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The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story (2010 version) – as told by the children of St Paul’s Anglican Church, Auckland, NZ.

NB. at the end: “based on a true story”

ps. have you thought of producing something like this in your community or parish? If you think it is difficult, ask some teenagers to do it for you. You involve different ages in a positive venture, place something of value on YouTube (outreach), and can then embed it on the front page of your up-to-date community/parish website.
pps. there’s still time. Do it this Sunday.
ppps. the above video has had 17,539 views already – how often do you get a piece you write viewed by that number? (that’s 5,000 in the last 8 hours since I was preparing this post!)
pppps. for free – no printing, no circulating newsletters, just the camera and laptop that’s already there; somewhere in your community. With a smiling group of teenagers who have been given a job they love doing to do. And having their skills and contribution and participation appreciated and affirmed.

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23 thoughts on “The Christmas Story”

  1. That is absolutely brilliant! I especially love the wise man who doesn’t come along at first – and the fact that they’re all having so much fun! Do you know whether there is any way of downloading this to play offline? It would be great to use in a service.

  2. I now have a NEW favorite Christmas story!
    Simply lovely.
    Nothing more wonderful that kids keeping it real for the King.
    I will be doing my part to share it with others.
    Merry Christmas.

    1. Huh – David?! No apology necessary whatsoever. I would rather have people share resources with me and with others here more than once, rather than find people are not sure if they should post stuff here. If there was an issue, I would have held back the posting and let you know privately.

  3. This is awesome both in its humorousness and in its good humor; and tells the story as well as anything I can remember seeing.

  4. Ah, I am struggling with my inner Grinch! To be honest, I can never make up my mind about the genre of the infant nativity play, whether it teaches children well or whether the ‘cutie’ factor overwhelms (and infantilises) the actual story, and generations of biblical illiterates go on believing that ‘three wise men’ arrive at ‘the stable’ on Christmas Day. Still, that’s folk art for you, and when our kids were young we did a nativity play at home on Christmas Eve.
    At least St Paul’s Symonds Street has a good crowd of young families now after years of decline, thanks to an infusion of life from London. After last year’s horror, I shudder to think what St Matthew’s-in-the-City would come up with if they tried this!

  5. I’m a few days late in watching this, but glad I caught it before Christmas. I will definitely be sharing this one. I love the party with glow sticks at the end!

  6. I’m sorry to have seen this after Christmas – it has arrived in my email inbox and I have shared it with others.

    A lovely, lovely version of the Nativity, simply wonderful. Thank you. 🙂

    1. You don’t need to think of this as being “after Christmas”, Hayley 🙂 It’s the fourth day OF Christmas. I will keep posting Christmas things for a while – even though there isn’t agreement when Christmas ends.

  7. I read this post and these comments about a month ago, but have come back to them as I feel compelled to respond. I am one of the St Paul’s people responsible for making this film as part of our GLOW Carols by Glowstick event: which I also helped drive.

    While I appreciate the sentiment of the encouragement given here to create films like this, I want people to realize that these things aren’t just pulled together over a weekend with some keen teenagers and a laptop. GLOW and The Christmas Story film were the result of hundreds of hours of time given by the individuals, families, businesses and staff of St Paul’s over many months last year. It’s our gift to our city. And even though the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of time given by creative and production professionals cost nothing, many more hours and prayers were needed to raise the generous sponsorship for most of the significant out-of-pocket expenses.

    Also, this film is about the 20th we have produced together over the last seven years or so. Not to mention the many other events, exhibitions and workshops we have created.

    So I too want to encourage other churches to get creative, and get productive. And to start now. And to not just talk about it. But also, to think big and aim high, and commit yourselves to a lot of work. And then to do it again and again. We serve a big God in a big world.

    I also want to respond to Kevin H, and encourage him to drop his negativity and look positively at the efforts of others. The well-documented, well-discussed, well-depicted biblical story of Jesus’ birth is out there for the world to read and see. This is our kids telling their recollection of the story in their own words. As we said, it is based on a true story. I am sure it is no surprise to our creator that our kids love and engage with this wonderful, surprising, almost unbelievable series of events. I am sure it is no surprise to him that some of the details are lost in the telling at times. And I am sure he doesn’t care.

    I think he loves the fact that our kids got to be kids and got to share what we created with hundreds of thousands – probably millions – of people around the world as a celebration of the gift he gave us.

    Speaking of telling our stories, as one of the many Kiwis that have for many years been part of creating the current chapter in the story of St Paul’s Symonds Street, I personally find Kevin H’s “thanks to an infusion of life from London” very dismissive. If any readers are interested in the story of why our church has “a good crowd of young families now after years of decline”, read Anglican Taonga Advent 2009, No. 32. Or Kate Hannah’s piece here: http://www.stpauls.org.nz/Introducing/OurStory/WhereWeveComeFrom.aspx

    Finally, I want to respond to Kevin H’s “After last year’s horror, I shudder to think what St Matthew’s-in-the-City would come up with if they tried this!” As part of my job as an Art Director at M&C Saatchi, I was one of the team (who incidentally are all part of St Paul’s and GLOW too) who created the Joseph & Mary billboard I assume this refers to. While we have our theological differences with St Matts, we found common ground with this simple billboard which aimed to create discussion about the true story of Christmas. Which it achieved on a global scale. It wasn’t a horror. It was controversial. So is Jesus. The horror is the millions of people in our generation who think Jesus is a myth or a fairytale or worse. And we’re not going to change that by sitting back criticizing the efforts of other churches. We’ll change it by boldly stepping out in faith and giving our best to our God, each other and our world.

    Love, James

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, James.
      I think you understand my own points were to encourage people to begin their own creativity, and understanding the effort involved in this video. What I see too much of is an inertia that is attempting little when so much is now increasingly easy to create. My primary ministry is with young people and I know their enthusiasm and want to encourage communities to harness, encourage, allow, and enable especially young people to use their digital skills with websites, social media, video, etc. when older people, clergy included, so often are reticent to explore this now not-so-new world.
      A good example of possibilities, amongst the others I posted, is the Hallelujah Chorus produced with some young people over a weekend in Quinhagak, Alaska.
      This site appears to be the most-visited Christian site based in NZ. I know personally the effort involved in running it. But I also know that it is not beyond the skills of those who put their minds to it.
      Thanks also for highlighting the involvement in St Matthew’s billboard. One of the hopes of this site is precisely to be open to the sort of broad approaches that you are underlining.
      Thanks again, James, for your comment, more importantly: thanks for the production of the video. By embedding it here and tweeting it to my followers, you know I am honouring what you together have done. Blessings.

      ps. for those needing further encouragement to have a go – look at the work of Fr Matthew Moretz and Fr Chris Yaw. You will find plenty of examples by them on YouTube. They work with a camera and a laptop – and, in the case of Chris, a green screen.

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