The TV Guide to the Christmas story as written by Martyn Payne.
On your marks
TV schedules and Christmas have been inextricably linked over the years. Annual specials or well-loved repeats are as much a part of many people’s Christmas traditions as are turkey and Christmas pudding – in fact in some homes meals might even be rescheduled just to fit in with the programmes themselves! The following piece picks up on this annual TV bonanza by linking some well-loved TV programmes to the big story of the Bible and the real meaning of Christmas for Christians.
This piece uses 54 TV programme titles to help tell the story of the Bible from cover to cover, putting Christmas into its bigger context. It could be used in a variety of ways:
– As a performance piece in church or at a special Christmas concert. It is meant to make people smile as well as think!
– As material for a talk within a service for all ages in which you want to invite people to respond to the good news of the gospel this Christmas
– As an activity for a children’s or an all-age group, matching up the programmes to the different events in the Bible story and inviting them maybe to add in some more of their own! For this you will need to print out the different programme titles from the piece below and also add Bible references or Bible page links to the various episodes or truths.
You may not want to use all the programmes and story links in order to make the presentation more manageable in some contexts. If you have time, sound and visual clues to the programmes could add an extra dimension to this piece.
N.B. Just a few programmes cited are not current but should nevertheless be well-known.
‘Have I got good news for you’?
The TV Guide to the Bible and the Christmas story
In the beginning God had a great plan to make the whole universe.
He timed himself and over a period of six days…
He made the sky above
Stars in their Eyes
and the earth below.
Life on Earth
The world was beautiful filled with green and growing things.
The world was alive with all sorts of creatures
Wildlife on One
and God placed you and me in it to live in a paradise called Eden.
Location, Location, Location
God gave people the freedom to choose whether to follow his ways or not
Deal or no Deal
They – we – chose to go our own way and we fell out of God’s presence and out of the garden
And death came into the world.
One Foot in the Grave
But life continued; mothers and fathers had children and they had children
While God looked sadly on because evil grew more and more strong
People even tried to outdo God, but their plans at Babel came crashing down
Once God decided to flood it all away, though he did rescue Noah and his family and the animals
But that didn’t solve the problem of sin in people’s hearts.
So God chose a few special people to learn all about him.
He called Abraham for example to pack his bags and leave for a Promised Land and settle near the Oaks of Mamre
God spoke with many others down the ages,
but so often people refused to listen and they ended up in a mess.
Abraham’s descendants became slaves in Egypt
And God used Moses to challenge the Egyptian King. He sent plagues and rescued them, bringing them safe through the waters to freedom
Escape to the Country
And on the shores of the Red Sea, Miriam led the celebrations
Strictly Come Dancing
God looked after them in the desert providing plenty to eat each morning
God gave them his laws from Mount Sinai.
Yet they spent ages wandering in the desert before they arrived in the Promised Land
And so it continued.
God spoke to many individuals – judges and kings – who tried to bring the people back to God
But again and again they turned away from God and let him down
The Weakest Link
So God decided to speak to people in a new way.
God planned to become a human being and live as part of his own creation;
to experience life on earth with us.
Years passed as people waited for what the prophets promised to come true
Finally God chose Mary, to be the perfect mother
And when baby God arrived at Christmas there was great celebration at the stable
and heaven and earth shared a common
Shepherds visited and wise men from afar brought amazing gifts.
But later when Herod got to hear of the birth, it became
The baby grew up
Jesus became a man and was baptised by his cousin John at the river
Brookside Do you remember that?
He chose 12 disciples
He did amazing things and taught people how to love each other
And how they should care for the last and the least….and not
Mock the Weak
He told stories about merchants and shepherds
Shaun the Sheep
He fed over 5000 with 5 loaves and two small fish
and he healed the sick…though no one quite knew who he really was
However, some people didn’t want to admit they were wrong about God
They spied on him and tried to trap him
When Jesus went to Jerusalem for the last time, people lined the roads and cheered
But it wasn’t long before they were ganging up on him
Who do you think you are?
And they brought false charges against him
You’ve been framed
and they put him to death on a cross
The X Factor
But God raised him from death and the stone was rolled away
He appeared to people in a new body
He was really alive and welcomed everyone to become friends with God
Would like to meet
His followers preached this good news locally and all around the world
Home and Away
And said we should always remember him, as we drink
Er..Some of the Last Wine!
They told everyone that the bad in our lives can be crossed out, because
had been paid.
All we had to do was to come to God and say goodbye to our sin.
God would come into us as the Holy Spirit and bring a real change.
60 Minute make-over
And give a new direction for our lives.
Going for Gold
Of course this had to be our own choice.
Points of View
Yet God longs that we get ready for heaven right now and so
Be in it to win it
Because one day all evil will be banished
The Dragon’s Den
And there will be a new heaven and a new earth
The Green Green Grass
And that’s how his story goes – with Christmas in the middle of it all;
and with God waiting for you and me to come back to him.
God wants us to know his love and be close to him every day;
to join his growing world-big family.
And so, offering us all eternal life,
GOD asks us:
Who wants to be a true millionaire?