Papa Panov Christmas Eve
Storyteller: Papa Panov's Special Christmas: Leo Tolstoy...A story from Russia.
There once was an old shoemaker, a very kindly man called Mr Panov. The children round the doors, affectionately called him Papa Panov or Grandfather Panov.
He was now very old, and he lived alone . His wife had died, and his own children now lived elsewhere.
He worked hard in his little shop, each day, making shoes, and there he had all he needed; a bed to sleep on, a chair and a table to sit at and a stove to keep him warm.
One Christmas Eve, however Papa Panov began thinking about the happy Christmases he had spent with his family, and he started to daydream about the story of Christmas which he had heard told each year in his little church down in the valley. He knew the story by heart.
He thought about how sad and lonely Mary and Joseph must have felt too, as they entered the town of Bethlehem. Doors were closed to them, nobody seemed to care and eventually they had to make do with a stable so that they could have a roof over their heads, when their child was born.
Reading 1 : Luke 2:4-7: (in come Mary and Joseph)
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee,
to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in strips of cloth and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Then the child was born and they were full of joy, after all they had given him the gift of life.
How very lovely Bethlehem seemed to him with all its sparkling lights in the darkness; birthplace of the Saviour of the world; how did that ancient blessing go?
But you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least among the rulers of Judah,
For out of you will come a ruler,
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel
Carol 2:-O little town of Bethlehem
Then Papa Panov remembered how the shepherds too had felt alone on the hillside;. They were probably cold and miserable, perhaps on a night just like this one, with the wind howling around them.
Reading 2 :Luke 2: 8-16 (sheppherds meet the angels and run to the stable)
And there were shepherds living out on the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were terrified!
But the angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men on whom His favour rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
"Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger
Carol 3: It was on a starry night (all children)
Reading 3: Luke 2 : 17-20 ( the shepherds present their gift and they leave telling everyone what they have seen)
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them, about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them…
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen , which were just as they had been told.
Papa Panov thought about how very happy the shepherds seemed to be, after all the had just gazed on the one whom the angels had called Christ the Lord, the new-born King! And they had taken him a precious gift, a lamb to keep him warm.
But they were not the only ones to have given him gifts. Had not the wise men given him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, when they visited him too?
At first these wise men had called at the wrong place, Herod's palace, but they were sent on their way to find him.
"Go!" Herod the king had said,"and when you find him, let me know , I have a GIFT FOR HIM TOO!"
Reading 4: Matthew 2: 9-11
After they had heard King Herod, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.
Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
Carol 4: In the bleak mid-winter
"What would I have given Jesus, if I had lived then? " cried Papa Panov. He suddenly realised that he had nothing to give the Christ child. He searched his room desperate to find something for him, as the picture of the nativity faded from his mind.
What can I give him,
Poor though I be?
If I had gold and silver
I'd give it for free,
But here I am sad and lonely,
An old man you see,
What have I got to offer,
The Christ child from me………?
That's when he found a small pair of baby shoes he had in a box on the shelf they were the finest shoes he had ever made.
"Yes" he cried, I would have given him these !" Then he fell asleep, but in that silent and holy night he was to hear a voice speaking to him. The voice whispered,"Tomorrow I shall come to you!"
Carol 5: Silent night 9
He was bubbling over with excitement, when he woke up from his dream. Today was the day he would see Jesus, it was Christmas Day.
Several people passed by his shop that dreary, cold day, he waved to them. An elderly lady was shivering, her hands were blue with the cold.
He ran to fetch her a shawl to keep her warm. Then an old road sweeper, a very poor man passed by, and Papa Panov gave him a loaf of bread
"You are a very kind man , Papa Panov,"said the poor man.
Papa Panov was pleased to help him; his heart was full of joy, joy for the whole world. Jesus was coming to see him soon.
Reading 5: John 1: 1-5 & 9
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
Carol 6 : See him a lying on a bed of straw
A woman and her baby approached him. The night was cold and her baby was without shoes.
"Poor little chap, you must have cold feet," said Papa Panov.
He thought about the special shoes on the shelf the shoes for baby Jesus. Then he looked at the woman and her baby again, and said, "Here take these, and he handed over his precious shoes to the poor woman.
"Oh thank you, they fit perfectly, she said and Papa Panov was pleased.
And so he returned to the window, anxiously looking out for baby Jesus.
Was he coming to see him or not? Had he missed him?
Many more people passed by the shop that day, and to each Papa Panov gave a smile, a wink or a nod or a greeting.
Then darkness fell. The old man was desperately disappointed. Jesus had not come, and in his sadness tears welled up in his eyes, and so he went to bed.
But once more he was to hear the voice of Jesus in his sleep.
Reading 6 John 1: 10-11
He came tothat which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Carol 7: See amid the winter's snow (verses 1, 5& 6)
"Didn't you see me? "said the voice of Jesus in his dream?
When I was thirsty,
You did provide,
Then you gave food to the hungry,
With arms open wide,
Then your love gave me shelter,
When winds blew bitterly,
Can you not see Papa Panov,
You did this for me………?
When you do this to the least of my little one you do it for me!"
And through his misty tears, the old man saw all those people he had given joy to that day.
"So he came after all!" smiled Papa Panov.
A light came into this dark world, when Jesus was born.
Child volunteer to collect candle?
Jesus said to us that if we followed him we would never walk in darkness but have the light of life.
ILLUSTRATION WITH CANDLE: (down aisle and back up in darkness)
And so this Christmas we pray that we can give such a gift to others that they too might see the light of Christ- his love, his joy, his peace in us.
Lights go out to congregation and are passed one to the other, until all lights are lit.
Final hymn: Away in a manger; by candlelight
Lord Jesus Christ
You have taught us, that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, we do also for you.
Give us the will to be servants of others, as you were the servant of all;
Come work a miracle in our lives, this Christmas and let your light shine deep within us, so that we may bring your peace and your healing to others.
Blessing; May the JOY of the angels
the EAGERNESS of the shepherds,
the PERSEVERANCE of the wise men,
the OBEDIENCE of Mary and Joseph,
the PEACE of the Christ child, be yours this Christmas, and the blessing….