An Outdoor Event for Families
Each Station will have picture, music, scripture, activity, devotion/worship, prayer and/or youth as picture. Use stain glass window pictures if available.
There are 8 outdoor Stations concluding with Living Nativity on church steps.
Station 1: Angel Gabriel appears to Mary
- If youth: Angel Gabriel with Mary falling to her knees
- Scripture: Luke 1: 26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”[a] But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”[b] The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[c] will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
- Music for station: Magnificant, You tube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAodLEpuqnk (Mary speaking Magnificant)
- Activity- make halo using garland that is pre-cut. and Mother’s prayer poster/wall hanging (write name of their mother or other women of faith.)
- Devotion/Reflection: Why do you think Mary was chosen? It was not because she was the most beautiful girl. It was not because she was the smartest girl. It was not because she was the bravest or strongest either. Could it have been that she trusted God? Could it have been because she had faith? Mary’s response is to let God’s will be done. She says yes to God’s plan. What area in your life do you struggle with? Try giving that area to God without a list of how you want it handled, but say trust in God’s will.
- Prayer from Church of England: Common Saints, Collect for Mary:
Almighty and everlasting God, who stooped to raise fallen humanity through the child-bearing of blessed Mary: grant that we, who have seen your glory revealed in our human nature and your love made perfect in our weakness, may daily be renewed in your image and conformed to the pattern of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Station 2: Mary & Elizabeth
- If youth: two girls to be Mary greeting Elizabeth (who is pregnant)
- Scripture-Luke 1: 39-56
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would bea fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
- Activity- worship: Mary went to see Elizabeth, someone she could trust. Write the names of someone you can trust on the posterboard in a heart and as you do, say a prayer for that person thanking God he/she is in your life.
- Devotion/Reflection: In a time of fear and maybe, feeling alone, Mary went to see Elizabeth. The angel had told Mary that Elizabeth was pregnant in her old age and her child would be tied to Mary’s child. Mary and Elizabeth were blessed to have each other to share their news, their joy, their fears and their concerns. Who in your life do you go when you are excited about something? Who do you go to when you are afraid? Who do you share your worries with?
- Prayer from Church of England: Mary visits Elizabeth-Mighty God, by whose grace Elizabeth rejoiced with Mary and greeted her as the mother of the Lord: look with favour on your lowly servants that, with Mary, we may magnify your holy name and rejoice to acclaim her Son our Saviour, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Station 3: Joseph dreams
- If youth: two youth: boy as Joseph and angel stand over him.
- Scripture: Matthew 1: 18-25a
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife
- Activity: Joseph was a carpenter. Take a block of wood and write the name of a man who is important in your life. (Each family does one block of wood). Thank God for the person. Put the block under your tree.
- Devotion/Reflection: Joseph at first was disbelieving, but then after an angel visiting him in a dream, he knew that the baby that Mary was carrying, was God’s Son and Mary had stayed loyal to him. Joseph seemed to be a good man. He was going to save Mary from being disgraced and end things quietly. After the angel confirmed this baby was special, Joseph accepted his role as father and husband gladly and with devotion. Who are the men in your life you can count on to be there for you?
- Prayer from Church of England for Feast Day of St. Joseph: God our Father, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph the carpenter to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary: give us grace to follow him in faithful obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Station 4: Travel to Bethlehem
- If youth: two-Mary and Joseph resting by “road”
- Scripture: Luke 2: 1-5
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
Music: O Come All Ye Faithful: From Westminster Abbey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1wHyMR_SCA
- Activity: have map from Palestine during Jesus time. Ask families to find Nazareth and then Bethlehem. How long do you think it took to walk there? How many hours a day do you think they walked? How do you think it felt to be pregnant and traveling do far?
- Devotion/Reflection: Looking at the map, Mary and Joseph had to travel far and at the end of Mary’s pregnancy. Hardship has always been a part of life, even if you are the mother of God’s son. God is always with us. We are never alone on our journey. We all face different hardships, but traveling through those hardships can help beautiful things happen, like love come down to earth in the form of a baby, born to set the world free.
- Prayer: Lord, today we think of Mary and Joseph and their long and frightening journey to Bethlehem. You were with them as you are with us. Help us to trust you like hey did and help us to have the strength to travel through the hard places in our lives. Thank you for your constant love on our life journey, in Jesus’ name, the one whose birth we celebrate. Amen.
Station 5: Bethlehem
- Youth-one youth dressed as an innkeeper with sign, “no room”
- Scripture Luke 2: 7b
because there was no place for them in the inn
- Music: O Little Town of Bethlehem – Children’s choir with lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpHY3jU27dc
- Activity: Create a building of Bethlehem (uses TP rolls and markers with instructions) Each family creates and adds their house/building to the Bethlehem.
- Reflection on hospitality and welcome How do you make people feel welcome in your home? Do you do it differently if you know the person well or it is a first time visitor? How do you make people feel welcome at school or work? How do you make people feel welcome in church?
Hospitality and welcome is a gift. We have all been new and know that someone’s welcome and hospitality makes all the difference. We have all been uncomfortable and someone else has given the gift which helps us to feel comfortable. How about when we are late or there is not room. How do you feel when someone says, “Sure, we will make room for you!” Can you say and do the same, even when it might be inconvenient? You might be making room for the future king.
- Prayer: Lord, we make room for you in our hearts by loving you and helping others. We make room for you in our homes by prayer and Bible reading. We make room for you in our days by taking time to pray or sit with you in silence. We make room for you In our lives by opening ourselves in faith. We make room for you in our minds by thinking of you throughout our days. We make room for you by caring for others. We make room by being kind to all. Thank you for being with us always. In Jesus, our Savior, we pray. Amen.
Station 6: Jesus born
- Youth: Mary and Joseph with a baby doll
- Scripture: Luke 2: 6-7a
While they were there (Bethlehem), the time came for the baby to be born, and she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger
- Music: Away in a Manger- With lyrics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CJFt7BZKUU
- Activity: Gift for Jesus-write on form and take to manger at last station. Some way you can love others in the coming year or Some way you can give God more time.
- Devotion/Reflection-God’s love for us shone so bright in the gift of Jesus. The devotion and the unconditional nature of God’s love for us, with God’s determination to not give up on us, was shown in a simple manger and a baby’s cry. To be loved this completely, simply because we are, is difficult for us to grasp, so we needed more than words, and so the Word, Jesus, came down to us.
- Prayer: Collect of the Nativity of Our Lord, BCP: O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Station 7: Angels declare to Shepherds
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,[a] the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,[b] praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”[c]
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”
- Music- Hark the Herald Angels Sing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqooC4ZG75Y
- Activity: The angels said “Glory to God”, what in your life would you give glory to God for? Write it on a heart. Hang it in a place for Christmas morning to give thanks again.
- Devotion/Reflection: The first invited guests to see the King of all kings, the birth of God’s Son were shepherds. Instead of a party invite, they got a personal invitation from the angels, sent by God! We often go through so much angst about who to invite to a family wedding or a special party. We weigh each invite, discuss who would be hurt, who needs to be included, and who we wish to include. It is a carefully made decision.
- So, a group of shepherds out working in the field with their sheep were the ones God chose. Why do you think God chose them to invite?
- Prayer: Beloved God, thank you for inviting us to the birth of Jesus and for loving us. We thank you for the many gifts of love you give to us each day. Amen.
Station 8: Shepherds travel to Bethlehem
- Youth: Two or three youth-Mary holding baby doll and two shepherds kneeling.
- Scripture: Luke 2:16-20
So the shepherds went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
- Music- What Child is This? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVWYHv-EbI8
- Activity: Write a word, phrase, or sentence you “treasured in your heart”.
- Devotion/Reflection: Mary treasured their words in her heart. What words do you treasure in your heart? What are the words someone has said to you that meant so much to you? Was it because of the words said, the person who said them, the circumstances or a combination of these factors? Tell a story of a time someone said words to you that you treasured.
- Prayer: Lord, as we move into Christmas and beyond, fill our hearts with the love that we fill today on every day. Help us to remember that your love for us in sending Jesus was not a one time event, it is life time event. In Jesus’ name and for the love he gives us. Amen.
Station 9: Living Nativity or Manger in Nave.
- Youth: living Nativity or none. Nave open with manger near altar.
- Scripture: John 1: 1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
- Music: Silent Night
- Activity: light candle, give gift from earlier into manger
- Devotion/Reflection: Spend time reflecting on the miracle and wonder as we enter Christmas.
- Prayer: Collect of the Nativity prayer 2, BCP O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.