Suzybower's Blog

Creative ideas for church and youth ministry.

A pregnant pause: Christmas service in a stable

Things needed: Stable (or local B&B), candles, torches.

During advent last year we held one of our evening services in a stable. I was so unbelievably excited about this service from the time the idea popped into my head, until…well I’m still pretty excitable about it, and already looking forward to next year’s one. But despite this fact, I managed to tame my extrovert tendencies and not tell the whole world about it before the event. So it was all a bit of a surprise for everyone.

This is how the service ran:

– Everyone arrived at the church knowing only that we might be going outside for a bit, so they should wear warm clothing. I asked them all to write down on a piece of paper their answer to the question ‘What signifies Christmas for you?’ (If I had had the resources I would have got them to write this on a stone).

– We then walked to a local B&B (owned by a member of our church) which had a stable out the back. I had put some fairy lights up beforehand and made a couple of benches with hay bails and wooden planks. I had also placed a candle in the center on a table.

– As people arrived they all received a candle and a service sheet. The service was then fairly reflective and contained liturgy, carols, a poem, and some readings (if you would like a copy of the service sheet let me know).

– At the end of the service people were invited to respond to the message by making sure Jesus was the significant thing for them this Christmas (said in a less cheesy way than that!). If they wanted to, they could place the piece of paper (from the beginning of the service) around the central candle.

– We then enjoyed some hot spiced apple (Mulled wine spice with Capella apple juice) and mince pies.

If you don’t happen to have a stable near your church, you could always ask around at local B&B’s to see if you could go there and have a service out the back somewhere because there’s no room for you to have it in the inn…


  Christmas service in a stable « Suzybower's Blog wrote @

[…] The service plan was pretty similar to last years but with more carols (and more people!) added this time. Check it out here. […]

  therevbishop wrote @

This was a really special time – marks the start of Christmas for me. I loved the whole atmosphere and “messiness” of it and how it felt so real, not a sanitised version of events, but a genuine reality that could have been similar to the first Christmas.

And its not just about the event but the journey to and from the event that also makes this special. Walking a mile to the event makes you consider the fact that Mary and Joseph have a very long journey to their final destination.

Thanks Suzy.

  suzybower wrote @

Thanks Jon! Great to have you guys involved 🙂 I think I was more excited about it this year partly because it worked so well last time – I entered into the whole thing a bit more, and was less nervous. Which all helped to make it a pretty special evening for me.
Blessings, Suzy xx

  Jeanne Randall-Bodman wrote @

I love this idea! We’ve fallen into the habit of having a Christmas party the Sunday before Christmas with silly games and a gift swap.It’s nice, but how much more beautiful to go off site for worship in a stable!! I’d love to have a copy of your service sheet.

Thank you!


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