One of the best Christmas gifts I've gotten this year is seeing our dream-child of an instant Christmas play come to life at a friend's church. It's fun to dream up something and then see it happen! So I asked my friend, co-worker, and local children's minister to share with you her experience of Nativity: Lights! Camera! Action!
Here in Teresa's own words: "FUN! FUN! FUN! was the buzz word at our church after performing our Nativity:Lights! Camera! Action! instant Christmas show. Although some had their hesitations as to how it was all going to come together, we were all pleasantly surprised at how smooth everything flowed. It was very clever to use the two main actors...the Director and his Assistant...to connect the scenes together. Some said it was the most fun they'd ever had doing a Christmas show. Some said it was great to be reminded how children think and act...we forget what it's like to be childlike...it was great to be able to act like a child again! They loved that the program was intergenerational.
"We started our program with a sloppy joe dinner at 5:30 so families could just come after work and spend the evening together. We pre-registered as many as we could (only one week ahead of time) and assigned them to their scenes. We put stickers that went with their scenes on their name tags so they'd know which scene they were in. For Scene one we used stars, scene 2 we used animal stickers, scene 3 we used smiley faces for the puppets, and scene 4 we used butterflies because we couldn’t find angels, but at least we had wings!! This made it very easy for people to know what group they were in when it was time to get into their groups. Walk-ins were put in groups that needed more people...very easy.
"We used our outgoing families for scene one. For scene two, we used preschool families to be the animals. The families with teenagers, we put into scene three to make the paper bag puppets. Scene four we used our seniors and walk-in families. If scene four got full, the registration staff would assign the walk-ins to the scene according to their children’s age.
"At 6:20 we split into our scenes and did the family devotion, practiced the song motions, and created costumes. We did make sure our costumes were very easy...no glue, just glue dots, staplers, and stickers. We had multiage groups so parents and grandparents were involved in making their costumes and helping the younger ones. YES!! Each scene was ready to go in just ONE HOUR!!! Seventy people in all.
"We were ready to go by 7:30. There was laughter as we saw some of our more serious members ham it up on stage as stars for the paparazzi. We laughed as the animals crawled on stage, weary from the journey, then pretended to die if Kind Herod killed them...even the adults fell to the floor...all while pregnant on a horse!!! We clapped to the music as the puppets (the shepherds) sang their songs, then laughed as the teens and parents threw their puppets off and danced freestyle at the end of their scene.
"The finale was full of Angels from 1 month old to 80 years. We put our Seniors in this group because the song was slower as well as the action and they loved it. At the end we added a manger, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus (2 month old baby sister) and their mom in her star costume. Then we had everyone come back on stage. The God Sighting was that the people who came to just watch the show didn’t realize that only the scene participants were to go on stage, so they all joined us at the stage and all eyes were on the baby Jesus!!! This while the whole cast sang “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”! Then the flashes from all the cameras just made the finale the best ending to a easy Christmas show that only took a little over an hour to put together and 26 minutes to perform.
"We ended with our Cast Party...cookies. Then as families left, we took their pictures in front of the Christmas Tree for the ornaments that we'll give them before Christmas. We also handed them their family devotion to use during the Christmas season.
"It could not have been any easier. We were done by 8:30 with everything...cleaned up the church and were home by 9:30.Thank you for the experience of our church and guests participating in the Christmas story together....it was awesome to be a part of this Christmas Show!!!! Cut!......That’s a wrap!"
Thanks, Teresa! It was a blast to watch!
So if you're still looking for something to do for Christmas that involves everyone in your church and is ultra-easy, it's not too late. Get your Nativity: Lights! Camera! Action! kit at http://outreach.group.com/christmas/nativity
And check out this photo of Teresa's church's grand finale!