and myrrh ( King 3 presents his gift and stands to one side ).

But having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

People came from near and far to worship Jesus the King of the Jews

God is doing something new.
Narrator Please stand for the hymn "We three Kings of Orient are".
( In the first chorus the Kings go back down the Hospital aisle.
During the last chorus Mary, Joseph and Jesus go to the back down the centre aisle. )
1.   We three Kings of Orient are,
  Bearing gifts we travel afar;
  Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
  Following yonder star :

Chorus :
  O - star of wonder, star of night,
  Star with royal beauty bright,
  Westward leading, still proceeding,
  Guide us to your perfect light.

2.   Glorious King, behold Him arise,
  King, and God, and sacrifice;
  Heaven sings "Alleluya"; "Alle-
  luya" the earth replies.


( Rachel and Maid meet in the middle. )
Rachel Did you see the camels ?
Maid No. What camels ?
Rachel The camels that were outside Joseph's house.
Maid What would Joseph have to do with people on camels ?
Rachel They were kings and they brought some gifts for Jesus.
Maid How do you know ?
Rachel Well, I saw them when I went on that errand.
Maid Is that why you took so long ?
Rachel Yes - I stayed to watch. You don't see royal processions every day !
Maid What happened ?
Rachel Well, they went in and knelt beside the child.
Maid The kings did that ? He must be someone special !
Rachel There was some talk about Him being a King too.
Maid A King ?
Rachel Yes, a King - well, as He's God's Son and the innkeeper says He's Emmanuel - God is with us - and a Saviour, I suppose it's not that surprising that He's called a King too.
Maid No, I suppose not.
Rachel I'm sure of it.
Isn't it wonderful that we've seen Him and He was born at our Inn ?
I'm going to watch out for anything else that happens.
Maid Oh - haven't you heard ? They've gone !
Reader You've had a bad dream ? You want us to leave ?
It's time we went home to dwell.
To Egypt, you say ! God will be with us.
Come now, Emmanuel.

poem start

Maid They left last night. Just got up and went in the middle of the night.
Rachel Oh no ! I so wanted to find out more about them. Didn't you ?
Narrator And we can find out more. The Baby Jesus had to leave Bethlehem to escape from Herod and be prepared to begin His earthly ministry. But we are here now because the risen Christ is alive today, and is with us for ever.

Jesus Christ is alive today;

God is doing something new.
( Rachel and Maid go to back. )
Preacher The message.
Narrator Please sit or kneel for the prayers.
Prayer Thank you, Lord God, that, through the birth and life of Jesus You came to offer to all of us a new way of life.
Help each one of us to choose to follow this new way and to build new relationships with you. Amen.
Prayer 2 We pray that through this Christmas season we will draw closer to each other and to Jesus. Amen.
Prayer 3 We pray that Your love, comfort and peace will be with all who are in trouble or distress. Show us how to help those in need now and throughout the coming year. Amen.
Narrator Together we sing The Lord's Prayer.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come,
Your will be done, on earth, as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are Yours, now and for ever. Amen.

We are about to sing our final hymn, "Te Harinui", which tells us how the Good News of Jesus came to New Zealand. Do you remember when you were all angels, and you told us that "I bring you good news of great joy" ? 'Te Harinui' means "Great Joy". Please don't sing "Te Haranui" as that means "Great sadness".

Please stand.

Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.
Narrator Please remain standing for the Blessing.


We invite you to join us for a cuppa in the Hall ( behind the church ) at the end of this service.

Those taking part :

Angel, Herod, Innkeeper, Joseph, King 1, King 2, King 3, Maid, Mary, Narrator, Prayer, Prayer 2, Prayer 3, Preacher, Rachel, Reader, Shepherd 1, Shepherd 2, Shepherd 3, Shepherd 4, Shepherd 5, Shepherd 6 ( Jacob ), Shepherd 7, V Angel, V Mary