For use in a crib service or similar event this Christmas
She gave birth to a son, her first-born She wrapped him in swaddling clothes And laid him in a manger Because there was no room for them at the Inn Luke 2:7
The crib is the name of the simple place where Mary laid her baby, Jesus. For a long time, Christians have put cribs in their homes to remind themselves of this. Cribs are made up of little figures of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and a crowd of others.
Each year we wrap them up carefully in tissue paper and put them away in their box. It’s as if they are sleeping. It makes us very happy when we take them out again – it’s time to wake them up – and set up a beautiful crib!
My heart needs to wake up too, I need to be ready when Jesus comes!
Let us pray
I am ready to welcome you too, Lord My parents, my brothers and sisters, my friends, my neighbours and I – we make up a joyful crowd coming to adore you. Keep us all united to each other. Amen
Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee for Judaea, to David’s town called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s house and line Luke 2:4
The donkey that carried Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem was lying on the straw. It was happy to be resting. It had travelled a long way. It was hot and thirsty. It had carried a heavy load but had walked on bravely. Joseph’s kind voice and Mary’s gentle touch had helped it on its way…
Sometimes people say donkeys are stubborn or stupid. It’s true that this donkey didn’t understand much but it was gentle and brave and was happy to serve.
Sometimes I’m asked to do difficult things too, but I can try my best to help.
Let us pray
Lord, there’s a place in your church for everyone. Everyone can be a servant Everyone has talents they can bring. Everyone is important Teach me not to look down on anyone but to recognise each person’s qualities. Amen.
And here is a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger Luke 2:12
The ox was lying quietly when suddenly a tired couple and their donkey arrived. Then a baby started crying. Where had they come from? Next there was the gentle song of a mother cradling her newborn baby: “Alleluia! The Lord has done great things for me”
Then there were even more strangers; angels, shepherds, sheep! What a lot of people! How unexpected! The good ox was happy to welcome them. He was happy to share his humble home.
Now let me also try to welcome people who come, even when I might not feel like it.
Let us pray Leaning over you, Jesus The ox warmed you with his gentle breath. Like him, by the breath of the Holy Spirit Help me spread the warmth of your peace and love to the people who come to my home this Christmas. Amen
Mary gave birth to her first-born son Luke 2:7
Mary is the one who says ‘yes’. She was open to what God asked of her on the day when the Angel Gabriel came to see her. Here she is now, ready to welcome Jesus, her tiny baby.
In the crib, she is usually put in the place of honour on Jesus’ right. Kneeling before him, in silent wonder, she represents all the mothers of the world.
Do I know how to rest in silent wonder at the presence of Jesus within me? Help me to be still.
Let us pray Mary you are a really special woman. By your ‘yes’ Jesus came to live among us. Teach me to say ‘yes’ to all the things God asks of me in my life Amen.
When Joseph woke he did what the Angel of the Lord had told him to do Matthew 1:24
Standing near Mary, Joseph prays and keeps watch. He doesn’t speak much. Like all the fathers of the world who he represents, he watches over the child. Joseph leans on God and trustingly obeys him.
I don’t always like to obey, to do what I’m told. Obeying God is different though, it means letting yourself be loved and everything that happens after that is a response to that love. It means accepting his plan of love for you. We get close to God by obeying his word and his Church. That sort of obedience is wonderful!
Let us pray Lord I want to come to you in silence and offer you my life. I want to pray in silence, without speaking, letting myself be guided, letting myself be loved, so every day of my life I may do what you ask of me Amen.
See, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today, in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord Luke 2:10-11
How noisy these angels are! With all their songs and trumpets, they’re going to end up waking the baby Jesus…No he’s still sleeping peacefully. The shepherds are astounded by these joyful messengers.
The angels give glory to God. They sing of his marvels and teach us to praise him. Singing is beautiful!
They say ‘singing is praying twice’ so help me to join my voice with the angels, singing and praising God.
Let us pray Blessed are you Lord, for the angels They sing of your glory without end. They sing your praise without end I want to sing with them. ‘Glory to God in the Highest’ Amen.
They hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger Luke 2:16
The poor shepherds were terrified. They rubbed their eyes. They couldn’t believe their ears. ‘Where have all these angels come from? What’s this great joy they’re talking about? A saviour? Born this evening? Unbelievable!’ Astonished and a bit worried, they hurried off to see Jesus. These poor, simple shepherds were the first to visit him…
When they left they were very happy and told everyone they met what they had heard and seen, great joy like this needs to be shared.
I haven’t seen Jesus but I know he is the Son of God and I can tell people about his love.
Let us pray Lord you see that I am only a child but you came down from heaven for little children. You came for me You came to save me Thank you for giving me peace and joy this Christmas. Amen.
The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose Psalm 23:1-2
Almost all sheep are white – they are like people who are pure in heart. They came to Jesus with trust. The sheep came in with all that they had – just their wool for knitting into little socks to keep a baby’s feet warm.
I too am like a sheep. Jesus is my shepherd. He guides and leads me. He looks for me when I am lost. Help me to bring to the crib all that I am and all that I have. It’s nothing extraordinary but to God I am special because I am his child!
Let us pray Lord you are my shepherd Protect me from all evil and from sin Show me the way of joy and peace. Lead me to happiness, the happiness of living with you forever. Amen.
We saw his star as it rose and we have come to give him praise Matthew 2:2
The stars are so beautiful, so mysterious and far away. They shine at night to guide travellers and fill the sky with their light. The star which guided the Kings to Jesus shone so brightly that they couldn’t stop themselves from following it. They didn’t know where it was leading them but they put their trust in God.
Jesus is the light which shines for everyone and guides them to God. Could I be like a star showing others the path that lead to Jesus?
Let us pray Lord, be my star When I am in the dark when my heart is sad be the light shining before me Amen.
The three kings
They saw the child with his mother, Mary and falling to their knees they offered him their gifts Matthew 2:11
Aren’t the kings majestic with their presents and their jewels, and aren’t their clothes colourful! They’ve come from so far away, they’ve taken so much trouble. They’ve left everything to see Jesus and give him praise. They are so great and he is so small…but there they are, kneeling in front of Jesus, they know that he is the King of Kings.
They invite me to set off on a journey too, to leave everything and go to meet Jesus. But where will I find gold, frankincense and myrrh? The best present I can bring is myself.
Let us pray Lord Jesus, the kings bow down before you even though you are just a little baby But you too are King! You are the King of the universe You are the King of my heart I come to kneel down before you and give you all that I am. Amen.
Here is your God…he is coming to save you Isaiah 35:4
Christmas reminds us of Jesus’ birth. It’s like a birthday – with more than 2000 candles! People had been waiting for Jesus for so long and then finally he arrived. He came to save us from sin and death. He came as the Saviour of the world. The name Jesus means ‘God saves’ he is also called ‘Emmanuel’ which means ‘God with us’. Jesus, Emmanuel, it’s the same thing, it’s God coming to you and me.
I put him in the centre of the crib, all the other figures are turned towards him. Let’s look at him, stay close to him, adore him. May we be filled with his presence. Just like those people long ago I’ve been waiting a long time too! Four whole weeks! That’s a long time. Today it’s wonderful to celebrate with Jesus and rejoice with all those I love.
Let us pray Lord God, thank you for giving us Jesus, your Son He is your Word He is your love He comes to give us his life to give us true life. Thank you Amen.