Paul rashly asked which bits of the Iona material I was actually using for the Crib service....and now that I look at it, of course, it turns out that what I ended up with is in fact a blend of the Iona material and the Christian Aid book Shine on Star of Bethlehem, that I mentioned earlier. We have a call to worship from the latter, the Christmas Eve responses by Ruth Burgess (I do so love her work) on page 230 of Candles and Conifers and, once the crib and the tableau are duly assembled, another set of responses by her, this time from Hay and Stardust (page 18)
Along the way we also have 3 carols, a virtuoso performance of Little Donkey featuring the vicar and a wall-paper roll (if you ask nicely, I'll tell you about it afterwards...meanwhile, let's just say that the "talk" is about 14feet long!) and somewhere around 100 assorted children, most of whom aren't regulars, trooping around in tinsel and tea towels. The idea is that during each carol a different set of characters places the figure that represents them safely in our stable, and then groups themselves round our utterly genuine mother and babe for maximum ahhhh factor during the inevitable Away in a Manger. I'm praying that we might manage half a second's silence when that ends, after which I propose to bless them and send them away promptly. Which book the blessing came from I'm currently unable to recall, but it seemed to fit rather well, and I also used it with the schools earlier this week.
Son of Mary, Son of God
We have joined in the worship of the angels;
May we never lose that
Like the shepherds,
We have rejoiced at the news of your birth;
Help us to share that message by our words
And by our actions
For your praise and glory. Amen.
The following morning, the All Age service (for which people are usually queing when we emerge from the parish Eucharist) will involve a similar mixture from those same sources, with a rather tacky talk about presents from the Curate (note to self...still need to sort out visual aid for this), a different selection of carols, including one with percussion mayhem ...but NO Away in a Manger. Thanks be to God!
Describing it all here, it sounds hideously wordy...I'm hoping that there is sufficient action to hold the attention despite this, and can only say that we have made considerable progress from the very weighty service included in The Promise of His Glory which was their normal fare until quite recently.