YACC: The Nativity

Dec 10

The Nativity Story – Adapted from the story by Judith Merrell (Messy Christmas book)

In the town of Nazareth lived a young girl called Mary. She was cheerful, kind and helpful. She lived at home with her mum and dad and helped about the house with cooking and fetching water, preparing food and looking after the animals. Mary was really looking forward to marrying her fiancé, Joseph.

One day when Mary was daydreaming about her wedding, a special visitor came to see her. Mary looked up from her housework and was amazed to see a bright shining angel, standing in front of her. She felt a bit frightened and started to tremble.

‘Don’t be afraid!’ said the angel.

‘I have a special message for you from God. God has chosen you to be the mother of His son. His name will be JESUS and he will be the king of God’s people.’

Mary was totally amazed, she could hardly believe her ears and she really couldn’t think of what to say.

‘But…but…how can this be?’ She asked. ‘I…er…I’m not married yet.’

‘Everything will happen through the power of God,’ replied the angel. ‘Nothing is impossible for him.’

Joseph was worried. He really loved Mary very much and he had been looking forward to marrying her, but now he had heard that she was going to have a baby and it wasn’t his baby. That night Joseph tossed and turned in his sleep, as he wondered whether to stop the wedding. In his dreams an angel spoke to him.

Don’t break off your engagement to Mary,’ the angel said. ‘She loves you and she hasn’t done anything wrong. God has chosen her to be the mother of his son. Go ahead and marry her and call the baby Jesus’.

When Joseph woke up he felt as if a weight had been lifted from him. He knew Mary still loved him and that God wanted him to marry her.

One day Joseph and Mary set off for far-away Bethlehem, because the Emperor Augustus had decided that he wanted to know exactly how many people lived in his kingdom. Augustus ordered everyone to return to their original hometown so that he could count them all.

Poor Mary was going to have her baby soon so she could only walk very slowly. When the young couple finally arrived in the little town of Bethlehem there wasn’t a single room left anywhere. They knocked on doors all over town, but everyone said,

‘Sorry, we’re completely full up.’ Then Joseph knocked on one last door.

‘Sorry!’ said the innkeeper, ‘no room at all!’

Then he looked at Mary and realised how tired and heavily pregnant she was. ‘Well, I suppose there is the stable round the back. It’s not very clean, but it is warm and dry-you can stay there if you like.’

That night Mary gave birth to Jesus and because she didn’t have a crib for him, she wrapped him up and laid him on a bed of hay in an animals’ feeding trough.

Out in the field, close to Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were watching over their sheep.

Suddenly a bright light lit up the darkness. It was an angel, a messenger from God. The shepherds could feel their knees knocking. They had never seen a real angel before.

‘Don’t be frightened,’ said the angel. ‘I’ve got some really happy news for you. Today, in Bethlehem, a baby has been born. He is God’s own special son.

Suddenly, the sky was full of angels, all singing and praising God joyfully. The shepherds could hardly believe their eyes and ears.

When the angels had gone back to heaven, the shepherds rushed off to Bethlehem to find the baby that the angel had told them about.

Eventually they found the stable with Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. Everything was just as the angel had described. They told the new parents all about their visit from the angels. Later they returned to their sheep, telling everyone that they met the good news about this new and very special baby.

Sometime later some wise men from the east saw a new star in the sky. They knew that it was a special sign that a king had been born. They travelled many miles to find Jesus, bringing him special gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh because they realised that he was indeed someone very important. When they found Jesus, with his mother Mary, they knelt and worshipped him.

Our Nativity Prayer

Jesus, whose mother was Mary,

we pray for our families, that we may not take each other for granted. We pray for those who we cannot see in person this Christmas.

All: Lord Jesus, come and stay with us.

Jesus, lying in a manger,

We pray for those who don’t have anywhere to live. Help them find shelter and helpful friends.

All: Lord Jesus, come and stay with us.

Jesus, sharing the stable with the animals,

We pray for all your creations so full of life. Help us to look after the earth you have given us.

All: Lord Jesus, come and stay with us.

Jesus worshipped by shepherds and kings,

We pray for all the different countries of the world, for an end to fighting and wars and unfair situations.

All: Lord Jesus, come and stay with us.

Jesus our Immanuel,

We pray for those who are unwell, and ask that you would be with them, comfort them and help them get better.

All: Lord Jesus, come and stay with us.

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