This year, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. If you’re a pastor or churchgoing type, this presents a dilemma…we want to celebrate that day, but Christmas Eve is kind of the “big show,” where we do it up right in celebration of the newborn king with handbells, a praise band, a double choir and brass.
So this year I decided that on peaceful Christmas morning with lessons and carols, I would tell a story. I’ve done this at several other churches, because there’s something about Christmas that begs a story, from the original in Luke and Matthew’s gospels to the modern movie, Elf, incredibly silly, but still a story of redemption and hope (along with some bodily function humor to please the six year olds).
I asked for advice from some other pastors for which story to tell, and I got so many suggestions I’ll be using them for years to come! So today, I want to share their suggestions with you!
We Were There, by Eve Bunting
The nativity, told from the point of view of “the least of these” among the creatures in the barn (this is the one I decided to tell on Christmas Day).
The Night Before Christmas, by Herb Brokering
A retelling of Christmas Eve, but the Jesus story, not the Santa one.
The Legend of the Poinsettia, by Tomie dePaola
I’ve used this one in churches past, and it’s a beautiful story of a Mexican town’s miraculous Christmas Eve. Reads nicely to a crowd.
The Man and the Birds, attributed to Paul Harvey (but perhaps is older than that)
My husband has used this story on Christmas Eve to great effect. It works really well if you tell it in character.
Song of the Stars, by Sally Lloyd-Jones
How the whole creation got ready for the birth of Jesus. VERY lovely, and also in song form.
Santa’s Favorite Story, by Hisako Aoki
Santa tells a group of animals that Christmas really isn’t about him, and tells them the true Christmas story.
If you’re Missing Baby Jesus, by Jean Gietzen
A true story out of North Dakota about a missing piece of the manger scene that led to a family experiencing a Christmas miracle.
If you know any of these or have any to add, please do leave them in the comments! I am so glad to have such an amazing selection to share. Thanks to the ELCA clergy who contributed to this list!