Family Carol Service
St. Augustine's

2006 December 10

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.


Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is born.

Reader We welcome you here in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace; may He help us to be people who are full of His peace.
Narrator 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.

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

Toilets are between the church and the hall.

There are toys at the back for children to play with.

Please don't feel embarrassed if the children are a bit noisy; we welcome everyone here.

Reader Our theme for today is

"Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is born".

Our sentence for today is from Isaiah Chapter 9 verse 6 :

"A child is born to us ! A son is given to us ! And He will be our ruler, He will be called 'Wonderful Counsellor', 'Mighty God', 'Eternal Father', 'Prince of Peace'.

Narrator Please stand to sing the hymn
"Hark the Herald Angels Sing".
1.   Hark ! The herald angels sing
  Glory to the new-born King,
  Peace on earth and mercy mild,
  God and sinners reconciled.
  Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
  Join the triumph of the skies;
  With the angelic host proclaim,
  "Christ is born in Bethlehem."

Chorus :
  Hark ! the herald angels sing
  Glory to the new-born King.

2.   Christ, by highest heaven adored,
  Christ, the everlasting Lord;
  Late in time behold Him come,
  Offspring of a virgin's womb.
  Veiled in flesh the Godhead see !
  Hail, the incarnate Deity !
  Pleased as Man with man to dwell,
  Jesus, our Emmanuel.


3.   Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace !
  Hail the Sun of Righteousness !
  Light and life to all He brings,
  Risen with healing in His wings.
  Mild, He lays His glory by,
  Born that man no more may die,
  Born to raise the sons of earth,
  Born to give them second birth.


Narrator Please sit.

For our Carol Service this year we have chosen to focus our thoughts on Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Therefore we decorated our tree and the stable with doves, a symbol of peace.

We have also included in our decorations the Hebrew word "Shalom", often translated into English as "Peace" or "Peace be with you", but it means much more than that - it means wholeness, wellness, comfort, safety, tranquillity etc., and when used as a greeting it means "May all that is good and wholesome be in you."

Let us share God's peace with each other by turning and saying to one another "Shalom", "Peace be with you".

ALL (Turning to their neighbours) "Shalom", "Peace be with you".
Narrator As we act out the Christmas story this evening we have indulged in some dramatic licence; we hope this will show more fully some ways that God brings peace into our lives.
Sign holder comes to centre with sign saying "Mary's home".
Sign holder This is Mary's home.
Sign holder attaches sign to front of altar and returns to his place.

The Angel Gabriel Visits Mary.

Luke Chapter 1 verses 26-38.

Mary comes to front and sits on chair in front of altar.
Reader God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph, who was a descendant of King David.
Angel Gabriel comes from organ and stands on organ side of Mary.
Angel Gabriel (to Mary) Shalom ! Peace be with you ! You are truly blessed ! The Lord is with you.
Reader Mary was confused by the angel's words (Mary looks confused) and wondered what they meant (Mary looks puzzled).
Angel Gabriel (to Mary) Don't be afraid ! God is pleased with you (Mary looks surprised and pleased), and you will have a son, His name will be Jesus.

He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High.

The Lord God will make Him King, as His ancestor David was.

He will rule the people of Israel for ever, and His kingdom will never come to an end.

Mary How can this happen ? I'm not married !
Angel Gabriel The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God's power will come over you.

So your child will be called the Holy Son of God.

Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought that she could ever have a baby, but in three months time she will have a son.

Nothing is impossible for God.

Mary I am the Lord's servant ! Let it happen as you have said.
Reader And the angel left her.
Angel Gabriel returns to chair next to organ.
Narrator Shalom, peace be with you !

Thank You, Lord, that Mary accepted the rôle You had chosen for her.

ALL Help us to accept the rôles that You have chosen for us.
Mary comes to back down centre aisle;

Sign holder comes to centre with sign saying "Elizabeth's home".

Sign holder Now this is Elizabeth's home.
Sign holder removes "Mary's home" from front of altar and attaches "Elizabeth's home" to front of altar then returns to his place.

Mary visits Elizabeth

Luke Chapter 1 verses 39-47.

Elizabeth comes and sits on the chair in front of the altar.
Reader A short time later Mary hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea.

Mary went into Elizabeth's home.

Mary comes down centre aisle again.
Mary (to Elizabeth) Shalom ! Peace be with you !
Reader When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, her baby moved inside her.

The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth. Then in a loud voice she said to Mary :

Elizabeth God has blessed you more than any other woman !

He has also blessed the child you will have.

Why should the mother of my Lord come to me ?

As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved inside me.

The Lord has blessed you because you believed that He will keep His promise.

Mary With all my heart I praise the Lord, and I am glad because of God my Saviour.
Narrator Please stand to sing part of the hymn that Mary sang to God at this time.
During this hymn Mary and Elizabeth come to back.
My soul does magnify the Lord
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour;
For He that is mighty has done great things,
And Holy is His name.
My soul does magnify the Lord.
My soul does magnify the Lord
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour;
For He that is mighty has done great things,
And holy is His name.
Narrator Please sit.

Shalom, peace be with you !

Thank You, God, for the encouragement, confirmation and peace that You brought to Mary as she visited Elizabeth.

We pray that You would bring encouragement, confirmation and peace to all of us.

ALL Lord, help us to encourage one another and give Your peace to us all.
Sign holder comes to centre with sign saying "Joseph's home".
Sign holder Now this is Joseph's home.
Sign holder removes "Elizabeth's home" from front of altar and attaches "Joseph's home" to front of altar and returns to his seat.

Matthew tells us about Joseph's dilemma

in his Gospel, Chapter 1 verses 19-25.

Now Joseph was engaged to Mary but when he heard that she was pregnant he became very upset and worried. What should he do ?

Joseph comes to front and paces worriedly up and down behind altar rail.
Reader Joseph was a good man and didn't want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone.
Narrator But how could he possibly marry Mary now ? He kept worrying.
Joseph (still pacing up and down) Should I marry her ? Can I really believe what she says ?

Whoever heard of someone having a baby in this way ?

No, I can't possibly marry her now !

I'll say NO.

But what will Mary do ? Who will look after her and the baby ?

I can't find any peace.

I can't leave her on her own - but how can I marry her ?

What shall I do ?

Reader So he decided to call off the wedding quietly.

While Joseph was thinking about this, he fell into an exhausted sleep.

Joseph collapses onto the chair and goes to sleep.
Reader While Joseph was sleeping, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream.
Angel Gabriel comes from seat by organ and stands to organ side of Joseph.
Angel Gabriel 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 Gabriel goes to back.
Reader (as Joseph wakes up) After Joseph woke up, he and Mary were soon married, just as the Lord's angel had told him to do. (Joseph goes to the back.)

But they didn't sleep together before her baby was born.

Narrator Shalom, peace be with you !

Thank You, Lord, that You sometimes speak to us through our dreams;

Thank You, Lord, that when we are worried You are willing to help us make the best decisions and to bring us Your peace.

ALL Help us, Lord, to seek for Your solutions to our problems, and to accept those solutions, and so find peace in You.
Sign holder removes "Joseph's home" sign from front of altar and returns to his seat.

Innkeeper stands by altar side of door.

Narrator You will see over there a closed door (points to door). This is the door into an inn which is full of noisy people.

We invite you all to take the part of the noisy crowd at the inn.

At drama class in England I was taught to say "Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb....." whenever I was acting as a noisy crowd. So we invite you to do the same. That means that whenever the inn door is open, you all say "Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb....." over and over again until the door is shut.

Let's try it now.

Innkeeper opens door.
ALL Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb ....
Innkeeper closes door.
Narrator Not bad, but remember to keep on saying rhubarb while the door is open - and make sure you stop exactly when it shuts.

Let's try it again.

Innkeeper opens door.
ALL Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb ....
Innkeeper closes door.
Narrator That's much better. But there's just one problem - it sounds like a lot of people saying "Rhubarb". But I have an idea.

Suppose that this side ( points to left side ) keeps on saying "Rhubarb", but THIS side ( points to right side ) says "Custard" instead. Let's try that.

Innkeeper opens door.
ALL Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb ....
Custard, custard, custard ....
Innkeeper closes door with innkeeper on the congregation side of the door.
Narrator That's just right - now we can't tell what anyone's saying, which is exactly what we want.

Now watch for the door opening in this part of the Christmas story.


The birth of Jesus.

Luke Chapter 2 verses 1-7.

Reader About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books.

Everyone had to go to their own home town to be listed.

So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to King David's home town, Bethlehem in Judea, because Joseph was descended from David's family.

So Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem.

Joseph and Mary come down the centre aisle.
Reader Mary was soon to give birth.
As they reach the front :
Mary I'm so tired and sore, I'm sure the baby will arrive soon.

I do hope we can find a quiet room at the inn.

Joseph I'm sure when we tell them that the baby is coming they'll find somewhere quiet for us.
Mary and Joseph move in front of altar rail towards organ.
Joseph knocks on altar rail by the door;

Innkeeper opens door and comes out of the inn.

ALL Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb ....
Custard, custard, custard ....
Joseph mouths talking to the innkeeper who shakes his head and mimes "I can't hear you";

Innkeeper closes door staying on the altar side of the door.

Mary (stepping back) We can't go in there - it's too noisy.

Too many people.

Joseph (to Innkeeper ) We need a quiet room.
Innkeeper (roughly) No room here.
Joseph But we need a room for my wife, for our baby is about to be born.
Innkeeper No room, no space anywhere, all the rooms are crammed full of people.
Innkeeper shrugs his shoulders and opens the door.
ALL Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb ....
Custard, custard, custard ....
Innkeeper goes into the inn and closes the door.
Mary I can't bear to be around people tonight of all nights. What shall we do ?
Mary and Joseph move sadly away along front of altar rail.

Innkeeper opens the door and comes out of the inn.

ALL Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb ....
Custard, custard, custard ....
Innkeeper closes the door and hurries after Mary and Joseph.
Innkeeper (touching Joseph on the shoulder) I've just thought of somewhere you could stay.

It's a bit smelly, but there is no-one else there.

I could make you comfortable, if you don't mind sleeping on the hay.

Mary Quiet, solitude, peace - wonderful !
Joseph What do you mean ?
Innkeeper You can sleep in our stable with the animals, they're all bedded down for the night.

It's out of the wind and quiet and there's plenty of clean straw.

Joseph (to Mary) What do you think ?
Mary Sounds great - it's just what we need, away from staring eyes and nosey people.
Joseph Yes, we'll take it.
Innkeeper leads them to the stable in Hospital corner by going in front of altar rail towards Christmas tree then up to the stable near the altar.

Mary and Joseph settle down next to the manger.

Mary (to Innkeeper) Peace, warmth, solitude - wonderful !

Thank you, innkeeper, for finding us such a peaceful place.

Innkeeper hurries back to inn door via Christmas tree and in front of altar rail and opens door.
ALL Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb ....
Custard, custard, custard ....
Innkeeper goes into the inn and closes the door.
Reader And while they were there Mary gave birth to her first-born son,
Mary settles doll in manger.
Reader dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay.
Narrator Shalom, peace be with you !

Thank you God for the birth of Your Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

ALL Thank You God for the birth of Your Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Narrator Thank You, God, for the special times of solitude and peace You give us.
ALL Thank You, God, thank You for our special times of peace and quiet.
Narrator Please stand to sing
"Away in a manger".
During this hymn :
  • Stage hand puts camp fire in front of altar and switches it on;
  • Angels ready at back to "fly" down centre aisle;
  • During the last verse, shepherds come down centre aisle and sit around the campfire.
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 Thee, Lord Jesus ! Look down from the sky,
  And stay by my side until morning is nigh.

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

Narrator Please sit.
Sign holder comes to centre with sign saying "Sheepfold".
Sign holder Now this is a Sheepfold, somewhere near Bethlehem.
Sign holder attaches "Sheepfold" to front of altar and returns to their place.

The Shepherds hear the Good News.

Luke Chapter 2 verses 8-20.

Reader That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord's glory flashed around them.
Angel Gabriel comes down centre aisle and stands behind the shepherds by the altar.
Reader The shepherds were frightened. (Shepherds look frightened) But the angel said :
Angel Gabriel Don't be afraid, I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David's home town a Saviour was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. You will know who He is, because you will find Him dressed in baby clothes and lying in a manger.
Angels come 'flying' down centre aisle and stand all round the shepherds.
Reader Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God - singing -
Organist leads a verse from "While shepherds watched their flocks".
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.
Angels including Angel Gabriel 'fly' to stand around the stable.
Reader After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another -
Shepherd 1 Did you hear what they said ? Peace on earth !
Shepherd 2 Yes, they clearly said peace on earth - how wonderful !
Shepherd 3 We must go and look for Him.
Shepherd 4 A Saviour, a Prince of Peace !
Shepherd 5 Huggh, it's a load of rubbish; surely you don't believe it.
Shepherd 1 Yes, I believe it - the angels were so beautiful.
Shepherd 2 - And what's the point of angels coming just to tell us rubbish ?
Shepherd 5 Well, it must have been a hallucination.
Shepherd 1 If it was, it was pretty convincing - and we all heard the same thing. I'm off to Bethlehem.
Shepherd 3 Come on, let's go.
Shepherd 5 I'll stay here, someone's got to look after the sheep.

Whoever heard of God's Son being born in a stable and lying in a manger  ?

Shepherd 3 Anyone else coming ?
Shepherds 1, 2, and 4 Yes, we're coming !
Shepherds 1, 2, 3 and 4 come out between altar rails and go to Hospital side and into the stable and kneel beside the manger.
Shepherd 5 A Saviour, rubbish. They're all mad. All those angels, though. I wonder .....
Reader When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told the parents what the angels had said about him.
Shepherds mime telling Mary and Joseph about the angel's visit.
Reader Everyone listened and was surprised.

Mary kept thinking about all that had happened.

As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about Him.

Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.

Shepherds return excitedly to the sheepfold and mime telling Shepherd 5 all about it.
Shepherd 5 You mean it's all true ?
Shepherds (nodding their heads) Yes, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, has been born.
Narrator Shalom, peace be with you !

Thank You, God for the enthusiasm of Your believers; help us to be enthusiastic about You too.

ALL Help us, God, to be enthusiastic too.
Narrator Thank You, God, that Jesus, the Prince of Peace was born in such a humble place; help us to create His peace in all our homes.
ALL Help us to create Your peace in our homes.
Shepherds go to back down centre aisle, followed by the Angels.

Stage hand removes camp fire.

Narrator It is thought that Jesus was at least one year old by the time the Wise Men visited Him and that they were now living in a house in Bethlehem.

The Wise Men visit Jesus.

Matthew Chapter 2 verses 1-14.

Sign holder comes to centre with sign saying "Herod's Palace".
Sign holder Now this is Herod's Palace.
Sign holder removes "Sheepfold" from front of altar and attaches "Herod's Palace" to front of altar and returns to his place.
Reader When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king.
Herod comes and sits on chair in front of altar.
Reader During this time some Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem.
Wise Men come down centre aisle and stand round Herod.
Wise Man 1 (to Herod) Where is the Child born to be king of the Jews ?
Wise Man 2 (to Herod) We saw His star in the East.
Wise Man 3 (to Herod) We have come to worship Him, the Prince of Peace.
Reader When King Herod heard about this, he was worried, and so was everyone else in Jerusalem. Herod brought together the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses and asked them :
Herod (to the congregation) Where will the Messiah be born ?
ALL He will be born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet wrote.
Herod (to the Wise Men) Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find Him, let me know. I want to go and worship Him too.
Reader The Wise Men listened to what Herod said and then left.
Wise Men come out between altar rails and turn towards the Christmas Tree;

Herod goes to sit on chair by organ.

Reader The star that they had seen in the east went on ahead of them.
Wise Men point to star on top of Christmas tree.
Reader They were thrilled and excited to see the star.
Wise Men jump up and down then run excitedly into the stable. ( - which now represents the family's house )
Reader When they went into the house and saw the Child with Mary, His mother, they knelt down and worshipped Him. They took out their gifts of gold,
Wise Man 1 gives gift of gold to Jesus;
Reader frankincense,
Wise Man 2 gives gift of frankincense to Jesus;
Reader myrrh.
Wise Man 3 gives gift of myrrh to Jesus;

Wise Men 1, 2 and 3 move back past Christmas tree and stand in front of altar rail.

Reader Later they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod.
Wise Man 1 I've had a dream.
Wise Man 2 So have I.
Wise Man 3 Yes, the angel said we mustn't go back to Herod.
Wise Man 1 That's right, we must keep away from him.
Wise Man 2 He's a bad man; he made me feel so uncomfortable all the time we were talking to him.
Wise Man 3 God often warns us through our feelings not to trust someone.
Wise Man 2 We must take notice of these warnings.
Wise Man 1 Let's go back another way.
Wise Man 3 Yes, let's.
Wise Men go to back down centre aisle.
Reader After the Wise Men had gone, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,

"Get up ! Hurry and take the Child and His mother to Egypt ! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is looking for the Child and wants to kill Him."

Mary, Joseph and baby go to back down centre aisle.
Reader That night, Joseph got up and took his wife and the Child to Egypt, where they stayed until Herod died.
Narrator Shalom, peace be with you !

Thank You, God, that You warned the Wise Men and Joseph to keep away from Herod.

ALL Thank You, God.
Narrator Help us to recognise the times when we lack Your peace in our hearts.
ALL Help us to recognise these times and act act accordingly.
Narrator Please stand to sing the hymn
"O Prince of peace".
Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.
Narrator Please sit for the message.
Preacher Message
Narrator Please sit or kneel for the prayers.
Pray-ers come to lectern.
Pray-er 1 Peace to us all.

We thank You, God, that You offer Your peace to us all. Help us to receive that peace as Your gift to us this Christmas. Amen.

Pray-er 2 Peace to the world.

We thank You, God, that You desire people all over the world to put their trust in You and to live at peace with one another. Help us to spread Your peace throughout the world. Amen.

Pray-er 3 Peace in our homes.

We thank You, God, that You desire there to be peace in our homes. May we be people who work in all possible ways to bring this about. Amen.

Pray-er 4 Peace in our hearts.

We thank You, God, that as we each learn to put our faith and trust in You, then Your peace fills our heart. Help us to trust You more, so that Your peace reigns in our hearts more and more. Amen.

Together we sing -

ALL Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, in 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.


Narrator Please stand for our final hymn.
1.   Silent night, holy night;
  All is calm, all is bright,
  Round yon Virgin Mother and Child,
  Holy Infant so tender and mild,
  Sleep in heavenly peace;
  Sleep in heavenly peace.

2.   Silent night, holy night;
  Shepherds quake at the sight,
  Glories stream from heaven afar,
  Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia;
  Christ the Saviour is born;
  Christ the Saviour is born.

3.   Silent night, holy night;
  Son of God, love's pure light,
  Radiance beams from Thy holy face,
  With the dawn of redeeming grace,
  Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
  Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Narrator Please remain standing for the Blessing.
Vicar Blessing.
Announcements about BBQ and Grace for the BBQ.