Advent and Christmas pageants are part of many Moravian congregations' celebrations. Christian Educators from around the Moravian Church in America offer these ides for physically distant yet spiritually together pageants for families and congregations to try together. (Photo above from Our Savior's Moravian Church by Greg Behrend.)
Ask each family to video (with their cell phone) their family’s nativity set(s). The video should include the family sharing reflections on their nativity. (For example: Why is this nativity special to your family? Was it a gift, if so from whom? Where is it displayed in the home, etc. The family should provide any other information they feel is important.) Once recorded, the video should be forwarded to the individual who is compiling the final presentation. The coordinator should end the presentation with the story of first crèche (click here to download the story) and a prerecorded song. It can then be shared through Zoom with the congregation providing a personal atmosphere by seeing members in their decorated homes.
special people of the nativity
Special People of the Nativity: Ask each family unit to choose a favorite person from the nativity story and record why they chose that person. Put together a story of the faces meeting at Jesus’ birth and find scripture and song to go with it.
Unwrapping the creche
During November, deliver a bag with an item from a Nativity set in it. Ask the family to record their unwrapping the crèche piece and what significance this character has to the Nativity story. On the pageant day, ask families at a designated time to take their piece and place it into the scene located at a specific location. As they return their piece, you may want to provide a gift bag for them to take. Play the recorded reactions as a video on Zoom or YouTube. End with the book “Unwrapping the Creche” by Barbara Younger (available through the Southern Province Resource Center phone: 336-722-8126).
A Is for angel
“A Is for Angel: A Christmas Alphabet and Activity Book” by Debbie Trafton O’Neal, (available through the Southern Province Resource Center phone: 336-722-8126). Give each family a letter of the alphabet and a piece of poster board. The family should be recorded on a cell phone as they illustrate their letter and read the appropriate verse such as “A is for angels who first shared the news.” Have the videos sent to someone who would compile them into a presentation to be shared through Zoom or YouTube. Hymns prerecorded could be inserted.
what god wants for christmas
The following is based on “What God Wants For Christmas” by Amy Bradford, Family Life Publishing ©2005 (available through the Southern Province Resource Center phone: 336-722-8126). It contains seven gift boxes -- six contain characters in the Christmas story and the seventh contains a mirror, a pop-up manger scene, poem for each box. This could easily be done on Zoom. The script is here (click to download) but if you decide you want to use this, it would be best to buy the book. Give each family a box ahead of time along with a copy of the poem. As you call out a number, that family is zoomed in on and they show what is in box and one family member reads the poem
advent in a bag
Advent in a Bag: At an appointed time, ask groups to pick up a bag (or deliver) that contains a simple biblical costume and a reading. These costumes could come from the costume closet or made up. On the day of the pageant the people will open their bags and put on the costume and do the following play on Zoom. It could be pre-recorded for distribution and used later.
The script (click to download) is designed to be narrated on Zoom. Mary, angel, and Joseph have speaking parts. The other characters are highlighted on Zoom frame when their turn comes. Music can be pre-recorded.
At www.illustratedministry.com, you may purchase a complete Christmas Pageant designed for online use. Under “products” you will find a link to “Advent” which contains a virtual Christmas pageant for churches of all sizes. Centered on the narratives surrounding Jesus’ birth from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, this is like your traditional Christmas pageant but designed to be an expandable, shrinkable, pre-recordable, Zoom-able, intergenerational pageant that can be adapted to your setting. In addition to the script, it has fantastic background scenes to use for online productions.
tableau christmas pageant
Evie Blum and New Philadelphia Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, N.C. developed this Tableau Christmas Pageant which can be used during Advent or on Christmas Eve -- in whatever platform your congregation is planning for worship -- recorded or live-stream. For instructions and accompanying files, click here.