by Libby Krahling

COVID-19 restrictions, regulations and precautions have meant many changes to our lives – including to the way we have worshipped as faith communities, families and individuals. We hope that whatever your situation, Advent and Christmas are times of great joy and thanksgiving as we again celebrate our unchanging, ever-loving God coming to us in human form. To follow are some ideas to help you and your congregation navigate these special times in 2020.

Advent ideas

Lutheran Tract Mission has a new downloadable Advent devotional booklet, as well as many excellent Advent and Christmas tracts and resources for all ages (see also page 16). Go to or phone 08 8360 7222.

Grow Ministries has a fantastic GIFT (Growing in Faith Together) pack for Advent (

More ideas and resources include:

  • Advent wreath – light a candle each Sunday of Advent. Instructions for creating the wreath and liturgy to accompany the candle-lighting can be found on the Worship Planning Page (WPP) via, click on the date then the Church@Home tab.

  • Jesse Tree – an interesting alternative which helps you remember God’s promises and the path leading to the birth of the Messiah. Instructions for creating a Jesse Tree and devotions are on the WPP.
  • Advent calendars – open a window each day to build excitement.
  • Advent paper chain – a fun, easy way for people in their homes, aged-care residences or schools to focus on the meaning of Advent and Christmas – while making the place look festive! Instructions are on the WPP or at
  • Growing Faith at Home sheets – Grow has made these excellent weekly devotion sheets available for free. They include discussion starters, daily readings, creative responses and ideas for service. Access these on the WPP through Advent and Christmas.

Spread the love!

Sharing the good news of God’s love is always vital. But this year especially sharing joy with people who are lonely or struggling due to isolation or illness is a great way to bless them and to lift your spirits too.

  • Put away the computer and write Christmas cards. During a year in which we have been separated more than usual, make someone’s Christmas by sending them words of encouragement in a hand-written card.
  • Donate food or toys as appropriate to your local community care organisation for those in need this Christmas. Contact your local LCA/NZ District office for suggestions on where to make donations.
  • Support ALWS Gifts of Grace and bring love to life for people from around the world, through a gift of school supplies, COVID-19 clinics, pigs and more, while blessing your friends and family, too. Go to for more information or phone 1300 763 407.

Public worship

If your congregation is struggling with limited numbers or social-distancing requirements due to COVID-19 restrictions, consider these options:

  • Offer a combination of live and online service options. You might record a Christmas service for people who can’t be there in person and have ‘live’ services for those who can attend.
  • Change service venues. Can you hold Christmas worship services in a park, school or community hall to allow for more people?
  • Pre-record elements of the service. If you are running multiple services, or want to have a children’s presentation, consider pre-recording parts of the service such as the music or nativity play. That way you can share the joy with multiple services or online without a lot of extra work. Recording in advance also makes Christmas week not so hectic.

Christmas plays

Christmas plays are a great chance to involve children and others in the service. With restrictions, staging the traditional play might be more difficult. Here are a few ideas to adapt this beautiful tradition:

  • Pre-record your play and share it during the service. If you are sharing it online, make sure participants and their families know how it will be shared. This might be a good option if you have limited space and need to have several services.
  • Consider a Christmas play on an internet conferencing system such as Zoom – have families/households act out different parts of the script. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to share the great news of Jesus’ birth! Scripts are available from the Christmas@Home section of the WPP.
  • Ask families to take photos or videos of themselves acting out different parts of the nativity story, and then use these to illustrate carols or readings during the service.
  • Rather than a play with multiple speaking roles, simplify things by using a narrator and having participants mime, so you don’t have to reuse microphones. Remember that people in the same household don’t have to physically distance, so perhaps have one household come up at a time.
  • Show a Christmas video – An Unexpected Christmas ( is a cute video from New Zealand and the church which produced it has given permission for public screenings (but not broadcasts).
  • Set up a nativity display outside and have a small devotional-style service so people can worship together in small groups or households. This could be a static display or incorporate scheduled times for a live nativity.


If you are unable to worship publicly this year or are separated from the people you love, you can still make this Christmas special.

  • Contact your local church and ask what they are doing for Christmas – they may have a way for you to worship with them.
  • Watch a service online. Congregations which will live-stream or pre-record Christmas services are listed on the WPP. If you live in Adelaide or Melbourne, you may be able to watch Lutheran services on TV.
  • Use the Church@Home resources for Christmas on the WPP. You will find:
  • a printable service order with a matching PowerPoint
  • links to YouTube online music video clips so you can sing along to the carols, hymns and songs for the day
  • printable Bible readings and prayers
  • links to a lessons and carols service on YouTube and digital music service Spotify
  • fun crafts and devotional activities to brighten your day and your home

Wherever you are this Christmas, we pray that you are filled with the joy and hope of the Messiah’s birth!

Libby Krahling is Administration Coordinator for the LCA’s Commission on Worship.

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