Meeting aim: To explore the Christmas story in our socially distant world. 


Bible passage: Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2 




The format of this service is slightly different from our usual service plans, but then Christmas services often drift from our normal pattern. This service has been written specifically to be held over video conferencing software or be filmed for YouTube. It’s less interactive than normal, to make it as flexible as possible. However, if you’re on Zoom or similar and have the facility to interact, then do put those elements in, if desired. This service could also be put on ‘live’ if you are able to have an in-person service. 

Ask different individuals or households to take on the different characters. You can have more than one relative, shepherd and wise person. Ensure that you have as diverse a group of ages and backgrounds taking part as you can. 

Make seven scrolls out of paper – you could even stain them with tea to make them look old! Give each individual or household playing a character a scroll, keeping one for yourself. Encourage them to dress up as much as they can to reflect their character. 

The carols listed are suggestions, feel free to change to other carols instead, particularly if you have ones that the children in your church enjoy singing. 




Welcome everyone and thank them for joining you. Right at the start of the service, share how you first encountered the Christmas story and the good news of Jesus. 

Explain that you are going to hear from all the different characters in the Christmas story, and see how they pass their story on to us. Hold up you scroll and then pass it out of shot. The person playing Isaiah should bring their own scroll in from the side, as if accepting it from you. 



The first presenter, dressed as Isaiah, should open the scroll and read: 

“I am the prophet Isaiah; hear the words of the Lord! The people walking in darkness have seen a great light! A child is born to us, a son. He will be called Immanuel – God with us.” 

SONG: Isaiah pauses. Sing ‘O come, O come Emmanuel’ together. 

“He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He will reign in peace for ever! A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to this Son.” 

He rolls up his scroll and passes it out of shot. 



The second actor, dressed as Mary, brings her own scroll from the side, as if accepting it from Isaiah: 

“Hello! My name’s Mary. I’m just an ordinary girl, but let me tell you about an extraordinary day I had. I had just come home from shopping. I’d got everything on my list from the market.” She unrolls the scroll and reads. “Grain to make bread, cabbage, oranges…Suddenly, a huge, shining figure appeared in front of me. It was an angel! He told me I was going to have a baby. Well, all that seemed impossible, but the angel said the baby would be God’s Son. And nothing is impossible with God!” 

SONG: Mary pauses. Sing ‘O come, all ye faithful’ together (missing out the last verse). 

“Well, I agreed to be part of God’s plan and the angel went away! But the thing was, I was engaged to Joseph.” 

She rolls up her scroll and passes it out of shot. 



The next presenter, dressed as Joseph, brings his own scroll from the side, as if accepting it from Mary: 

“Can you imagine it? You’re engaged to be married to someone, but then you find out they’re pregnant. And you know the child isn’t yours. What was I meant to do? I could have shamed Mary and told everyone what she had been up to. But I liked her, so I decided to break it off quietly. Then one night, I had a dream. Not just any old dream, but one about an angel from God! He told me the child was God’s Son, and I should marry Mary. And that child was to be called Jesus.” 

SONG: Joseph pauses. Sing ‘Joy to the world’ together. 

“We got married, but then another bombshell came. The emperor ordered a census!” He unrolls his scroll and reads: “‘Everyone has to go back to their hometown to be counted.’ Well, I come from Bethlehem, and we had to travel around 75 miles to get there!” 

He rolls up his scroll and passes it out of shot. 


Joseph’s relative  

The next presenter, dressed as a relative of Joseph, brings their own scroll from the side, as if accepting it from Joseph: 

“Bethlehem is usually a sleepy little town, but the emperor’s census meant that it was packed full of people coming home to be counted. It was ear to armpit in our house. Cousins Judith and Simon were in the guest room upstairs with their children. We found a corner for Uncle Thomas, and a space by the window to put my cousin Simeon. And then Joseph turned up with his pregnant wife. We had to squeeze them in next to where we keep the animals. It wasn’t long before the time came for the baby to be born…” 

SONG: The relative pauses. Sing ‘Silent night’ together. 

“So I was sent to the midwife with this message.” They unroll they scroll and read. “‘Come quick! We’ve got on baby on the way! Now!’ Off I went, and it wasn’t long after that Jesus was born. But the midwife wasn’t the only visitor we had to our crowded house that night.” 

They roll up their scroll and pass it out of shot. 



The next presenter, dressed as a shepherd, brings their own scroll from the side, as if accepting it from Joseph’s relative: 

“It was a quiet night. Almost a silent night, apart from the sheep bleating away. Thaddeus, Levi and I had settled down for a kip when suddenly a huge, shining figure appeared in front of us. He said such amazing things that I had to write them down.” They unroll they scroll and read. “‘I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And then a whole gang, a group, a gaggle of angels appeared in the sky, singing and praising God!” 

SONG: The shepherd pauses. Sing ‘While shepherds watched’ together. 

“Well, we could not wait to go and see! We rushed to the town and found the house. There, amidst all the family, was Joseph, Mary and a child lying in a manger, just as the angel had said – Jesus. We worshiped the newborn Lord, and then took our leave, telling everyone we met what we had seen! But we weren’t the only people to learn about Jesus from the shining skies.” 

They roll up their scroll and pass it out of shot. 


Wise man  

The next presenter, dressed as a wise man, brings their own scroll from the side, as if accepting it from the shepherd: 

“Greetings! I’m a wise man, a Magi. That means I study the stars. One night, we noticed a strange new star in the sky. We consulted our charts, scrolls and writings to find out what the star meant.” They unroll they scroll look puzzled at it. “We realised that this star meant a new king had been born. We packed up our camels and travelled west to find this king. When we got to Jerusalem, we went to the palace – well, where else would a king be? But the king there, Herod, wasn’t the right person. The chief priests said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. So off we went again!” 

SONG: The wise man pauses. Sing ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ together. 

“The star showed the way and it stopped over a house. Inside, we found Mary, Joseph and a little boy – Jesus. We worshiped this young king, and gave him our gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. And do you know what? People still worship this king today!” 

They roll up their scroll and pass it out of shot. 


Christians today 

You should bring your own scroll from the side, as if accepting it from the wise man: 

“You know what? That wise man was right! There are millions of people all over the world who worship Jesus. We know all about him through the Bible. The Bible tells us of us of God’s love for his people. He wanted to be friends with the people of the world, but the people of the world walked away from him. So God sent his Son, Jesus, to be the Messiah, the saviour who would repair the relationship with God. Listen to what Jesus said about this. Unroll your scroll and read. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’” 

SONG: Pause. Sing ‘Hark! The herald angels sing’ together. 

“If you don’t yet know this prince of peace, this Son of God, this saviour, this newborn king, then you can find out more about him!” 

If time, you could interview someone about their response to the Christmas story and when they first heard about Jesus. Have some kind of mechanism where people can find out about Jesus. This might be to fill in an online form, take part in a Zoom call or go to an evangelistic website. 



Prayer and close  

Finish the service by praying, thanking God for sending Jesus and asking him to help us meet Jesus anew this Christmas. Close the service, letting everyone know what activities they can get involved in over the Christmas period and into the new year.