Interactive Christmas Service

This interactive reading was adapted from the book, The Ox and the Donkey by Gunter Spang.

After welcoming everyone, I led the kids in making their ox and donkey hand puppets. Using the instructions from this YouTube video, I passed out materials for them to make puppets that will be used in worship.

During the reading of the story, I had the kids moo and hee haw every time they heard the word ox and donkey. We also changed some of the lyrics to the songs to represent ox and donkey.


O Come, All Ye Faithful
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant
O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold him, born the King of angels

O come, let us adore him
O come, let us adore him
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord

Sing, choirs of angels; sing in exultation
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above
Glory to God, all glory in the highest


In the stable at the inn in Bethlehem lived an ox (moo) and a donkey (hee haw). The stable was cold and drafty and sometimes wet, for the roof leaked. The ox (moo) was rude and unfriendly. Whenever the donkey (hee haw) wanted to snuggle up to him for warmth, the ox (moo) gave him a shove with his horns. And at mealtimes, the ox (moo) was so greedy, that there was hardly any hay left for the donkey (hee haw) to eat.

The ox (moo) grew fatter and fatter, but the donkey (hee haw) became skinnier and skinnier. Whenever the innkeeper went to the market, the donkey (hee haw) had to pull the heavy cart because the ox (moo) was so wild that no one could control him. It was a hard life for the donkey (hee haw), and he was sad most of the time.

The drummer boy

Come they told me
Pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see
Pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King
Pa rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum
So to honor Him,
Pa rum pum pum pum
When we come

Mary nodded
Pa rum pum pum pum
Donkey and ox kept time
Pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him
Pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him
Pa rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
Then He smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum

the star

Then one winter night a beautiful star rose over the broken roof, its glow lighting up the entire stable. The donkey (hee haw) felt as if he were under a spell. For the first time in his life his sadness left him.

Later that night a carpenter named Joseph and his wife, Mary, came into the stable. This made the donkey feel even happier and he greeted them with a loud: “Hee-haw, hee-haw.”

Mary smiled at the donkey (hee haw), and Joseph scratched him behind the ears. The donkey (hee haw) was overjoyed.

star of wonder

(refrain from We Three Kings)

Star of wonder, star of light
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect Light

mary & joseph

On this holy night, Mary gave birth to the baby Jesus. The baby’s crying made the donkey’s (hee haw) hair stand on end.

Perhaps he is cold, thought the donkey (hee haw), and he leaned over the crib and blew gently on the baby with his warm breath, until the baby calmed down and went to sleep.

what child is this?

What Child is this, who laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ, the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring Him laud
The Babe, the Son of Mary

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and donkey are feeding?
For children dear and people here
The silent Word is pleading.

the shepherds

Early the next morning, shepherds hurried in from the fields. One carried a giant bundle of hay on his back. Joseph gave some of the hay to the ox (moo) and the donkey (hee haw).

It was incredible! The greedy ox (moo) let the donkey (hee haw) eat the largest share of the hay! And then, he actually snuggled up to the donkey (hee haw) and nuzzled against his shaggy coat!

That afternoon, Joseph repaired the leaky roof. Now it was warm and snug in the stable.

The donkey (hee haw) and the ox (moo) took turns keeping the baby warm with their breath.

rise up shepherd/go tell it on the mountain

There’s a star in the east on Christmas morn
Rise up, shepherd, and follow
It will lead to the place
Where the Christ was born
Rise up, shepherd, and follow

Follow, follow
Rise up, shepherd, and follow
Follow the star of Bethlehem
Rise up, shepherd, and follow

If you take a good heed to the angel’s words
Rise up, shepherd, and follow
You’ll forget your flocks
You’ll forget your herds
Rise up, shepherd, and follow

While shepherds kept their watching
O’er silent flocks by night
Behold throughout the heaven’s
There shone a holy light

Go tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and everywhere
Go tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born

the astronomers

Some Astronomers came to visit the Child. The ox (moo) and the donkey (hee haw) hid in the furthest corner of the stable. The smell of incense prickled their noses and made them sneeze. They didn’t come out again until after the Astronomers had left.

The Astronomers had brought the baby Jesus precious gifts so, at night, the ox (moo) kept guard. He rolled his eyes and made a fearsome face to scare away any thieves who dared to approach the stable.

And the donkey (hee haw) waved his tail furiously to keep insects away from the baby Jesus.

hark the herald/angels we have heard on high

Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic hosts proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountain in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.
Glo – – – ria, in excelsis Deo!
Glo – – – ria in excelsis Deo!

Donkey, why this jubilee?
Ox why does your “moo” prolong?
Say what gladsome tidings
Be which inspire your heavenly song?
Glo – – – ria, in excelsis Deo!
Glo – – – ria in excelsis Deo!

christ is born

Then one night Joseph and Mary packed up their belongings. They were setting out for Egypt. The innkeeper gave Mary bread and salt and said to Joseph: “I will lend you my donkey (hee haw). He will carry Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt. Once you arrive, just give him three slaps on his rear, and he will head back home.”

The donkey was happy to help. “Hee-haw, hee-haw!” he brayed. But the ox (moo) was very sad to see his friend go.

Carefully the donkey (hee haw) carried Mary and the baby Jesus all the way to Egypt. No path was too rocky, no hill too steep for him.

At home the ox (moo) waited sadly for the donkey’s (hee haw) return. He worried that he might never see his friends again.

But then at last, the ox (moo) heard, coming from out in the fields, a loud, happy “Hee-haw, hee-haw!”

What joy! The innkeeper, his wife, and their son rushed to the stable to celebrate the donkey’s (hee haw) return. And the ox (moo) and the donkey (hee haw) celebrated too, sharing their hay and their warmth, best friends now – and forever after.

o little town of bethlehem

O Little Town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the king
And peace to all on earth

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