A Shepherd’s tale!

For three days in December about twenty members of the St. John’s congregation spent an exhilarating three days dressed (semi-accurately) as first century shepherds, wise men and angels to share the Christmas Story with a few hundred children, teachers, adults and an Ofsted inspector.

‘The Christmas Tour’ is now in its eleventh year at St. John’s and has gone from strength to strength with many of the local Harborne schools seeing it as a festive highlight. During the Tour, a class of pupils are taken ‘back in time’ to experience the Nativity story, first hand from the main characters who before they have only heard about. We are very blessed to have such a number of different rooms in our church and we utilise most of them as the children are lead through the shepherd’s fields to a Bethlehem stable to Herod’s palace and a Jerusalem temple. This year the character who acts as Tour Guide, was Sam Shepherd (Bible evidence for his existence still pending) and I had the pleasure of portraying him and herding the children from room to room. On the Thursday and Friday classes from several different schools were our guests and on the Saturday the Tour was opened up to any parents and their children from local churches and the community.

The main question may be why we give up our time to do this particular piece of Christmas outreach. For the children it provides a fresh way to see the Nativity tale. We live in a very visual world and sometimes seeing a story portrayed by very talented actors (evidence still pending) can be more memorable and effective than hearing a story read. Not only is the Christmas story engaging but the movement from room to room and the appearance of different characters in various garbs keeps the children interested. This isn’t merely restricted to the children, even for the adults seeing a well known story retold in a different style can strike them in a new way. As we perform what we believe to be the most important story you can hear at Christmas we want it to be something that all who see it can take away and think about during the hustle and bustle of their Yuletide time. We were extra fortunate in that one of the schools were in the middle of an Ofsted inspection and brought one of the inspectors along to view the story, and she definitely seemed to enjoy it.

And for us who are involved, we get to share a timeless exiting story with people who need to hear it. It may be exhausting doing all the performances but the sight of the happy faces of people of all ages enjoying it energizes us to keep going. As you tell the story again and again, you come to think about the amazing story we’re telling and what it meant for God to send his only son to earth for us. How it really was Good News that we need to share, news for everyone from the low down shepherds to the cultured wise men. Good news for everyone, part of God’s plan to save all of his people through an act of amazing love. The Christmas Tour was an immense privilege to be a part of, something which we pray will continue for many more Christmas’s as we share our Good News.

Matt Lowe
December 2013

18th Dec 2013 Posted in: News, St John's Stories by Fran Varley 1

One Response

  1. Helen Nixon says:

    Many thanks to all involved in the Christmas Tour for your efforts and commitment – it is a wonderful event to offer to our local community, especially to the schools

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