Intergenerational family friendly Christmas Eve Worship Service

18 12 2016

It is 2014 and in 2009 I posted a note on Kidology.org forums regarding an intergenerational Christmas Eve service we had put together for our smaller congregation. Every year since then I have received requests to access a copy of the service order and this year I’ve received three requests! I know I am one who is always on the search for resources and I realized the link on my post at Kidology is no longer accessible (from dropbox way back when!) so I’m simply going to post the service here for folks to freely borrow and edit to adapt to your congregational settings – if you think it is something you’d like to use. Here is the message I left in the forums in 2009:

I have a family friendly worship service we put together for 2008 involving telling the story of Jesus’ Birth using Christmas hymns/carol with some call and response and interactive.  I’ll testify that it is very user friendly and can be done with minimal staffing because it ended up being a really bad snow & ice year in Seattle where we almost cancelled Christmas Eve worship and we had 15 or so folks show up. I had no idea who was even going to be able to make it so I could barely assign parts and we just went with the flow. The Charlie Brown clip didn’t happen due to technical difficulties but it all went along smoothly and it was a wonderfully intimate Christmas Eve service for children and adults alike!

I’d like to add that the ideas of telling the nativity story through hymns and history of hymns came from a wonderful LCPC congregation member, Jackie Brotnov. I loved that she approached me with her idea, wondering whether it had any value… and of course it did! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Eve Family Worship
Written for Lake City Presbyterian Church
by Jackie Brotnov and Leena Prindle, December 2008

Welcome Greeting

Lighting of the Advent Candles

One: We are a people of hope. Our hearts are full of anticipation for the coming of our beloved Christ Child. For God is to be among us and we will see a great light in the midst of our night. Let us light the Candle of Hope. (Light the first purple/blue candle)

Two: We are a people who seek peace. We know that God has told us to turn our weapons of war into instruments that benefit all humanity. In the name of that Child who was born long ago to become the Prince of Peace, we now light the Candle of Peace. (Light the second purple/blue candle)

Three: We are a people who seek to be brought together by the love of Christ. Our faith teaches us that God gives us unconditional love and forgiveness. Acknowledging God’s free gift of grace, we light the Candle of Love. (Light the third pink candle)

Four: Joy to the world! Our God is now coming to bring us “good news.” May we sing songs of praise and gladness. We know that our Savior reigns. Let us light the Candle of Joy. (Light the fourth purple/blue candle)

Call to worship:

Leader: Come all who are faithful and all who seek join in your lives.

People: It is the season to sing praises to God for the Christ Child is near.

Leader: The symbols of hope, peace, love, and joy shine brightly in our hearts.

People: May they remain with us through the year.

Leader: We now share a promise that was fulfilled by God:

All: Than our beloved Child is born and will call us to new lives of love, joy, and faith in action. Amen.

 “Peanuts- A Charlie Brown Christmas” Clip (approx. 2 mins)

Voice: Long ago, in a far away land, a baby boy was born. We celebrate his birthday on Christmas Day. Because he was such an exceptional baby, many stories have been written about his life, death, and resurrection. The stories are important because they tell us how much God loves us and why we need to follow Jesus.We can find all this written in the holy Bible and even in cartoon Christmas specials on television.

Voice: Another way to learn about this baby, Jesus, is through songs telling us about him. Almost all of Jesus’ birth can be told through music, by musicians and composers who took the stories from the Bible. They had read their Bibles and wanted people to have another way of learning about Jesus.

Voice: But if you didn’t have a Bible to read, you would still know through songs where Jesus was born, and who he was. In the Old Testment, prophets spoke about the coming of a Messiah – they were talking about Jesus.This song was written in anticipation of a Messiah, a Savior, who would come and help the people. Let’s listen:

Hymn: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

Voice: We also know what happened when Jesus was born. Do you remember reading in your Bible where he was born? Who was there? What was the name of the town? What happened whe the shepherds saw the star? All of these answers are found in the Bible and in music and poems people have written.They are also found in music, like in the hymn “Once in Royal David’s City” and “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”. Royal David refers to King David.

Once in Royal David’s City stood a lowly cattle shed, Where a mother laid her baby in a manger for his head. Mary was that mother mild. Jesus Christ her little child.

Hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

The holy family enters. Mary, carrying the baby, and Joseph, come behind the lectern and go to the large pulpit and just sit down, quietly, peacefully, as Mary cradles the baby.

Voice: So what have we learned through these songs? People were looking for a Savior. Jesus was born – in Bethlehem. We learn the name of his mother, Mary,and the baby king’s name – Jesus.

Voice: Let’s continue traveling through familiar songs and see what else we can discover. “Away in a Manger” is a favorite of children and grownups alike, and it was written by Martin Luther for his own children. This used to be called “Luther’s Cradle Song” and sometimes children would make a ‘cradle for Jesus’ with their arms when singing. Some folks sing it very softly, so they don’t wake the baby. Can we sing it together?

Hymn: “Away in the Manger “

Voice: We have learned the shepherds were frightened that night, and the angels calmed their fears. They wanted to see for themselves, and so came to the manger, which also had animals keeping warm.

Hymn: “The First Noel”

Voice: Later, some people brought gifts to Jesus. Do you know what they were? Gold, frankincense and Myrrh – gifts for a king. If you could bring a gift to Jesus what would you bring? Write it down in words or draw a picture on the gift wrap card you received. You can bring it forward during our offering time and give your gift to baby Jesus.

Leader: Our offering tonight is for……fill in the blanks but not your own church – someone else instead. After our Prayer of Dedication of the offering, please come forward and place your offering in the bowl provided and take a taper. If you have not brought anything with you, don’t worry, just come and take a taper. Form a large circle around the church instead of returning to your seat.

Prayer of Dedication of Offering

L    It was cold and Mary and Joseph were fearful.

P    But that did not stop the birth.

L    They were poor and had no place fitting for their child.

P    But that did not stop the birth.

L    They were uncertain about what God wanted from them.

P    But that did not stop the birth.

L    Today we are still sometimes cold and fearful, certainly poor in many ways.

P    We often feel we have no place and are unclear about what God wants of us.

L    But these things did not stop the birth of Jesus then, nor will they now.

P    Lord Jesus be born in us today.

L    Like Mary and Joseph, who trusted in your grace, we offer ourselves and our gifts to you.  Bless our offering and our every thought and our every action, that Christ may be revealed through them to the world that is yet in darkness. Amen.

Offering (Adults and children come forward to offer their gifts, take a taper and join in circle around sanctuary)

Offertory/offering Hymn “O Come All Ye Faithful”

Lighting the Christ Candle and Prayer.

Leader: “Tonight is the night we have all been waiting for. Our Advent wreath will now be completed by the lighting of our Christ candle. “For unto us a child is given, unto us a Savior is born and the order of the world will be upon his shoulders.” With the birth of Jesus, our lives will be forever changed. We will be transformed by his model and message. We light this candle to represent that Christ is truly the center of our lives.”

(Light the Christ candle, leader lights taper off the Christ candle and light the tapers of the people on each side of them. Encourage those persons to light the taper of the person next to them and so on).

Leader:  As Jesus’ light travels around the circle, we pray that God’s love and songs of the birth of Jesus will be in everyone’s hearts tonight and always.

Voice: Our story told through music and song continues, with many more Christmas hymns that take us all the way, from Advent to Christmas to Epiphany. It’s a wonderful journey we can take together and use to bring the light of Jesus to our friends, family, and the rest of the world. There is one more song for us to sing, and everyone can sing together: “Silent Night”. Let’s just stay here while the candles are lit, be very, very careful and sing “Silent night”.

Hymn: Silent Night

Benediction

May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.

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Insecurities and Being Mom to Active Girls

8 03 2016

I keep thinking I’m getting better at not being  competitive or anxious mother, and then something happens with my daughters and I realize I have all the feelings of anxiety turned up on high and wonder how in the world did I allow myself to get there?

I think I land in a space with other parents who are ramped up for their children and it rubs off on me. Plus, all my own insecurities and experiences from childhood pop up and I reflect them on my girls – despite all the times I tell myself I’m NOT going to do that. It just happens and takes me by surprise!

This month is intense for me as mom and Doug as dad. Some people might ask “why do you let yourself get SO busy” and it just works out that these middle two weeks of March are the moment at which every activity collides and all chaos ensues in our household – including my competitive parenting anxiety.

  • So softball started up last week for both girls – check!
  • It is girl scout cookie selling season – thankfully only for one girl this byear – check!
  • The school play in a week auditions (wondering if they’ll get in or not)/rehearsals/performance – check!
  • Getting close to martial arts testing for one girl – check!
  • School music concerts galore for both girls – check!
  • colds and ear infections keeping kiddos home from school – check!

Then let’s add mom and dad’s list:

  • Final papers, group projects, and take-home essay exams two weeks for my seminary program – check!
  • Structural engineering season in full swing meaning extra pay (yay!) and extra hours for Doug at work – check!
  • Easter is coming in a few weeks (ministry fun times for our family!)
  • Washing machine dead and finding time to bring in a repair person, order parts, bring in repair person again – check! (thank God for generous neighbors sharing their machines!)
  • Doug is semi-acting as interim interim church choir director for our church choir
  • Doug is coaching Katie’s softball team
  • We decided on no nanny this year to save some money, which means Doug is coming home early when I have my classes in the evenings twice a week

Um… there is more, there has to be because that is just how our life works in March! Can I apply the “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” weather metaphor to our family life?

I’m noticing the parent list is a little longer than the kids list – ha! What the heck am I worried about then when it comes to our girls? It is interesting because when I think about my childhood experiences growing up – I tried for several things and I was ‘OK’ but not ever really the best at anything. I was involved in a lot of activities but I was going to places where people encouraged me to try or empowered me in leadership. It wasn’t perfection but I’m glad I had opportunities to learn – sometimes very painfully – about myself. Most of the things I did on my own volition as result of being a child of a single parent family and my mom rarely was able to be a part of my activities either because she worked full time at the hospital or finances. My dad usually lived too far away to participate. Maybe I had to prove myself by just trying and seeing if I could actually do something.

I wonder if because I don’t expect perfection from my children – just want to see them do the best for themselves even if they aren’t the best at what they do? And when they are good at what they are doing, because I have a hard time having confidence in my own abilities, I have difficulty accepting and allowing myself to believe they truly are talented at what they do. I think I also get anxious and competitive when I see it in other parents because I’m a people-pleaser and I want others to accept and like my kids – even if they aren’t the best at whatever activity they are pursuing.

Maybe competitive isn’t even the right word to use, maybe concerned is a better word. I’m concerned that my children get to have a variety of experiences, I’m concerned that they have a positive experience or at least a parent or other trusted adult to fall back on who will still accept and encourage them even when they aren’t the best – I think this is what I missed sometimes in my own childhood activities, even with plenty of mentorship in faith and getting through school. I do remember my mother wanting us to do well and was sometimes sad if we weren’t the best and sometimes upset at the one who did better – usually because of their standing in society. I wonder if I reflect my standing in society  that I sometimes think people don’t know what to do with – mom, church childrens and youth minister, and now forever seminary graduate student – and worry how that affects my children’s abilities in their activities. So I play the comparison and anxiety game without realizing until it is too late.

Goodness, the things we deal with as parents, without even realizing it, when dealing with the rest of our family’s happenings!

Praying for peace for this annual season of chaos. Amen





Lent De-clutter Day 2

11 02 2016

I’m going to keep photo sharing and blogging through this as much as possible. Not to brag but to publicly hold myself accountable and have something to show myself in the end. 

Day 2 and I’m still here, I often will forget and then day 2 becomes day 3! I also have a large seminary assignment and some other family details (daughters class Valentines and one of them has a big school presentation due tomorrow). 

Embarrassing that our house gets so gross when we are busy. But this is the clutter I cleared while praying today. It is NOT the same side table from Day 1, but the twin. I find it ironic that I was first drawn to the clutter surrounding these two pieces of furniture. They belonged to my Grandma Bette. Bette is my mother’s mother who passed away just over 15 years ago. 

I have difficult memories with my grandmothers, not abusive just not many happy or great memories with them. If there is anything positive that came from them it is that my parents despite divorce, distance, and other difficulties make up for the lack of relationship by keeping in touch and connecting with my daughters, nieces, and nephews to the best of their abilities. My daughters know they are loved by their grandparents – something I felt my grandparents felt they were forced to try to do. I am grateful for my parents and their love for my children. 

Wow. All that from a set of old brown side tables that used to smell like cigarette smoke!

#Lent2016 #declutter #sabbath #worship #hospitality #formyfamily #focus 

 
In memory …  





Bible Stories Book Review and a Giveaway Drawing – Treasury of Bible Stories: Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times by Kelly Pulley

15 09 2014

I was given opportunity to review a new a new children’s Bible stories book while it is on a blog tour for David C. Cook.

Here is a video trailer featuring Kelly Pulley’s rhyming Treasury of Bible Stories:

And here are my thoughts and impressions on the Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley

Definitely a book for 4-8 year olds… if you have a child ready to snuggle up and read or listen to a story, you can start right in. I have a wiggly 7 year old daughter, she is just learning to read and I asked her to help review the book with me. She read the first page on her own – outloud to me – and then she said “This is good, but I think preschoolers and kindergartners who aren’t reading yet would like it better.” I think it also was the timing – if I had her attention and read it as a bed time story or as a children’s sermon story where I already have her as a captive audience then maybe she would have been more receptive.

I have to say I was surprised by how few stories are covered in this book – the author seems to have chosen quality over quantity, which is not a bad thing – making it easier to read through the book with your children. The stories are more like long poems that are very rhythmic – think Dr. Suess style and fun to read outloud. When I first received the book I had hoped to use it with our upcoming Sunday School lessons on the Jesus feeding the 5000 with a few fish and loaves shared by a young child. Sadly, the story was not in the book. I have tried to figure out if there was a pattern to the stories chosen, and I’m not sure there is – perhaps these are some of the author’s favorites or stories that were designed to follow a set of Sunday school lessons.

So who do I recommend pick up this book??

  • If you or your child like rhyming – this book is for you.
  • If you are looking for a new Bible stories book to share with your young child – give this one a try.
  • If you are wanting to read rhythmic stories to children in a nursery or preschool setting – this is a great book to engage little ears.
  • If you’re wanting to add a book to your church or Sunday school’s children’s ministry library – I’d recommend you consider this for your shelf.

WIN A COPY of TREASURY OF BIBLE STORIES by Kelly Pulley!!

If you’d like a copy of this book, I have an opportunity to give away one free Treasury of Bible Stories book to one special random drawing winner.

How to Enter (now through Sept 20th):

  1. Leave your name and reason why you’d like a copy of this book in the comments below for one entry.
  2. Share this post via Facebook, Twittter, Google+, and even pin to Pinterest and then leave a comment telling me where you’ve shared.

I’ll draw a name at 10:00 a.m  on Saturday, Sept. 20th, 2014 – get your entries in and if you think of someone else who might love this book, be sure to share this post with them so they can enter as well.

In the meantime, if you’d like to purchase the book you can find it at:

David C. Cook  | ChristianBooks.com  | Lifeway Christian Books

Family Christian Books | Barnes and NobleAmazon.com

BTW – the only compensation I receive for this post is a copy of the book to use for review and promise of a giveaway book to my readers upon review.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment to enter the drawing!!





Bouncing Back into Blogging

27 03 2014

I’m coming out of  a long dark blogging hiatus… My blog has been silent for a while. Somewhat unintentionally and somewhat intentionally.

A crazy hard tragedy struck my extended family in November last year in an incredibly exponentially emotional manner. I wanted to write about it, but I in the midst of my role as a caregiver, supporter, and mourner I didn’t know how. I could pour out my emotions, but I didn’t want to hurt anyone in my family any deeper. I could write about what had happened, but I didn’t have all the details and I didn’t know if I had permission.  I have posted little bits and pieces via Twitter and Facebook, but more as a plea for prayer rather than a place to process.

As time has passed, I have almost blogged: a few months ago I typed into my iPhone WordPress app which then didn’t post a thing and deleted everything I typed up. Ah, well I guess it wasn’t the right time. I decided I’d be okay with that.

Next, the Seattle Seahawks went to playoffs and the SuperBowl, which consumed a lot of family energy. My husband is one of those hardcore born-in-Seattle sports fan – and our daughters are following suit. I’m happy just to help clean the house and play hostess while others come hang out and have fun together watching a sport I’m still trying to figure out in the almost 20 years I’ve known my husband.

THEN, it was my season of craziness as a mom – chaired the committee to host two PTA Science Nights at my girls’ school, launched into a first year of selling Girl Scout cookies with each girl in a troop, (I really wanted to blog about these things, but alas no remaining time or energy!), and Softball season began for both girls. All this in the span of 2 weeks time. I pretty much was crazy. Did I mention my husband and I both work full-time jobs and already chauffer them to piano lessons and one to martial arts class and the other took up playing cello in her 4th grade orchestra (oh yeah, she played basketball in Fall/winter too)?? What. Was. I. Thinking?!? I clearly wasn’t.

Ah well, I guess it is good to get all these experiences out of the way early on so they can be well rounded and figure out what they want to do in life. They’ll need to figure it out now, so they will have the time to help their own children (should they be parents!) in the future. Sheesh!

Only took a little insomnia and a Pinterest inspired brownie recipe that is seriously yummy at 1:30 a.m. to get me going. You must try this Fake Betty Crocker Brownie Mix! It took longer to heat the oven than it took me to pull out the ingredients and mix up the batter. My next goal is to see if I can create a gluten free, vegan version that is potentially just as easy and delicious to make. Any suggestions??

In my next post I’ll talk about my family tragedy. Because it needs to be documented and I need the processing.





Winter Break 2011

3 01 2012

Winter Vacation… One day to go for my girls. Somewhat ended for me yesterday. But it is difficult to call ministry work when it involves my own children. (BTW if you are clicking on this through Facebook and wondering why I have multiple updates, it is because I’m attempting my first post via my new iPad and “update” is near the words I wanted to edit – gotta love new technology).

I have to say it has been a very full vacation time. Ellie started break on the 17th and the next morning we drove to Leavenworth, in the mountains, for a day to support Doug playing with the Brassband Northwest. We listened to them play several holiday tunes, stood in line forever for the women’s restroom, sipped hot cocoa from the Kiwanis, and didn’t brave he shops due to it being an incredibly touristy holiday weekend. Well, except for the toy store selling sleds for the sled hill near the gazebo. Doug pushed the girls down it and I thought they were going to die!

While in Leavenworth, I met a Facebook friend in real life… We’ve actually met before but vaguely recall. Luke, also known as L-Bow the Clown, is a cousin from my stepdad’s side of the family. He lives nearby and performs in a singing group that ended up performing immediately following BBNW. It was fun to connect, figure out how we might be related, and hear about his then soon to be born daughter. If you’re in Leavenworth for a festival – he is the fire eating clown on a unicycle. Look him up for your child’s next birthday! I hope my girls get to see him perform some day.

Monday during the day we had playdate at the church with some friends, then traveled to Molbak’s nursery for our tradition of choosing a piece to add to our Fontanini nativity set (and viewing, rather than breaking, all the beautiful and fragile ornaments). Itbis fun to do this with my girls. That night we took them to see Santa for pictures at the mall, we determined with Ellie that Santa has a deal and direct line with toy companies for certain toy items (like American Girl Dolls), so the elves don’t have to make those. Then wevhadca nice family dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Lynnwood – have you spotted the rubber ducky on the trolley there yet??

During the rest of the week, Ellie & Katie spent Tuesday through Friday with Doug’s parents. This has somewhat become a tradition where they take the girls Christmas shopping for us. It also allows for us to get a date night or two in, gift shop for our girls, and also work extra hours at our jobs if needed. We ended up discovering that in Bothell, Applebees is pretty much the only place open – on a week night – past 10pm for late dinners. They also have a happy hour beginning at 9pm. The Long Island Ice Teas are a bit watered down, but I highly recommend their Lemon Drop martinis. 🙂 it was a good couple of days for all of us.

Then, suddenly, it was Christmas Eve on Saturday! We spent the midday with my dad, his girlfriend, my sister and her crew, and my brother’s fiancé and children, my brother ended up being called into work. It was a nice time filled with pizza, plenty of food, and gifts… especially dolls for the granddaughters. Doug had a fun time shopping for our 2 year old nephew since everything tends to be quite girly in our home. After that celebration we ran down to Seattle for two Christmas Eve services. I was on the docket for children’s sermons, while Doug sang in the choir. Our girls did reasonably well, although we learned dolls in worship do not work very well for our family, as Katie tossed a few items in the air when her tolerance level was low.

The past several years, we’ve rushed from worship tobdinnerbwith my mom/stepdad/sibs on Chritmas eve. My mom & Stepdad moved to Wauconda,WA earlier this year which has caused us to change up our Easter, Thanksgiving, an Christmas traditions. I’ll be honest that this change was not easy for me. My family and life constantly changed through my childhood and for 35 years I’ve clung to holiday traditions as a constant. This year I learned sometimes I just have to suck it up and be OK with not having things the way I remember them to be. My heart broke a bit when I called my mother to wish her Merry Christmas and could tell was probably harder for her, than for me. I also found my attitude towards change ironic, since my career and life is so much about being a catalyst and advocate for change of heart and sometimes tradition.

Christmas Day we had a short time at home, then whisked off to worship – in our Pajamas! I love telling of baby Jesus to little ones while holding a baby doll.They all want to hold him and have so much wonder in their eyes. And the added feature of all of us in our jammies was a special touch. After worship was gifts with Doug’s parents and Skype time with my bro & sis in law and nephew. Christmas dinner was spent with a crew of 20+ folks including Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandfather on Doug’s mother’s side. It was really great to see them all, I’m so blessed to be in their family.

I took time off from work because I have umpteen vacation hours to use and to spend time with Ellie and Katie. One day I took them to daycare so I could go to the dentist and run a couple errands. Most of the days we’ve filled with recovering, cleaning, and playdating. We even held a New Year’s Eve party last minute..l complete with fondue, Killer Bunnies, and children ringing in the new year dancing to music swaying glow sticks in the dark. It was a blast to celebrate with friends from various circles and my brother’s family.

Today we started the morning with Doug baking cinnamon rolls and ended with him baking a delicious quiche. Benefits of a free holiday off or him. The girls and I hosted Drop In Playtime at the church, came home for lunch, got professional manicures (a first for them!), and shopped or way too long at Target to exchange doubled gifts and use gift cards. Tomorrow Doug plans to take them sledding while I am at work praying they all return home alive. Wednesday is back to school and work for us all.

Definitely a full winter break!

Happy New to you and those you love!!








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