Joy: A Christmas Pageant

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Advent 3      10:00 am      17 December 2023
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Glynnis McCrostie
Elder: Darlene Eerkes

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
P: and also with you.

Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship

Call to Worship:  Joy

Voice 1: The prophets call and an apostle writes to announce that joy comes from God.
Voice 2: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me and has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to comfort all who mourn; to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning.”  (Isaiah 61)
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.”  (Philippians 4)
Voice 1: Grief, pain and loss are inevitable. But woven into life is the joy of living in a universe that reflects God’s beauty. Advent provides time to nurture joy in our lives and in the world God loves. Advent calls us to share with others the good news that comes into the world with the birth of Christ.
Voice 2: Holy are you, Source of all new life among us.
All: Jesus Christ comes as joy to the world.
Voice 2: We join with all creation and lift our hearts in joyful praise.
All: We light this candle to glow for joy. (while lighting the candle of joy)

Opening praise: Hope is a star (119:vss; 1-3)

The Candy Cane Legend

The Shepherd’s Staff: He chose to make the candy cane in the shape of a shepherd’s staff. After all, Jesus is the shepherd to his followers and the Bible notes that the “sheep” would hear His voice and follow him (Psalm 23:1, John 10:11, John 10:27-30, Isaiah 40:11).

The Letter J for Jesus: Not only was the candy cane in the shape of a staff, but when held upside down, it formed a “J,” which stood for Jesus (Luke 1:31, Matthew 1:21).

He is A Rock: The candy maker chose hard candy for the candy cane, which was done to remind children that Jesus was our “rock,” dependable and strong (Psalm 31:3).

By His Stripes: Wide red stripes were added to the candy cane, representative of the crucifixion and the blood Jesus shed for our sins.

Red-His Shed Blood: Through his blood, we are given salvation and life (Revelation 1:5, John 3:16, Luke 22:20).

White-Purification from Sin: There are also white stripes on the candy cane, which represents the holiness, and purity of Jesus, who was sinless (I John 1:7).

Sweet Fragrance of Christ: Peppermint was the flavor that the candy maker chose for the candy cane. Peppermint was very similar to hyssop, which was used for sacrifice and purification in the Old Testament, reminding us of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. It also reminds us of the spices brought by the Wise Men when they came to visit Jesus (Psalm 51:7, John 10:29, Matthew 2:11).

Broken For Us: Of course, when the candy cane is eaten, it is often broken, which the candy maker meant as a reminder that when Jesus was crucified, his body was broken (I Cor. 11:24).

Love of Christ: The candy cane was also made to be given as a gift, representing the love of Jesus when he gave us the gift of salvation.

Although no one is quite sure if the legend of the candy cane is really true, the beauty of the legend is such a reminder of God’s love for us around Christmas. In this legend, it was a way that the candy maker could tell the children the story of Christmas and still today, we have candy canes as a reminder of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.


Christmas Pageant

It would be impossible to adequately present, in writing, the story enacted in the Pageant by the Dayspring congregation. Many people participated in making it happen. So we are presenting the opening and closing remarks. If you want to know what happened in between, please use the following link to the videorecording of the pageant.

Pageant Introduction

Welcome to our Dayspring Christmas Pageant! We would like to present a unique, inclusive, and relevant retelling of the Nativity story, engaging both the actors and the audience in a contemporary exploration of the timeless themes of Christmas. Today, we find God in unexpected places. Characterizing Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the wise men as contemporary figures facing issues of homelessness, community support, and societal responses, we hope to add depth and relatability to the story. The scenes incorporate carols as transitional music, comedic moments, playful angels, and hopefully a touch of charm. Our angel is a street corner preacher. Hope, Peace, Joy and Love are his messages. Be aware the congregation is not just “watching a show.” You may be involved! And finally, the conclusion is put as an invitation for introspection and personal reflection on how to respond to the message of the Nativity. We ask that you please remain seated during the carols, so you don’t miss any of the action happening on and around the stage. Let’s begin with the carol O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

> > > > >

And now we’ve come to the end of our play. Or maybe it’s the beginning. Where did we start and where did we end up? The real ending is what happens next. And what happens next is up to you. You’ve heard and seen the story from many perspectives: a tent community, young and old angels, some cowboys, local citizens, a politician, and an Encampment Response Team. This is Advent. It’s a time for Hope. Peace. Joy. Love. Those are action words. Which ones describe your Advent? Which ones have been slumbering and need to be woken up? What are you waiting for?

We respond to serve God: Our time of giving

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Sending out with God’s blessing

We are not what we have.
We are not, what we do.
And we are not what people say.
We are, in fact, the children of God and no one takes that away.
There’s nothing we can do to make God love us less.
Or more.
We don’t have to hurry or worry.
Christ has settled the score.
Rest in him this Christmas season.
Go to love and serve the Lord – and also his image everywhere.

Response: Go tell it on the mountain (133)

Music postlude


Numbers in brackets after a song/hymn indicate that it is from the 1997 Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Those and other songs are being used in accordance with the specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

The pageant text was developed by Andrea Gartrell with input from several others and they retain copyright (© 2023) on all original material in this service. As far as we are aware, all of the material that has not been attributed to others is their own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.

Posted in Recent Sermons.