wordsout by godfrey rust
Christmas poems and readings    


 

Christmas


Poems and readings for carol services and other Christmas events, widely used in the UK and elsewhere. Free of charge for any not-for-profit event or publication.

See here for more information about permissions. 

I've created these for the carol service at St John's, West Ealing, London, most years since 1988. The most recent is The (good)will of the people, a Brexit-influenced rewrite of Luke's angels/shepherds story which was widely used in 2019 but is unlikely to be topical at the end of 2020. The message of other poems is more durable.

For a good length, reassuring Christmas poem (2-5 minutes, and not requiring great acting skills) try Joseph and the shepherds, Poem for Christmas Eve or the more recent Gabriel's revelation.

More edgy and unsettling are Baby crying and the longer and somewhat chilling Herod's last request.

What kind of Messiah? is a tongue-in-cheek reflection on what we really want to be saved from. Skin starts at Christmas and imagines Christ's life from the senses of his human body. In The magi at the empty manger we take on the roles both of the bringers and the users of the three gifts. The last poem in the Magi sequence, The epiphany, can also be used effectively on its own as a longer reading. 

Jokey 'sketches' for one or more performers acting out a particular role are Light of the world, the mock bulletin News just in and A child is born, the last of which works particularly well if you can use Powerpoint or similar slides to go through the spoof questionnaire. 

Incarnate is a serious piece, not too long, but with the broadest scope of any, a two-part telling of the story within universal history, usable as a single poem or to split into a "prologue" and "epilogue" to an event.

As well as the shorter poems listed, any of The last straw can be used as short poems on their own - The word, The nativity and The magi probably best - as might the shorter poems from A Christmas commentary.

Finally there are four sequences which were created as narrative frameworks for a whole service or concert when mixed with other elements:

The last straw comprises eight short poems acting as introductions to some of the usual carol service bible readings.

The six pieces of A Christmas commentary follow and provide a perspective on specific bible readings, and the four Prayers of hope are prayers used in the same way.

The four longer poems of Magi provide a contemporary interpretation of the story which can be shared among any number of voices.

Others have created other combinations of these poems to tell the story: feel free to do so. If you choose to use any of these in your events, or have other comments about them which you think may be helpful to me or others, please let me know.