Carol Service
St. Augustine's

November 29, 2009

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.



Narrator We welcome you all here in the name of Jesus Whose Birthday we are remembering today. Our theme for today is

“Love came down at Christmas”.

May we leave this place knowing more about the wonderful love of God and His Son Jesus.

Please stand to sing

O come all ye faithful

During this hymn :
  • Mary and Joseph get ready at back;
  • Angel Gabriel gets ready by organ;
  • Poetry reader and Pray-er ready at 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 heav’n above :
  Glory to God in the highest:


Narrator Please sit.
Poetry reader The poem

Love came down at Christmas

written by Christina Rosetti.

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, Love divine;
worship we our Jesus -
but wherewith for sacred sign ?

Love shall be our token,
love be yours and love be mine,
love to God and all men,
love for plea and gift and sign.

Poetry reader returns to seat.

The Angel Gabriel appears to Mary

adapted from Luke chapter 1 verses 26-38, page 1123 of the Church Bibles.
Mary comes up centre aisle and sits on the chair in front of the altar.
Narrator One day the Angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph of the House of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
Angel Gabriel ‘flies’ across to Mary. Mary stands up looking surprised and frightened.
Angel Gabriel Greetings, favoured one ! The Lord is with you.
Mary looks surprised.
Narrator But she was much perplexed and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Angel Gabriel Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now you will conceive and bear a Son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David. He will reign over the House of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
Mary How can this be, since I am a virgin ?
Angel Gabriel The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; He will be called the Son of God. For nothing is impossible with God.
Mary Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.
Narrator Then the angel departed from her.
Angel Gabriel ‘flies’ back to beside organ.


And so Mary agreed to God’s invitation to be His servant.
Pray-er God’s love invites us to be His servant.
ALL Our love for God enables us to be obedient servants.
Mary returns to back down centre aisle.



Joseph’s dream

adapted from Matthew Chapter 1 verses 18-25, page 1048 of the Church Bibles.

Joseph walks down the centre aisle and goes onto the first step. He paces to and fro on this step, obviously worried.
Narrator Joseph hearing that Mary was expecting a baby and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
Joseph ( facing the congregation ) I’m so worried. How could Mary do this terrible thing ? I love her, I’ve always thought how blessed I was to find such a strong, healthy, beautiful girl for my wife.

How could she do this to me ? I trusted her ! There is nothing for it but to dismiss her quietly. I don’t want her to be exposed to public disgrace. What if the authorities got onto it ?

It is the most terrible situation; I am worn out with worrying about what to do.

Joseph drops into the chair and falls asleep.

The Angel Gabriel comes ( not 'flies' ) and stands near him, facing the congregation.

Angel Gabriel Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
Angel Gabriel returns to stand beside organ.

Joseph wakes up, yawns and rubs his eyes. He stands up still yawning and rubbing his eyes.

Joseph Now I know what to do. I will go and get Mary and bring her to live with me as my wife - but we won’t sleep together until after the baby is born.
( wonderingly ) Jesus ! Don’t you think that is a wonderful name ?


And so Joseph was guided by his dream and took Mary to be his wife.
Pray-er God’s love guides us as we make choices.
ALL Our love for God helps us to make the best choices.
Joseph strides happily down the centre aisle.
Narrator Please stand to sing the hymn

A great and mighty wonder.

During this hymn :
  • stagehand removes chair from in front of altar;
  • Mary and Joseph are ready at the back
  • Innkeeper ready next to organ;
  • Person 1 in fifth pew Hospital side by centre aisle;
  • Person 2 in front pew organ side by centre aisle.

1.   A great and mighty wonder,
  a full and holy cure !
  The Virgin bears the Infant
  with virgin-honour pure.

Chorus :
  Repeat the hymn again !
  “To God on high be glory,
  and peace on earth shall reign.

2.   The Word becomes incarnate,
  and yet remains on high;
  and cherubim sing anthems
  to shepherds, from the sky :


3.   While thus they sing your Monarch,
  those bright angelic bands,
  rejoice, ye vales and mountains;
  ye oceans, clap your hands :


4.   Since all He comes to ransom,
  by all be He adored -
  the Infant born in Bethl’em,
  the Saviour and the Lord :


Narrator Please sit.

The journey to Bethlehem

adapted from Luke Chapter 2 verses 1-5; page 1125 of the Church Bibles.
Joseph from the back Come, Mary dear. ’Tis not far now. The journey has been long for you, but we’ll be there soon.
Mary I’m tired, Joseph, but I’ve been thinking. How strange it is that we have to come to Bethlehem for this census. What a weird thing to do !
Joseph Yes. But it says in the Scriptures that the Messiah is to come out of Bethlehem, so God had to get us here somehow.
Mary Why, so it does ! How exciting. Where do you think we should stay ?
Joseph The town will be packed out. We’ll just have to take our chance. God will look after us.
Mary and Joseph walk up centre aisle and stop at 5th pew Hospital side.
Joseph to Person 1 Can we stay at your place, please ?
Person 1 standing up Sorry, no room. We’ve been full for ages.
Joseph and Mary carry on to front pew organ side.
Joseph to Person 2 Please can we stay here ? We’re so tired !
Person 2 standing up No room here ! We’ve been turning people away for days.
Joseph and Mary walk tiredly along between front pew and altar rail stop by rail.
Narrator But everywhere they went - relatives, friends, inns - all were full - packed out - as people had come from all over the country.
It was getting late and they were getting concerned.
Joseph Lord God, You have brought us here for Your purposes. You must have somewhere in mind for us to stay. Please lead us to that place.
Mary ( pointing to the organ ) There’s a place over there ! Let’s try there.
Joseph Yes, let’s.
Mary and Joseph walk past end of altar rail and up two steps and look around.
Joseph Hello ! Hello ! Anybody here ?
Innkeeper comes hurrying in.
Innkeeper Yes. Yes. Oh !
Look, I’m sorry. We’re very full and you’re very late.
( looking more carefully at Mary and Joseph )
Oh ! Look at you. You’re very tired.
Have you travelled far ?
Joseph No. But we’ve tried a number of places. Do you know of anywhere we could go ?
Innkeeper hesitantly Well --- but, no.
I wonder ---- no. He’ll be full.

( looks more closely at Mary )

Maybe ----. Oh, my dear. What can I do ? It’s the census, you know.
Perhaps ------ Say - would you accept my stable ? It’s not much, but at least you’d be safe for the night.

Mary Yes ! Thank you ! Anywhere will do.
Joseph Yes ! That will be all right. Thank you so much.
Innkeeper leads Mary and Joseph across to the stable and settles them on the chairs.
When Mary and Joseph are settled in the stable innkeeper returns to beside organ saying -
Innkeeper Poor things, I hope they’ll be all right. I’m so glad I thought of the stable !


And so the compassion of the innkeeper provided Mary and Joseph with a place to stay.
Pray-er God’s love is shown in His compassion towards us.
ALL Our love for God encourages us to be compassionate to one another.

The birth of Jesus

adapted from Luke chapter 2 verses 6-8, page 1125 of the Church Bibles.
Joseph How’s it going, Mary ? Are you coping OK ? We’ve been here a few days now.
Mary Yes, thank you, Joseph. At least the census is out of the way. We’ve fulfilled our obligations there.
And it’s very warm and comfortable in this stable.
Joseph Do I need to arrange for a midwife yet ? Should she know the baby’s due soon ?
Mary I’ve done that already. The innkeeper’s wife helped me. She’s ever so kind.
Joseph ( looking around doubtfully ) Will you have Him here ?
Mary I’ll have to. But it will be all right. God will look after us. This is His Son, remember.
Joseph It will be better when the crowds have gone and we can move into a house.
Narrator And when her time came Mary’s Son was born - in the stable - and she laid Him in a manger.
Mary picks up the Baby, shows Him to Joseph and the congregation then lays Him in the manger.
Mary Isn’t He beautiful, Joseph ! What a precious gift.
Joseph Thanks be to God !


And so God’s precious Son, Jesus, was born in a manger.
Pray-er God’s love for us is shown in the birth of His Son Jesus.
ALL Our love for God is shown as we form a loving relationship with Jesus.
Narrator Please stand to sing the hymn

Little Jesus, sleep away, in the hay

During this hymn, Stagehand places camp fire in front of altar, middle step and switches it on.
During last verse shepherds come and sit round camp fire.
Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.
Narrator Please sit.

The Shepherds and the Angels

adapted from Luke Chapter 2 verses 8-15.

Shepherd 1 I feel as though I’ve been out here in these fields forever !
Shepherd 2 I know what you mean - I’m sure my family has forgotten all about me !
Shepherd 1 Yeah, like out of sight, out of mind !
Shepherd 3 It seems like it’s only the sheep that love us - and even they wander off every so often !
Angel Gabriel comes and stands on bottom step.
Shepherd 1 ( Fearfully ) Hey ! What’s that !
Shepherd 2 ( Fearfully ) I don’t know but it looks scary !
Shepherd 3 ( Fearfully ) Yeah !
Angel Gabriel Don’t be afraid ! God has sent me to tell you something wonderful is happening tonight ! God loves you - and tonight down there in Bethlehem ( points to stable ) the Messiah has been born - a Saviour sent from God to bring peace and love to all and show God’s love for you.
Shepherd 1 Wow ! God loves us ?
Shepherd 2 He must love us heaps to give us this wonderful news !
Shepherd 3 ( pointing to the back ) Look ! Look !
Angels come “flying” down centre aisle and surround the shepherds.
Shepherds More angels ! How wonderful !
ALL Glory to God in the highest and peace to all the earth !
Angel Gabriel and the other angels “fly” around altar rail - first to the organ side, round the rail and across the front of the church to the Hospital side, then back round the rail to stand between lectern and stable near front wall.
Shepherd 1 Quick, let’s go down and see what is happening !
Shepherds 2&3 Yes, hurry !
Shepherds rush off to back down organ side and wait at back by centre aisle;
Stagehand turns off campfire.


And so the angels announce the wonderful birth of our Saviour.
Pray-er God’s love is shown in the angels’ glorious announcement of Jesus’ birth.
ALL Our love for God is shown in our response to this announcement.

The shepherds visit the stable

Luke Chapter 2 verses 16-20; page 1126 of the Church Bibles.

The Shepherds come hurrying up the centre aisle carrying a lamb, go slowly and hesitantly towards the altar, and stand in front of the altar.
Joseph ( seeing shepherds ) Please come in - come and see Mary and the Child.
Shepherds go hesitantly nearer the stable. Mary holds up the ‘baby’.
Shepherd 1 Isn’t He beautiful !
Shepherd 3 Yes, He has a radiant glow about Him.
Shepherd 2 Almost like God’s love is shining from His eyes.
Shepherds kneel down and worship baby and give lamb. ( Count to 10 ).
Shepherd 3 Let’s hurry and tell everyone in the village !
Shepherd 1 Yes, let’s ! - this is good news indeed !
Shepherds come to centre of front pew organ side; Person 2 stands up.
Shepherd 2 to Person 2 The angels came and told us that Jesus has been born.
Shepherd 1 to Person 2 And we’ve been to see Jesus, the Messiah.
Shepherd 3 ( pointing to the stable ) He’s over there in that stable.
Shepherds We must go and tell someone else !
Person 2 Jesus ! The Messiah born here in Bethlehem ! I can't believe it !
Shepherds hurry down centre aisle to Person 1 in fifth pew Hospital side;
Person 1 stands up.
Shepherd 1 to Person 1 Have you heard ? Jesus has been born !
Person 1 Jesus the Messiah born here ?
Shepherd 2 to Person 1 Yes - the angels came to tell us.
Shepherd 3 to Person 1 He’s here in the innkeeper’s stable.
Person 1 I’ve been longing for this news ! The Messiah born at last !
Shepherds continue to back, turn and face congregation, and say :
Shepherds loudly We’ve seen Jesus ! Everyone listen ! We’ve seen Jesus !
ALL They’ve seen Jesus and worshipped Him. Alleluia !


And so the shepherds see the Baby and worship Him and go and tell the villagers about Jesus.
Pray-er God’s love is shown in His invitation to proclaim the Good News.
ALL Our love for God is shown as we go tell everyone about Jesus.
Narrator Please stand for the next Hymn

Go tell it on the mountain

During the first chorus angels move to centre in front of altar. During last verse angels fly to back down centre aisle.
Wiseman 1 at front organ side near flowers;
Wiseman 2 and Wiseman 3 at back.

Stagehand moves campfire to the side;
stagehand turns ‘stable’ into ‘house’ by moving manger to side and placing ‘plant pot’ table with ornament in its place.
Mary takes swaddling clothes off Jesus, Jesus now in toddler costume.

Chorus :
  Go, tell it on the mountain,
  over the hills and ev’rywhere.
  Go, tell it on the mountain
  That Jesus Christ is born.

1.   While shepherds kept their watching
  o’er silent flocks by night,
  behold ! throughout the heavens
  there shone a holy light.


2.   And lo ! When they had seen it,
  they all bowed down to pray,
  then travelled on together
  to where the Baby lay.


3.   When I was a seeker,
  I sought both night and day:
  I asked the Lord to help me
  and He showed me the way.


4.   He made me a watchman
  upon the city wall,
  and, if I am a Christian,
  I am the least of all.


Narrator Please sit.

The Wisemen visit Jesus

adapted from Matthew Chapter 2 verses 1-12, page 1048 of the church Bibles.

During this section Mary holds Jesus on her knee.

Wiseman 1 runs from organ side to centre front.

Wiseman 1I’ve found a new star ! It’s over there in the west. I must go and see if the other Wisemen have seen it !
Wiseman 1 runs down centre aisle as Wiseman 2 comes running up centre aisle. They meet in the middle of the church.
Wisemen 1&2 to each other Have you seen the new star ?
Wisemen 1&2 to each other Yes ! I saw it last night.
Wiseman 3 comes running down the centre aisle.
Wiseman 3 Have you seen the new star ?
Wisemen 1&2 together Yes, we’ve seen the new star !
The Wisemen walk to the front.
Wiseman 3 Maybe it’s the star that heralds the birth of the new King of the Jews ?
Wiseman 2 I was wondering that too.
Wiseman 1 The timing is right.
Wisemen Let’s go to Jerusalem to see this new King.
Wisemen walk to back talking happily.
Wisemen .... New star ..... New Baby ..... Gifts for a King ..... etc.
Narrator The Wisemen prepared for a long journey. They loaded their camels with provisions for a long journey and gifts for a special king.
They asked in Jerusalem :
Wisemen from back Where is the baby born to be King of the Jews ?
Narrator The chief Priests and teachers of the Law replied, “In the town of Bethlehem in Judea”.

The Wisemen went on from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.

Wisemen come up centre aisle carrying their gifts. They stop halfway up the aisle.
Wiseman 2 Look - there is the star ! ( pointing to the "cross and star" on the curtain behind the altar )
Wiseman 3 We’ll soon be there.
Wiseman 1 How will we know which house to stop at ?
Wisemen 2&3 Don’t know. Surely something will happen to show us.
Narrator The star went ahead of them until it stopped over the house where the Child was.
Wisemen move up to altar rail.
Wiseman 1 Look ! The star is resting over that house there. ( pointing )
Wiseman 2 So it is !
Wiseman 3 Jesus must be there !
Narrator The Wisemen went into the house where Jesus was.
Wisemen go up to the house.
Narrator They knelt down in front of the Child and worshipped Him.
Wise men kneel down in front of Jesus ( count 5 slowly ).
Narrator They brought out their gifts.
Wiseman 1 stands up and gives his gift of gold to Joseph.
Wiseman 1 I have brought gold for this special king. Use it as God directs.
Wiseman 1 stands to one side; Wiseman 2 stands up and gives his gift of frankincense to Joseph.
Wiseman 2 I have brought Frankincense for this beautiful child. When you burn it may it remind you of His deity.
Wiseman 2 stands to one side; Wiseman 3 stands up and gives his gift of myrrh to Joseph.
Wiseman 3 I have brought myrrh for the Saviour of the World. May the power of God sustain you all.


And so the Wisemen travelled long distances in their desire to worship Jesus.
Pray-er God’s love is shown in His desire for our worship.
ALL Our love for God is shown as we worship Him.
Mary and Joseph walk to the back, Mary carrying Jesus and Joseph carrying the gifts, followed by the Wisemen.
Once at the back actors return to their seats.


ending :



.... and so the loving sacrifice was willingly made, and the invitation "come live My way" given.
Pray-er Jesus’s love for us is shown through His death and Resurrection.
ALL Our love for God is shown in the way we live our lives.
Narrator Please stand for our collection hymn

Lord Jesus Christ, You have come to us

During this hymn the priest will prepare the communion table.
Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.


After the Lord’s Prayer :
Narrator Please stand to sing the final hymn

Joy to the World

1.   Joy to the world; the Lord is come !
  Let earth receive her King
  Let every heart prepare Him room,
  And heav’n and nature sing,
  And heav’n and nature sing,
  And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

2.   Joy to the world; the Saviour reigns !
  Let men their songs employ;
  While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
  Repeat the sounding joy,
  Repeat the sounding joy,
  Repeat Repeat the sounding joy.

3.   He rules the world with truth and grace;
  And makes the nations prove
  The glories of His righteousness
  And wonders of His love,
  And wonders of His love,
  And wonders, and wonders of His love.

Narrator Please remain standing for the blessing.


Those taking part :

Angel Gabriel; Angels ( several ); Innkeeper; Joseph; Mary; Narrator; Person 1; Person 2; Poetry reader; Pray-er; Shepherds ( at least 3 ); Wisemen ( 3 )