The Story of Jesus:
A Choral Christmas Program
About this program
Christmas is about more than just the birth of Jesus. It’s really a celebration of the plan of salvation. This program is not a typical choir Christmas cantata. Instead, it focuses on the story of Jesus throughout history. It begins with Jesus as the Creator of a perfect world, marred by sin. It then moves to Jesus’ first advent to defeat sin, before finally asking how we ought to live in light of Jesus’ gift and His Second Coming.
This program is also designed to be used by choirs who have limited rehearsal time available for a Christmas program. Half of the music in the program can be easily performed at any season of the year and can form a part of the choir’s standard repertoire. In addition, there are several choices of music available, and in some cases, other music can be easily substituted.
While this program is, of course, protected by copyright, church choirs may freely use and adapt it as they see fit without needing permission provided that they don’t make any changes which have theological impact. Although not required, I’d be interested to hear from you if you use this program.
- Congregation: “Tell Me the Story of Jesus” (Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal number 152)
- “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name” (Linda Lee Johnson/Tom Fettke)
- Choose one:
- Choose one:
- Choose one:
- “I Have Fixed My Mind (On Another Time)” (David Huntsinger; Arranged by Tom Fettke)
- Chorister(s) to lead the congregational singing
- Three narrators. Narrators 1 and 3 should be of opposite gender. Narrator 2 will read the scripture passages. All three narrators should be seated where they won’t be seen by the audience.
This program is intended to be presented by narrators who are seated with the congregation and who have wireless microphones so that they can be heard but not seen. There are slides which go along with the program. In the script, the symbol @ indicates where to advance to the next slide.
Ad lib: Introduce choir and program. Introduce first hymn.
Choristers and Congregation
@ “Tell Me the Story of Jesus” (Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal number 152)
@ We pick up the story of Jesus at creation. @ The apostle John, writing of Jesus, tells us that Jesus was the Creator, the Author of life, and the @ Light of the World.
@ “In the beginning was @ the Word, and the Word was @ with God, and the Word @ was God. He was in the beginning with God. @ All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. @ In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”1
@ Jesus’ creation is amazing. Not only is the level of intricate detail remarkable, @ not only are the vast distances of space unfathomable, but the same Jesus who created the planets @ condescended to create people. David wrote about this in amazement.
@ “O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
@ Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
@ When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
@ All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.
@ O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!”2
@ The word alleluia comes from Greek via Latin, which is in turn derived from @ the Hebrew word hallelujah. It is a plural word, relating to the congregation as a whole and not just the individual. @ It means, “Praise the Lord!”
@ “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name”
@ Jesus’ creation was indeed worthy of the deepest awe.
@ Yet sin marred the wonderful creation.
@ God had a plan. Speaking to the devil, who had taken the form of a serpent, He promised a Savior.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”3
Over the next 4,000 years, God gave more details about His plan. Finally, it was time. @ Jesus, the Creator, the Son of God, would leave the throne of God and the majesty of heaven.
@ He would humble Himself so He could live with us, set an example for us, and finally defeat Satan and the power of sin.
@ Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by @ taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”4
Director (Omit if singing “How Should a King Come?”)
This idea is neatly captured in a Christmas song which may be unfamiliar to most of you, despite being in our hymnals. But, it’s easy to learn. Let’s all sing it together.
Choir or Choristers and Congregation
- Choir: “How Should a King Come?”; or
- Congregation: “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne”
@ “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and @ you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ ”5
@ In time, Joseph and Mary took their famous trip to Bethlehem, and the Messiah—the anointed one—was born.
@ “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. @ And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“ ‘Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’
“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’6
@“Gesù Bambino” or “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
@ “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ ”7
@ “Goin’ to Bethlehem” or “Come, Follow That Star”
@ The purpose of Jesus in coming to this earth was grander than a humble birth in a barn in a small town in an insignificant Roman province.
Jesus came to work God’s plan of salvation, @ first disclosed thousands of years earlier in the Garden of Eden. @ Jesus eventually began a public ministry, healing the sick, raising the dead, and teaching the masses the eternal truths of God.
For His trouble, He was arrested by jealous religious leaders, tried before an unjust court, and @ executed by a method reserved for the vilest of criminals.
Yet even in the darkest hour, God’s grand plan of salvation was at work, as Jesus @ paid the penalty for our sins and defeated the devil. The Creator created an opportunity for @ a new life as a new creation.
@ You can hear the awe in the apostle Paul’s voice as he dictates a letter to his protégé Timothy.
@ “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”8
@ Of course, no earthly punishment could keep Jesus in the tomb. With divine power He was resurrected, and He returned to Heaven to fulfill the promise He had made before His death.
@ “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, @ I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”9
@ Jesus left Earth to prepare Heaven. @ Now, we’re preparing to meet Jesus. Our lives in this world should reflect the reality of the next. We are called to keep our eyes focused firmly on our Savior in Heaven and to live accordingly.
@ “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. . . . @ Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”10
@ “I Have Fixed My Mind (On Another Time)”
@ Ad lib: Benediction