Better late than never!  Here are photos of the St Mary’s ‘scratch’ nativity from Christmas 2015. In a new venture for us we used the ‘No-rehearsal-nativity’ by Janine Gillion as the basis for the December All Age service in our small village church.

Mary, Joseph and the donkey(!) have arrived in Bethlehem
The shepherds (with tea towels) travel to the stable
Wisemen travel to the stable
The full tableau of all ages

The Church Times review of the No-rehearsal-nativity noted that it would be too complicated to stage in a small church.  Not at all.

We have a mixed age congregation who are happy to throw themselves into most things, so we invited adults and children to come in costume.  Families were especially invited to just come along and join in.  We provided tinsel, tea towels and crowns as simple props so anyone could be involved and in the event almost everyone ended up at the front in the final tableau in one role or another.

Mary and Joseph were set up beforehand, as were a lead angel, shepherd and wiseman to marshal the others (of course, you can have as many angels, shepherds and ‘wisepeople’ as you like), and with a few judicious stage directions from the narrator most people were in the right place most of the time (and it didn’t matter when they weren’t).  Interleaved with carols, the no-rehearsal-nativity is narrator-led with no lines to learn and many commented afterwards that they loved this relaxed approach.  It was brilliant fun with much laughter and a good relationship-building activity both for regular congregation and for friends.

Afterwards we took a quiet moment to read the Magnificat together – adults then using a sheet and questions to reflect on Mary’s role and ours in welcoming the Christ-child, and the children drawing Mary (with the angel, on the donkey, or with the baby) onto card to hang on our Jesse Tree.