Christmas morning family service 2012

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It was Christmas Eve and the Smith family were making final preparations for the following day. Eventually everything was ready and in spite of the protests of the children the Smiths headed off to bed. But as they disappeared upstairs everything was not as it should be in the room they left.

The christmas tree was groaning: I'm glad they have gone. My arms are aching terribly with all the baubles and chocolates they keep adding on. All my needles are falling off in this heat as well. I can't wait to get back to the garden.

The christmas lights soon joined in: you think you've been working hard! All we've done all day is switch on, off, on, off. We're exhausted!

The tinsel sighed: you lot are always complaining. I'm having a marvellous time, gently glittering and cheering the place up no end.

The angel on top of the tree said: yes, come on, everyone, it's worth all the trouble. Think of all the fun we'll have tomorrow.

The lights suddenly stopped whingeing. Hang on a minute they said. What's that noise? We can hear someone crying.

As they listened carefully the Christmas cracker could be heard sobbing at the bottom of the tree.

Whatever's the matter asked the tinsel?

Well it's OK for all of you, the cracker sobbed. You'll all be back next year. But not me! Oh no. What'll have happened to me? I will have been pulled apart!

But you've no reason to be sad, said the angel. You have a very important job to do tomorrow.

‘Oh yes’, said the cracker: ‘and what might that be’?

‘Well’ said the angel, ‘you help us remember different parts of the Christmas story’.

The angel explained that the bang reminds us of the surprise the shepherds received when the angels came and told them about the birth of Jesus.

And what do you have inside? Well there's a little present. That helps to remind us of the gifts the wise men brought to the baby Jesus. Gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It also shows us that God gave Jesus to the world as a present.

Then there's a paper hat. It's in the shape of a crown. From this we remember that the baby Jesus was a special kind of king.

The cracker said he was feeling better already. But the angel said that she hadn’t finished yet.

There's also a message or motto on a piece of paper. That first Christmas, God gave us a special motto. Another name given to Jesus was Immanuel and it means God is with us.

So you see, the cracke is really very important. This made the cracker feel a lot better and he said that he was feeling a lot better now and that he was actually really looking forward to tomorrow.

So when you pull your crackers this year remember the surprise of the shepherds.

When you find your gift, think of the presents of the wise men and the gift God has given to us.As you put on your paper crown be reminded that Jesus was a special king.

And when you read your motto, remember that Christmas is about God being with us.