Christmas Eve: Welcome Home
Luke 2:6-14 New International Reader's Version 
6While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born. 7She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. That is because there was no guest room where they could stay.
8There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were taking care of their sheep. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news. It will bring great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. 12Here is how you will know I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven also appeared. They were praising God. They said,
14“May glory be given to God in the highest heaven!
And may peace be given to those he is pleased with on earth!”
Visual Aids: All cookie cutter shapes.
Cookie shape: Small gingerbread man to represent baby (Click here to download PDF template.)
We have come to the end of Advent. We have been preparing, baking cookie shape reminders, and waiting for this time to arrive. The time of waiting is over. Tonight is the beginning of Christmas. Tonight is a wonderful night! It is Christmas Eve. When the sun comes up tomorrow morning, and most all of us get up way too early, we will remember Jesus’ first coming, our Savior, was born as a tiny baby in a stable.
Mary and Joseph stayed in a stable because all the guest rooms in town were full, and no one would welcome them into their homes. Jesus, the Son of God, was born in a manger. Jesus was no ordinary baby. He was very special. He was very special to the prophet Jeremiah, who told the people that he was coming. He was very special to Malachi, who told of his purity. He was very special to John, who reminded all people that he would baptize with the Holy Spirit. He was very special to his mother, Mary, and to Joseph, who both had been told about his birth from angels. He was very special to the shepherds, who were amazed and even scared when the angels told them the news. The glory of God’s love is so bright that the shepherds trembled in fear at how close God was to them. At Christmastime, we are amazed at the way God’s good news comes to us. The savior of the world did not come as a rich and powerful king. In fact, the rich rulers and powerful kings felt threatened by this baby and would-be king. Christ comes as a little baby lying in a manger.
What cookie cutter shape do you think that we should prepare and bake this time? (Allow children to choose. This one may be a little more difficult for them.) Notice that there are two different gingerbread men that are two different sizes. I wonder if Jesus comes to us as a baby in a manger, which shape best suggests this? That is right, the smaller gingerbread man. That night, in a stable in Bethlehem, Jesus was born and placed in a manger. And all who were there loved him. What an amazing and wonderful surprise!
- I wonder how the shepherds felt when the angel told of the good news of the birth.
- I wonder if all who were there realized all the amazing things Jesus would do when he grew up.
- I wonder how you can share that same amazement and excitement of the good news of Jesus’ birth as you spend Christmas day with your loved ones.
Prayer: God of wonder and surprises, the good news of Christmas is so big and amazing. Fill us each with wonder, excitement, and surprise at the great joy of Jesus’ birth. Amen.