If you're involved with service and worship planning in your church, you've probably had your Christmas services all planned out since September (thinking about Christmas towards the end of August has been part of our lives for the last seven years of church work; all part of the fun!).

However, some of you might be panicking about Jesus coming as a baby, because your Christmas resources are yet to be made, flyers are still to be printed and the choir needs at least six more months of practise...

We contacted some friends to see what they were up to this Christmas, hopefully this will give you some inspiration (for this or next year). If nothing else, it's great to see people being so creative in telling the ancient story.

To start off with, Damian Herbert from Riverside Church in Birmingham has let us know how he's keeping busy in December:

The church holds regular café services, with creative presentation and minimum input from the front. On the 6th of December they're putting one on, themed "Christmas in the movies". The service will include watching film clips and unpacking / discussing them around the tables, no singing (!!) and possible a testimony. Sounds great!

Riverside is also part of a city-wide initiative in Birmingham called "Carols in the City", so on the 12th, they're packing up all their gear and setting up a full band and choir on a bandstand in Brindley. This is supposed to be an act of simply blessing the community, without asking for anything back, so the team will be handing out balloons and chocolate along with the beautiful music!

(and these events are in addition to a couple of Christmas themed All Age services, an evangelistic Christmas ball and a carol service - someone get Damian a cup of tea!)

Meanwhile, Gayle Bamberger from Ascension, Balham Hill, has been trying to work out how to do something creative for Christmas in a year with limited rehearsal time and people:

"We're trying something a little different this year. We don't have the resources this year to put on a show the week before the Carols Service like we usually do, so we're setting up the church like a picture house, to show 'The Nativity Story'.

We'll start with a bar area at the back of the church, full of festive nibbles and drinks served by 'waiters' (aka staff, growth groups & PCC), complete with live carollers!

The front part will be the 'cinema', with chocolate coins and candy canes placed on every chair (even hired a popcorn machine to make it an authentic experience) and we've hired in a huge projector screen for the movie.

After a post-film, 5 min talk by our Curate, we're opening up the 'bar' area again so people can stay on for hot cider, minced pies and talk about the film."

In St Stephen's Church, East Twickenham, Matt Osgood's team is getting heavily involved in the Christmas Fair taking place on the street outside the church on Saturday. They're finishing the whole thing off with a half-hour open-air service with band-led carols, a bit of stand-up comedy and a short talk or testimony.

He has also got creative with their traditional carol service; using specially written music, video and drama. Matt has kindly agreed to share the sketch he has written with us, so download "the Cave sketch" from the Resource section!

Other resources you might want to check out are:

We look forward Advent Liturgy

Advent Ribbon Reflection

Advent Candle walking liturgy

Light of the World meditation

Advent Crowns

Room and the Inn?

Advent Candle Liturgy

Also, have a look at the excellent, but not free, Christmas resources on www.proost.co.uk.

We are sure that lots of you (now nearly 1500 subscribers!) are doing even more creative things in your churches. Feel free to add a comment below to inspire others.