Author Archives: ScottF

Overseeing A Successful Church Nativity Play

I think that depends upon exactly what you consider to be a success play! For me, a Successful Church Nativity Play is one that joins everyone in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere of celebration (including the organiser!), with the focus on the genuine meaning of Christmas. It is not a perfectly tuned, professionally performed show, but the story of Jesus’ birth, told through the innocence of little ones, for the appreciation of proud moms and dads and others. So, the key thing for me is to keep the organization and managing of the play as easy and relaxed as possible so that the inevitable stresses of the event do not win through.

So, right here are my helpful tips and ideas:

  • christmas-nativity-playPick your script wisely! See to it that it is basic enough to need few rehearsals, and adaptable enough to include additional parts as you need to.
  • Don’t be too reliant on any one individual or part. You need to have some flexibility so that if someone is missing on the day you can choose a way to make changes swiftly to accommodate the situations. Picking a play which makes use of narrative for the majority of the script will help.
  • Find ways to avoid learning lines: use props to assist. The shepherds lines could be stuck to the lamb, the kings could be read from their gifts, and the innkeepers could hold ‘registers’ with their lines on. By doing this, even if somebody was ill, a stand-in can play their part.
  • Do not assume that the nativity play has to be a ‘performance’. It could be something that you do unrehearsed, with the help of volunteers, and ad hoc props. Keep in mind, Jesus was the ultimate storyteller, making his stories relevant and appropriate to, those around him.
  • Plan ahead! Book the church in good time for the nativity service AND the rehearsal(s), and encourage the parents of both/all dates. Be sure that you know who will be there and is happy to take part before you start casting or rehearsing.
  • Hand out any scripts early enough for them to be learned if required. Remember that Christmas is a busy time for parents and kids at home and school, so provide them time to enjoy doing what is needed without feeling the pressure.
  • Check out the suitability of costumes and sizes well ahead of the date, especially if you have a mixed age cast: if Mary was petite last year, but tall this year you do not want to find that the costume doesn’t fit at the last minute! Ideally, delegate this duty totally to someone else, including seeing to it that the outfits are cleaned and ironed as needed.
  • Don’t believe that the music needs to be ‘carried out’ by the kids. Including some carols for the congregation to sing automatically includes a Christmassy mood of celebration, and there are lots of obvious choices to fit with specific parts of the story. This option also means less practicing, and less reliance on musicians and singers on the day, and creates a way to prepare for the next scene!
  • Like any family, acknowledge and enjoy the individual skills within your group with a healthy pride. Discovering ways to include them will add a memorable personal touch. Perhaps somebody plays guitar and could play ‘Away in a Manger”. Maybe someone else would enjoy singing a solo. Perhaps somebody is creative and can make crowns, crooks, animal masks, or any other props that you might require. Could you finish with a prayer or poem written by one of the children? All these choices will add a personal touch, but the play need not rely upon them and they can be easily left out in the case of illness without affecting the flow of the story.
  • ChildrensNativityDon’t underestimate the benefit of having extra volunteers on the day. Share responsibilities so that you can just focus on the overview and drawing everything together. Have a prompter, someone to keep an eye out for props/costumes, someone to usher children on and off etc, Also, make sure that you have extra scripts on the day; the children frequently leave theirs at home!
  • Consider the best ways to add a ‘party’ atmosphere after the nativity. While you are sorting out all of the children and storing outfits, have coffee and mince pies or something similar served to the congregation so that they can all unwind and enjoy some fellowship together. Inevitably, they will go over the nativity play and it will end up being a lasting memory. And don’t feel neglected whilst that occurs: enjoy the privilege of serving God in this way. Mary AND Martha both had a valuable duty in Jesus’ life!

Lastly, the most important thing is to keep in mind the definition of a successful nativity service. That way, you’ll relax and enjoy the humor of the moment if Mary declines to walk with Joseph, or Angel Gabriel will not talk, or the shepherd goes walkabout, or the king will not hand his present over, or the angels reveal each other their brand-new underclothing when they should be dancing! These are special unforgettable moments, so much more than the most professional performance ever would be. Oh, and don’t forget that you are also one of God’s children: you are allowed to make errors and laugh about them too!

Overseeing A Successful Church Nativity Play

Tips On Composing A Nativity Script

script3If, like me, you’ve regularly had a hard time to get a Nativity Script that would work for your church, school or group, why not compose your own? You understand the story, after all! Plus, you’re sure to have some old favorites that you can make use of as tunes, and if not, just use carols: everybody loves them, and the audience can sing them too. Tempted to give it a try? Okay, so here’s some useful tips and ideas …

  • If you have any particular skills or characters within your cast, welcome the flexibility of writing your own script to make it personal to your cast. Perhaps someone can play ‘Away in a manger’ on the guitar, maybe you have a toddler who would like to sing a solo of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’, maybe one of your cast is a character in their own right and would love to play a comic or clumsy role. It could be that you might write in a visit from the local comedian, and then have the storyteller comically remedying the story!
  • Use songs to break up the story so that you can smoothly get ready for a new scene. I find that any of these natural breaks work well in every script…

1. An optional opening song
2. Mary and Joseph’s trip (taking a trip song).
3. The infant is born (lullaby/Away in a Manger etc).
4. The angel talks with the shepherds (angel song).
5. The shepherds go to Bethlehem.
6. The kings journey to Bethlehem.
7. An optional ending/celebration tune; maybe looking forward to Christmas day and so on

  • If music is a difficulty, utilize Christmas carols, and have the audience take part. Looking at the list above, there are some clear suggestions: Little Donkey / O Little Town of Bethlehem etc; Away in a Manger; Hark The Herald Angels sing; While Shepherds Watched their Flocks; We Three Kings of Orient Are; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; We wish you a Merry Christmas and so on

One final tip:
writing-scriptDo not aim for the perfect play, just a perfect atmosphere and a spirit of love. The objective of the nativity play is to tell the story of God’s love, so if you see your play enacted, accept the chaos and things that go wrong; those are the long lasting memories that you can take pleasure in chuckling about. Remember, the play is a celebration of Jesus’s birth, so it needs to be as much fun as anyone else’s birthday!

Tips On Composing A Nativity Script

Supporting A Christian Message In Your Nativity

How to bring out the Christian Message in your Church Nativity

schoolplayIn the past, I have been so caught up in the stress and preparations of the nativity play, that Jesus would not have been happy with the way that I was commemorating His birthday! Nevertheless, it’s one thing understanding that, and another thing getting the balance right, but it does help to focus on the purpose of the nativity play before you begin and get your own attitude right.

  • Ask yourself exactly what matters to God“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” Psalm 51 verse 10

    and when things go wrong, or somebody lets you down, remain focussed on handling things with God’s grace. Be a good witness as you tell His story.

  • These are useful bible passages to include to state that Jesus’s birth was foretold

    “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” Micah 5 verse 2.

    “Then Isaiah said ‘Hear now, you house of David … … Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.” Isaiah Chapter 7 verse 13 & 14

    “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting father, Prince of Peace.” Chapter 9 verse 6.

Open your nativity service with a prediction before you inform the story as it took place. I can honestly state that, as a long-lasting Christian, my knowledge of the Christmas story was restricted for a long time to the way it was represented in the nativity play, so I am really aware of how important it is that we also back this with the real passages from scripture.

Why not include in the play the angel’s message to the shepherds straight from the bible.

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” Luke 2 verses 10 to 12.

  • Keep in mind that people do not always read the bible, but they do read the people. Your nativity play is an opportunity to be a family of God’s people, united in celebrating Jesus’ birthday together, and inviting others to join you in doing so. Make sure that you encourage an atmosphere of love and inclusion, not one of perfection, and stress.
  • Consider carefully how you close your nativity play:.
    1) Maybe with a bible passage which highlights the relevance of the birth of Christ today.

    “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” John 3 verse 16)

    2) Alternatively, look for a Christian poem to use as a mini sermon. There are many Christian poetry sites easily available on the internet.

  • Think about using your nativity play as a chance to welcome visitors to join you; a community outreach. Could you find a way to include involvement on the day if anyone wants to participate? Could you welcome the neighborhood ahead of time to join you for rehearsals if they wish to? Could you have a household fun event or party pre-arranged and advertise it at the nativity, maybe giving out a pre-printed invite?

Nativity-PlayRemember, Jesus set us an example of working through love and take care of others, and the nativity and carol services are the ideal way to start developing this relationship. Maybe you could welcome the audience/congregation to remain after the service for mince pies and coffee or some other suitable Christmas custom. Jesus created numerous relationships with fellowship over food.

In summary, tell the story in the way Jesus would have done; with relevance and love, and then just cover everything that you do in prayer, and let God do the rest.

May God bless you richly as you share His word.

Supporting A Christian Message In Your Nativity

Wardrobe Ideas For A Nativity Play

Nativity-costumeWhen I initially started organising our Church Nativity I used to find costumes a massive problem, due to the fact that we have a blended age group of children in our cast, and the amount of kids changes every year. One year Mary might be played by a small 5 year old, and the following year by a tall 9 year old, so the same outfit wouldn’t work! Plus, if we were blessed with the same kids continuing to attend, the WHOLE WARDROBE of costumes would need to be bigger, not just a few. Hence, for many years, we have developed a stock of varying sized outfits that will suit a number of purposes, but below are a few hints and ideas to assist those of you that are still working towards that.

The details of the outfits

Use dull colors and affordable looking material (gray, brown tweed/linen effect) for the tunics.
Use the waistcoats to include contrast and make them look different from one another.
Maybe make use of striped, patterned material for the shepherds and plain for Joseph. Perhaps make the shepherds’ waistcoats all in the very same material but various lengths and sizes so that you have a theme, but some variety.

Use white, satin-look material so that it has a result of purity. Do not be afraid to ask if any of the kids have an outfit of their own, as they invariably do if they enjoy dressing up in the house.
Have lots of gold and silver tinsel to make basic halos, and to use as belts to hitch up any tunics that are too long. If you have an extremely tall angel (or if, like me, you have some ‘good for a laugh’ teenagers joining in as comic angels!) just wear white pants and a white t-shirt. Again, ask whether they have their own, as many school t-shirts are plain white.

Use the basic tunic, hitched up with a belt of some sort; perhaps a dressing gown belt, or a really brightly colored cord (perhaps even a drape tieback cord).
Do not believe that the crowns have to be anything expensive. Simply a piece of silver or gold card wrapped around to the size of the head, with some stick on gems or shine will be okay.
Try to keep the mixes of cape and tunic flexible so that they will interchange to offer even more choices as your wardrobe of costumes hopefully grows for many years.

Nativity1largeWe tend to use blue as the color of Mary’s outfit to make her significantly distinct and recognisable as a character. The most flexible mix we have actually made use of has actually been a basic blue tunic of medium length which worked for little and medium sized kids. We also added a long blue gathered skirt which could be worn with it for a bigger sized kid to play Mary.

The Animals.
Fasten some fuzzy ears to ladies hairbands for the donkey, sheep, cows and so on. Make waistcoats as above in fleece product for sheep or black and white product for cattles etc, and wear appropriate color trousers or thick tights or leggings. (Do not forget to tuck a tail in at the back for full effect). Alternatively, make use of face paint, or masks.

Additional props.
Shepherds: Make the crook from a long piece of yard staff and use something flexible, like a coat-hanger, to make the crook shape, then cover it with duct tape. Keep in mind that you’ll need a cuddly lamb too.
Kings: You’ll require something to serve as gold: simply make a brick shape of cardboard if you don’t have anything ideal. For frankincense and myrrh, simply make use of a few bronzed looking containers (something that looks suitable for fluid).
A manger and a baby; honestly, I have actually been spoilt because we had assistance from a member of the congregation who made a manger for us! However, if you don’t have that advantage, simply use a wooden crate for the rustic look, or a cardboard box repainted to look wooden. Remember a doll, ideally with a basic cloth wrapped around him as the swaddling bands.

Final suggestion:
Do not try to make the costumes too perfect or ‘show-like’. The simpleness makes it more unique and charming! Even better, let the kids make their own crown, halo or animal mask etc for a personal touch.

Wardrobe Ideas For A Nativity Play

Uncovering The Ideal Nativity Script

I have constantly found this to be the greatest challenge of running a nativity play, especially as our church nativity consists of a varying size cast from year to year, of kids and youths of mixed ages, abilities and self-confidence, who can not go to many rehearsals. Thus, I have always looked for an adaptable script above all, as I invariably need to vary parts to fit the ages and abilities of the kids that are taking part.

kids_nativityOn top of this challenge, in recent times the children that participated didn’t intend to perform songs, although in the years when I did include songs for them to perform we had hardly any opportunity to practice and no assurance that the children would learn the lyrics (or, indeed, lines to act) anyway. And of course, the final fear has constantly been the eleventh hour changes that are necessary if someone is ill on the day, or has stage fright and refuses to perform! If you can connect to any of these issues, then the following thought process will assist you to consider all of the crucial issues and select an appropriate script.

1) What challenges/opportunities does your cast present?
– Is it an especially small or big cast?
– Do you even know the size of the cast at the point of choosing your script?
– Do you have any special needs to consider, or skills to showcase?
– Will the cast perform songs, learn lines, get dressed up, speak up, use a microphone or be especially awkward or nervous?
– How many rehearsals can you feasibly expect to achieve (without making it a chore!)?

2) Exactly what challenges/opportunities does your audience present?
– Would they enjoy taking part in some way? Maybe as innkeepers, or extra shepherds etc.
– Would they enjoy singing carols instead of listening to the children perform songs? (Hark the Herald Angels sing; While Shepherds watched their flocks by night; We 3 Kings of Orient are etc) Lots of carols will fit perfectly into the traditional nativity play.

3) What challenges/opportunities does your choice of music present?
– Do you have any musicians, and can they attend rehearsals?
– Do you have any sheet music? Do you require a licence to perform it? Do you have a backing track?
– Do you have any fledgling musicians, or hidden soloists?
– Do you require gaps in the play to prepare the next scene? Would it be handy to use a song to provide the opportunity?
– Will the audience want to participate? Would singing carols add to the atmosphere?

4) What challenges/opportunities does the venue you will perform the play present?
– Can you make use of different locations for different scenes?
– Do you have a raised spot: a natural place for the angels, or the shepherds on a hillside?
– Do you have a great place for the tableau scene to develop as the play advances and brand-new characters are introduced?
– Can you find a way to symbolise the journey to Bethlehem, and the journeying of the kings and the shepherds?

5) Exactly what challenges and opportunities do the costumes and props present?
– Do you have the ideal sized outfits for the range of ages in your cast, or will the availability of outfits restrict your choice of a script?
– Do you have the means to make props as needed? Have you got the basic nativity props

KidsNativityPlayIn summary, when you are looking for a nativity script, try to find something adaptable to suit various circumstances, with the versatility to make last minute changes without too much problem (a script which uses narrative is ideal). Go for a script with no licence fees to pay, and no restrictions on reusing songs with another script etc, and be sure of what you can achieve before you begin your search. Ideally, if at all possible, find a script that has been recommended or that shares feedbacks from fellow organisers or, better still, is composed by a fellow organiser: there is no substitute for experience, so make the most of someone else’s!

Uncovering The Ideal Nativity Script

The ABC Of Being In Charge Of A Nativity

Nativity-PlayAttempt to be ADAPTABLE and select a script with care.
BE PREPARED, and on the day have helpers everywhere!
COSTUMES should be basic; just tunics, waistcoats, wings
And dull clothing for the shepherds, with bright ones for the kings.
Ensure that you DELEGATE; don’t be afraid to ask
Share the work with others; don’t do each and every single job!

Most of all ENJOY yourself; produce some FAMILY FUN;.
You want a FRIENDLY atmosphere, when all is said and done!
For after all, you can not forget the reason for the play:.
To share the GOSPEL GOOD NEWS, and exactly what GOD has to say.
So keep a HAPPY HEART and a HEALTHY attitude,.

Do your very best to ensure that you INCLUDE.
Anybody who ‘d like to be included in the story,.
Making really sure that you offer JESUS all the glory.
Acknowledge him as KING and LORD in everything you say.
And put Him at the center, for it is His special day!

Now, think of the MUSIC, and exactly what songs that you might select.
Will the children sing them? Are there carols you could utilize?
Have you a MUSICIAN, and can they play on the day?
Must they go to rehearsals? Is there another way?
Make NO-ONE all important, for you can never know.
If somebody might be ill … and you can not halt the performance!
So ORGANISE ahead of time, and attempt to be PREPARED.
For all scenarios: make certain the work is shared.

PROPS can be an useful tool to provide the play some flair.
So don’t make all the costumes just about what people put on.
And don’t make the mistake of being desperate for PERFECTION:.
The fun is in the doing, not so much in the correction!
Keep the play quite flexible, so you could QUICKLY change.
Anything that situations make you re-arrange.

Plan REHEARSALS very carefully; how many will you require?
Don’t over-do the workload in your hoping to do well!
In fact, another way would be to choose a SIMPLE SCRIPT;.
No lines to learn, and one for which you’re currently equipped.
Keep in mind SONGS aren’t important, but the atmosphere is great.
If audiences get involved: could they participate?

christmas_nativity_playOr maybe you have unique TALENTS hidden in your cast:.
Perhaps you might find a way to showcase them, at last!
Picture, as the Kings are led to Bethlehem afar,.
The youngest toddler singing “TWINKLE, Twinkle Little Star” (Ah!).
These little moments serve to make your Christmas play UNIQUE,.
And that’s what makes it special, not the fact that it is sleek!

But if you have the aid of prepared VOLUNTEERS at hand.
It’s much less trouble to achieve the things that you have planned.
But clearly WILLING is what everyone must be:.
The soloists and actors have to be willing: that’s the key!
And if you can, find simple ways to add an XTRA in.
So, at a late rehearsal, someone brand-new could be joined in.
Then, remember, that YOU are all important on the day.
So have a back-up plan for if you can not attend the play!

The letter Z; a tricky one; it stands for the end.
So make sure that you’re careful of the message that you send out.
Make sure that you do not leave Jesus sleeping in the hay!
Celebrate Him proudly at the finish of the play.
Perhaps read a bible passage or a poem out.

Summarizing the message of what Christmas is about.
I wish that I have actually been useful: I’ve just one thing left to state.
I really hope that you have a successful Christmas play!

The ABC Of Being In Charge Of A Nativity

Costume Ideas For A Nativity Play

Nativity_Play_When I initially started arranging our Church Nativity Play I used to find outfits a big problem, due to the fact that we have a mixed age group of kids in our cast, and the amount of kids changes every year. One year Mary might be played by a petite 5 year old, and the following year by a tall 9 year old, so the same outfit wouldn’t work! Plus, if we were blessed with the exact same children continuing to attend, the ENTIRE CLOSET of outfits would need to be larger, not just a few. Thus, throughout the years, we have developed a stock of varying sized outfits that will certainly fit a number of purposes, but these are a couple of hints and suggestions to help those of you that are still working towards that.


1) Make T-shaped tunics, without any shaping and which are not planned to fit anybody in particular! Use a drawstring or elasticated neckline so that it will certainly go over a large or little head (Make sure that the opening isn’t so broad that it will not stay on a young child’s shoulders).
Make it medium length: too long for the youngest kids, who can then use it hitched up with a belt around their waist, and too short for older youngsters who can then just use it as a short tunic over a pair of pants.

2) Make basic waistcoats, once more without any shaping or sleeves: effectively just a square tunic which is divided down the front. It requires no buttons or fastenings of any sort.
Ensure that the neckline isn’t really too large, so that it will certainly stay on the youngest kid’s shoulders. Perhaps, you could even utilize a drawstring or some elastic around the edge of the neckline just like the tunics.

3) Make robes / capes for the kings in rich looking material like velour or satin, or in bright regal colors. Old curtains are great for the job, as you can thread a piece of cord through the top hem for the child to attach it around their neck like a cape. (CARE: We have occasionally discovered these to be so heavy at the back that the kids couldn’t keep the cape around their shoulders, or that they pulled on their neck. It was practical, in this case, to have a little fastener at the front of the cape, a little below the drawstring, or to shape the shoulders of the cape).
Alternatively, does anyone have a satin look kimono/dressing-gown? These will be just as effective!

4) Make wings for the angels making use of large pieces of silver or gold card (or just spray plain, white card gold or silver).
Position 2 holes on each side of the wing, roughly at the top and bottom of a kid’s armpit (if in doubt, make the holes too far apart, instead of too close!) Thread loose elastic through the holes and tie together, being generous with the elastic as a youngster has to be able to fit their arm through it.

Nativity_Play_15) Have lots of pieces of cord to make use of as belts to hitch up the tunics and hold on the waistcoats as required.

6) Have tinsel to make use of as halos for the angels, and as belts to hitch up the angels tunics.

7) Make basic headdresses making use of little rectangular pieces of cloth (traditionally teatowels!) and tied around the head with a piece of cord or material or, ideally, thick elastic headbands. Fold the overlap back upwards and tuck behind the elastic to look more professional and less ‘teatowel-like’!

Last idea:
Do not attempt to make the costumes too perfect or ‘show-like’. The simplicity makes it more special and cute! Even better, let the little ones make their own crown, halo or animal mask etc for a personal touch.

Costume Ideas For A Nativity Play

Suggestion On Writing Your Very Own Nativity Script

Christmas Play ScriptsIf, like me, you’ve regularly struggled to find a nativity script that would work for your church, school or group, why not compose your own? You understand the story, after all! Plus, you’re sure to have some old favorites that you can make use of as tunes, and if not, just make use of carols: everybody enjoys them, and the audience can sing them too. Tempted to give it a try?

Okay, so here’s some useful tips and ideas …

  • Familiarise yourself with Matthew Chapter 1 verses 18 to Chapter 2 verse 12 (The birth of Jesus and the visit of the kings). Cross reference this with Luke Chapter 2 verses 1 to 20 (The birth of Jesus and the shepherds’ visit). You might see that the kings’ visit is not exactly as the conventional nativity play represents it, but don’t let this be an issue to you. If it worries you, why not highlight the discovery within your play script, and enlighten the audience too!
  • Utilize the bible passages to give your play structure. You may use them as a framework for your story, or read proper passages to introduce a scene, or perhaps read them as the children are miming the story at the same time. Do you have a dramatized bible? If so, you might find that you can utilize it as a script, and just customise it as you choose.
  • Use narration as a means of keeping the play simple, without the danger of unexpected circumstances complexing things on the day. If some youngsters would like to have lines to say, limit them to the easy scenes, like Mary and Joseph finding a room, and the kings giving their gifts. The lines, by nature of the scene, would be straightforward and repetitive and, as the bible does not specify these particulars, are open to your very own creativeness.

One last tip:
Nativity Play ScriptsDo not go for the ideal nativity play, just a perfect atmosphere and a spirit of love. The intention of the nativity play is to tell the story of God’s love, so if you see your play enacted, accept the chaos and things that go wrong; those are the enduring memories that you can delight in laughing about. Bear in mind, the play is a celebration of Jesus’s birth, so it needs to be as much fun as anybody else’s birthday!

Managing A Christmas Nativity Play

For me, an excellent Christmas nativity play is one that joins everyone in a relaxed, friendly, family atmosphere of celebration (including the organiser!), with the focus on the genuine meaning of Christmas. So, the crucial thing for me is to keep the organization and running of the play as easy and relaxed as possible so that the inevitable stresses of the occasion do not win through.
So, below is some helpful information with pointers and ideas …