Children’s Ministry people share. It’s part of our DNA to help each other. With the blessing of a great innovative collaborator, Devin Gordon, the following includes the goodies from our 2021 Grinchy Christmas Eve service.
The goal of our Children’s Christmas Eve service is for children to participate and not perform, serve and not sit, and engage in conversations and sticky faith-formation memories on Jesus’ birthday as a family. As every leader, speaker enters and exits, he/she walks to the manger positioned at the center of the congregation seats, touches the manger, lingers a bit, and exits. No matter what takes place in the whole space, our eyes must always come back to the manger.
A dress rehearsal for blocking two nights before with a popcorn bar to get rid of the grumbly tummies, song practice in Sunday morning large group since November along with the previous Monday night’s Christmas caroling (Faith Field trip), borrowing some of the set materials from Spirit of Dance’s Christmas recital backdrops from several year’s back (What’s in our hands?), and recruitment for serving in early October, Whoville opened at 4:20pm, the program started at 4:45pm and was finished at 5:30pm.
IN SEATS UPON ARRIVAL
- Bakery – white petit fours
- Hot Chocolate & Ice water station – 4 oz cups with lids
- Lime green pipe cleaners – child directed bending, chatting
- Missions drop off for diapers (quads) and socks (Mountain Top Boy’s Home)
- Heart station – write names of family members on white, green, red hearts and clothespin to jumbo frame
- Heart ornament station – fill plastic hearts with precut pipe cleaners
Hear Ye, Hear Ye
As the Assistant to the Mayor-Under-Secretary, I do hereby welcome everyone to our Christmas Eve Family Service at the John Newton McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church here in Whoville.
We are so honored you are here, and we know this will be a night of great joy and celebration of all that Christmas means to each of our families. And for that, I present to you:
A Christmas Eve Proclamation for the Town of Whoville on this 24th day of December in the year of our Lord 2021…
WHEREAS we have waited for this Christmas Eve for an entire year…
WHEREAS we have dressed up and cooked up and driven up and rallied up to celebrate the birth of Jesus our Savior since He came from Heaven to earth more than 2000 years ago and is coming back…
WHEREAS you’ll find in your celebration seats candles for candle lighting, song sheets for singing, and candy canes for a game later in the evening…
WHEREAS you are cordially invited to move and sing loud for all to hear….
WHEREAS we ask you to take out your phones and record your attendance in the Whoville Census by scanning the QR Code on the back of your song sheet…
We DO HEREBY declare it is time for the Whoville shops to close so that all the Whos and our guests have time to settle into their celebration seats as we begin the evening’s festivities.
5 MINUTE TRANSITION
4:45PM – What a wonderful thing that Christmas Eve Whoville festivities are all back on again this year, after missing last, given the rampant outbreak of Corona-Who. But Corona-Who cannot stop the LOVE of Christmas nor the reason we celebrate the season.
- Christmas Joy is again in the air!
- We will be joined shortly by our Whoville Boomwhacker Brigade who will kick off our festivities with a rousing number.
- But first, a prayer from Ruby-Lee-Who.
OPENING PRAYER – by student Ruby-Lee-Who
RECORDED NARRATION #1
Well, every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas Eve a lot . . .
But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, Did NOT!
The Grinch hated Christmas Eve! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes,
He stood there on Christmas Eve, just hating the Whos.
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown,
At the stained glass church windows below in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Whoville below
Was getting dressed in their best – to church they would go.
Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
He had to find some way to stop Christmas Eve from coming!
Oh, for in just a few short hours he knew,
All the Who girls and boys would show up in the pews.
With their families they would gather together to pray,
Celebrating the joy of a special birthday.
The boomwhackers, the candles and donations of toys!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That’s one thing he hated!
And then they’d do something he liked least of all!
Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with Christmas bells ringing.
They’d stand hand‑in‑hand, and the Whos would start singing!
And the more the Grinch thought of this Who Christmas Eve Sing,
The more the Grinch thought I must stop this whole thing!
Why, for fifty‑three years I’ve put up with it now!
I MUST stop this Christmas Eve from coming! . . . But HOW?
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea!
He decided to steal Christmas Eve!
BOOMWHACKER BRIGADE – Silly Jingle Bells (3x)
RECORDED NARRATION #2
The Whos were all dressed, and ready to go,
They jumped in the car to drive through fresh fallen snow.
On the way to church on Christmas Eve,
Every Who down in Whoville had only one place to be!
Joy and excitement filled the air,
Except on Mount Crumpet – there was no joy there.
The Grinch long ago snuffed out any joy to be found,
As he greeted any visitors with a scowl and a frown.
As they drove by the mountain, all gloomy and dark.
one precious little Who had an idea that just sparked!
She couldn’t understand why the Grinch hated Christmas Eve,
The celebration at McEachern, you wouldn’t believe!
The lighting of candles and carols they would sing,
All, to celebrate the birth of a King!
She knew if Grinch knew the true meaning of the day,
Not even his grumpies could keep him away!
As she sat there with her fingers happily drumming,
she launched her own special plan as her heartstrings were strumming.
As they parked at the church to begin the celebration,
Cindy Lou Who went into action to address the situation.
She hopped from the car and told her parents to hold tight,
Then she sprinted towards mount crumpet with a very special invite!
ADVENT CANDLE – (Updated to be Seussical, read with great joy and whimsy)
Reader One: On Christmas Eve, this candle we light. In the midst of the darkness, we provide something bright. But can one small candle send the darkness away, bringing light to the world on each new day? Or do we let fear, separation and doubt fill our hearts, taking the message of Christmas away before it even starts. One small gesture – kind words or an invite, could it possibly change a heart that’s not right? Don’t underestimate the power of one, to light the way as this candle has done.
Reader Two: We light these candles, because we, too, have seen a light, long, long ago in a manger on that first Christmas night. In the midst of the darkness a baby was born, to bring light to the world on that first Christmas morn. God sent His Son because He loves us so much, to show us the way, and our hearts He will touch. And now we are called to live as people of the light, spreading joy to the world, it will be such a sight! Away with the darkness, no more fear fills the air, because we know in our hearts that Jesus is there.
Reader One: So as we light these candles, may it remind us well, that the light of the world is coming, and on the mountain we must tell! The candles of Hope, Joy, Love and Peace, lighted now, our circle’s complete. The last one we light in the center of it all, the sign of Christ’s presence among us, the Christ candle it’s called. No matter how dark at times it may seem, know that God’s light is with us, in radiant beams. (Light all four candles on the wreath and the Christ Candle in the Center)
Reader Two: To those who have walked in darkness, may their hearts be changed, as we have seen a great light, Jesus his name. Glory to God in the highest we sing, and on earth let there be Love, as the Christmas bells ring
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – Song with actions led by the children in the aisles.
RECORDED NARRATION #3
It was just then that the Grinch heard a knock at the door,
Who could it be, what was this disturbance for?!?
He scowled and growled as he rolled out of bed,
Shaking the fog from his ears that clogged up his head.
When what to his crooked and slanted old eyes did appear,
But a tiny little Who girl who seemed to have no fear.
Didn’t she know he was the meanest and grumpiest in town,
Who could scare any person with just a flicker of his frown?
What do you want, yelled the Grinch, you’re disturbing me!
But Cindy Lou Who just stood there, as happy as can be…
Hello sir, um, I’m Cindy Lou, and I’m not sure if you know,
But there’s a church called McEachern, down in Whoville below.
Each year on this day we have a Christmas Eve service so bright,
To celebrate the birth of the savior born this night.
It seems to me that your heart could use such a lift,
I was wondering if you’d join me to share in this gift.
Well the Grinch just howled, with a dark evil laugh,
Could she be serious – you do the math.
The Grinch goes to church with all the Who girls and boys,
To experience up close all the NOISE, NOISE, NOISE, NOISE!
No thank you, no way, I’m not going there, not for me
Then he paused for a moment, an idea he could see…
What better way to steal Christmas Eve forever,
Than to infiltrate the celebration, this plan’s coming together!
OK little Who, you’re quite convincing I must say,
Let me grab my coat and we’ll be on our way.
Cindy Lou Who smiled, as she’d done her best,
And she knew at the church, the Holy Spirit would do the rest.
MISSION MOMENT – Missions Dept. Lead with a hands-up blessing over the diapers and socks.
OFFERTORY – One Small Child duet by senior pastor and his Mrs. as Ambassadors received the offerings.
NARRATION #4 – Grinch tosses bags of colorful jumbo pom poms all over the audience as the disturbance.
As the Grinch sat in church amidst the Who girls and boys,
He felt a stirring inside him, just listening to this NOISE!
His heart began growing and filling the void,
Out with self-loathing – as in came JOY?
What’s happening to me, his head started reeling,
this is not going well, HELP ME, I’M FEELING!
I must act at once, my plan put to action,
I’m here to ruin Christmas Eve, not to find satisfaction.
OK, just think, what should I DO…
I know, I know – I’ll cause a disturbance for all of the Whos!
FAMILY PRAYER – The Grinch is quite upset.
- When I’m upset, I know I can go to OUR GREAT GOD in prayer.
- Our Great God created us and loves to hear from us.
- Having something in my hands helps me when I pray.
- When my hands are busy, my mind is calm.
- Collect and hold a pompom or two, or three, or more and gather with your family to pray together in your own family.
Every time an angel gave a message to God’s people, they always opened with “Do Not Be Afraid.”
- Let’s close our family prayer time together as one family in a repeat-after-me-prayer….
- Let’s learn more about the birthday story of Jesus from Lilly B. Who (youth)
CHRISTMAS READING RIGHT/LEFT STORY – read by a youth
A telling of the story of Christmas on Christmas Eve is a treasured tradition held dear to our hearts. While we love seeing fellow Whoville friends and experiencing the giving, the candle lighting, and the singing on Christmas Eve (oh the singing!) hearing the story of Jesus’ birth in a manger is our best reminder that Christmas, perhaps, means a WHOLE LOT more.
Please join me in the reading of the Christmas story this year in the way of a Left/Right Story. Get out your candy canes, and as I read the story, pay attention to the words “Left” and “Right” – when you hear them, pass your candy cane from your left to right hand in the direction stated and keep listening for more directions as we go. If you don’t have your candy cane, please raise your right or left hand as we talk through the Christmas story.
(Do one practice instruction) – “Let’s try one practice round with this – there are no instructions LEFT, do you think you’ve got it RIGHT?”) And now,
The Story of Christmas!
A long time ago, a woman named Mary and a man named Joseph were going to be married. RIGHT before that happened, an angel came to Mary and told her she was going to have a baby!
Before the angel LEFT, he said she should name the baby Jesus. The baby would be the Son of God, the Savior.
While Mary was pregnant, Caesar Augustus decided to count everyone LEFT living in the whole Roman world. Joseph LEFT, taking Mary with him to his town of Bethlehem to register. No
one could be LEFT out of the census.
The two weary travelers LEFT the dark, dusty road and entered the crowded town of Bethlehem. People bustled LEFT and scurried RIGHT past them, heading toward places of rest.
They had all LEFT their towns and villages and come to Bethlehem loaded down with bags and baskets in order to be registered and counted. Mary was exhausted, and needed rest RIGHT away. The trip had been long and tiring, and Mary had no energy LEFT.
She waited patiently as Joseph looked LEFT and RIGHT in search of a place for them to stay, but after a while it became clear that there were no vacant rooms LEFT in town. They settled on a stable RIGHT behind an inn. It was not what they had expected or wanted, but they were thankful for a place to lay their head.
It was RIGHT there in that cold stable, surrounded by animals and the smell of hay, that Mary gave birth to her child, a son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth to keep him warm, and LEFT him to sleep on the hay.
PASTOR’S MESSAGE – Object lesson by pastor about the gift of Christmas with a star (Jesus is the light of the world) and a red heart (Jesus loves us so much.)
RECORDED NARRATION #5 – Cindy Lou takes Grinch’s hand and guides him to center manger where they linger and then depart.
And so it happened, on that fateful night,
Surrounded by Whos, what a wonderful sight!
The Grinches’ heart grew, three sizes they say,
As he learned the true meaning of Christmas that day.
Hearing about Baby Jesus had changed him, indeed,
He couldn’t ruin Christmas, at that he would never succeed.
It would come without ribbons, it would come without tags.
It would come without packages, boxes, or bags.
Maybe Christmas (he thought) doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas perhaps means a WHOLE LOT more!
SILENT NIGHT – written for a guitar accompanist, our pastor played with same song leader who led 12 Days of Christmas
- Christmas is about growing your heart three sizes!
- And like Cindy Lou Who, sharing your heart for Jesus with others so that they too can experience the wonder and joy of Christmas.
- Go tell it on the mountain – Mount Crumpet, Stone Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, the Blueridge Mountains – EVERYWHERE!
- Jesus Christ is born.
- I hope you found a squishy heart to take home as a reminder that Jesus loves you. What does the heart say?
- Join us in our last song….. (SNOW!) but don’t go anywhere. Dr. Doug has a last word to share.
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN ….. SNOW starts after the first verse.