Published: October 27, 2023
These festive children’s messages that are based on traditional Christmas carols will help kids of all ages repeat the sounding joy and celebrate Jesus’ birth. Share them with kids in your children’s ministry or pass them along to your pastor to incorporate into church-wide holiday celebrations.
Christmas Carol Story: O Come, All Ye Faithful
- paper and pencils for each child
Copy the Song
Say: Imagine when there were no copy machines or computers. When someone wrote a story or poem, you couldn’t just make copies to share with others. You couldn’t just share something on social media. There were no copy machines, but there were human copyists. John Francis Wade was one of them. He was born in England and then moved to a town in France. John Francis’ job was to copy and sell music. He copied a lot of music for churches. He must have had very good handwriting because we can still read his first copies of the Christmas carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful” from almost 300 years ago! Some people think John Francis was a musician who wrote his own songs, too. The song “O Come, All Ye Faithful” made him famous.
Invite kids to practice being a copyist. Give them each a piece of paper, and have them write the first line of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” two times. Have kids try their best to make the copies look exactly the same (without tracing). Encourage them to sign their name at the bottom of each copy.
Celebrate Jesus’ Birth
We know that John Francis copied the earliest versions of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” because he signed his name at the bottom. Through the years, other people added different words and melodies. Eventually, the version we sing now was included in church hymnals that were copied, not by hand but at a printing press. Like the shepherds, John Francis’ Christmas carol spread the good news of Jesus’ birth!
Whether he wrote the whole song, parts of it, or just copied down a song other people already knew, John Francis’ song “O Come, All Ye Faithful” helps people celebrate Jesus’ birth by telling the story and inviting people to meet Jesus!
One line from the song comes from a verse in John.
Read John 1:14.
Say: “The Word” is another name for Jesus. He loves us, and he is faithful. When people are faithful, that means they’re committed and they don’t quit. Jesus will always be our friend. We can be his faithful friends, too, and celebrate his birth.
This Christmas carol story experience comes from Songs of the Christmas Story: Traditional Carols that Tell the True Story of Jesus’ Birth. When you purchase this print or downloadable Christmas resource for kids, you’ll find three more Christmas carol stories, as well as Christmas Bible lessons, games, crafts, Christmas carol music videos, and more!
Christmas Carol Story: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
- whiteboard and dry-erase makers (or large piece of paper and markers)
Say: It seems like there are two kinds of Christmas carols—songs about Jesus that we sing in church, and other songs about snow, jingle bells, and Santa that we hear on the radio or on Christmas movies. Let’s make a list of both kinds of Christmas songs.
Divide a whiteboard or large piece of paper into two columns—one for “church” songs and one for “Christmas movie or radio” songs. Invite kids to shout out the names of songs for each column.
Shine the Light
Say: You’d think that a song like “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” would only be on the church side. But this song brings light and life to inside and outside church walls.
Creating this song was a group effort. Over 300 years ago, a church leader named Charles Wesley wrote most of the words, and then later another church leader named George Whitefield changed the words a little. Meanwhile, a composer named Felix Mendelssohn had written a beautiful song to celebrate not the birth of Jesus but the anniversary of the printing press! People must have been really happy to not have to copy words and music by hand anymore! Felix didn’t think that adding words about Jesus was a good idea, but a musician named William Hayman Cummings did it anyway. He combined Charles’ and George’ words with Felix’s music to make the Christmas carol, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.”
This song was printed in church songbooks and sung to celebrate Jesus, the light of the world. But it’s also featured in two really popular Christmas movies!
Charlie Brown and friends sing it at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas. “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” also ends a movie called It’s a Wonderful Life, in which all the movie characters are gathered in a living room singing, “Glory to the newborn king!”
Read what Simeon said about baby Jesus in Luke 2:30-32.
Say: Like Jesus’ light shines to the whole world, today, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” shines Jesus’ light through people’s TVs! This song brings light and life to the whole world!
This Christmas carol story experience comes from More Songs of the Christmas Story: Traditional Carols That Tell the True Story of Jesus’ Birth. When you purchase this print or downloadable Christmas resource, you’ll find EVEN MORE carol stories, as well as Christmas Bible lessons, games, crafts, and Christmas carol music videos to delight kids this Christmas season.
Want more Christmas ideas to share with kids and families? Check out this Carol-Oke Christmas family event!
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