Advent Assembly

Sunday marks the beginning of Advent, so here is an assembly that I used this week in school which explores Christian Advent themes.

You will need: A chocolate Advent calendar 5 candles (and an Advent wreath candle holder if you can get one!), a dove, a heart, a windmill and a glass prism.  These last 4 things are symbols I have chosen for peace, love, joy and hope but feel free to substitute your own symbols.

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Ask the children what they are doing to mark Advent this year. Most of them will talk about Advent calendars so show them the chocolate one and think about the kind of pictures you get behind each window (as well as the chocolate!)  It’s most likely that answers will be things like Santa, snowman, presents etc.  Talk about the fact that all of these pictures show something about what Christmas and winter can be like.

Now show children the 5 Advent candles and say that Christians use Advent as a time not just to look forward to Christmas, but also as a time to think about what the world will be like when Jesus comes again.  We light a candle each Sunday of Advent to remember one thing that we will have so much more of when Jesus returns:

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Heart- love

Dove- Peace

Windmill- Joy

Prism- Hope (when you look through it you see rainbows which are a sign of hope and promise)

Talk about the 5th candle (in the centre of the ring) which stands for Jesus the light of the world and is lit on Christmas day.

Light a candle and ask children to choose one of the 4 symbols that they would like to see more of in the coming year.

Pray: Lord God thank you that you sent Jesus to be the light of the world, to help all those who find life dark and scary.  Help us to see more of your love, joy, peace and hope in the world this coming year. Amen

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Christmas Assembly or All-Age Service Talk (With Sweets!)

Here is the talk I did today at a school Christmas concert.  The children loved it because it involved sweets! I tried to get them to predict the contents of parcel 6 and had some random ideas but also some very sensible suggestions such as “Milky Way’ or ‘Mars’ because “God Made them.”  They were definitely paying attention!

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You will need: A big box filled with 6 wrapped and numbered parcels. Each parcel contains one of the following- A Galaxy chocolate bar, ‘sour’ fizzy sweets, Love Hearts, Jelly Babies, Starbursts, Liquorice Allsorts (see order below), another gift bag filled with enough sweets for every child to have one.

Ask the children who has presents under the tree already.  Who is expecting to get or give a present this Christmas? For Christians, Christmas is about the most special present of all (open the big box and give each parcel to a different volunteer child.  Tell them not to open them until you ask).

So let’s see what’s in our presents.

(Ask the child with present 1 to unwrap it and tell you what they have. Give the explanation and then move on to parcel 2. Repeat until all parcels are open!)

1- Galaxy- God made everything- the world, the stars, space, the Galaxy, the whole universe
2- Sours- I’m not keen on sours- the don’t taste like sweets should, in my opinion!  Things in God’s world weren’t going as they should, either. There was war and hatred and sadness. People needed someone to come and give them hope, to help them and show them a new way to live
3- Love hearts- God loved us so much that he decided to send someone very special- his own son who had been with him since the beginning of everything
4- Jelly babies- so God sent a baby- and Jelly babies were originally called peace babies so this reminds us that one thing Jesus came to do is bring us peace
5- Starburst- God sent a star to shine over the place where Jesus was born so that people would know where to find him

(At this point I tried to get the children to suggest what would be in the final parcel…)

6- Liquorice All sorts- I don’t like these at all, but some people love them and that’s the point! These remind us that Jesus came for all sorts of people-everyone. The hope and peace he brings is God’s gift to us all.

BUT… at the moment, the only people who have sweets are the people who opened the presents.  Who thinks that’s fair?   Jesus came to give hope and light and peace to everyone, so no no one will be left out (give the bag full of sweets to a teacher or, if with a smaller group give the sweets out).

Merry Christmas!

Posada: a fun way to reach the community during Advent!

This year will be the second year we send out a Posada from church into the villages where our churches are based.

If you’ve never heard of a Posada, it’s a South American tradition where Mary and Joseph take a journey through the community every Advent (mirroring the real life journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem) and people sign up to host them for a day and a night before passing them on to the next hosts.  It’s a great way of getting people from both inside and outside of church involved in the Nativity story over Advent and will open up many conversations with people who are puzzled about why two dolls are joining in events!

Last year Mary and Joseph had some amazing adventures: They went to a Derby County football match (their host that day had knitted them some scarves!), played in the sandpit at the local primary school, went to some cafes, rehearsed with the worship group, went to a few parties, spent time on the beach and went up in a cherry picker with a local handyman.  Each host took some photos and we uploaded them to our Posada Facebook page so everyone could see what they were doing.

Mary and Joseph finished their journey at the crib service on Christmas Eve and, next morning, they were displayed in church  complete with a baby Jesus!

Have a look at our Facebook page to see what they are up to this year and why not have a go yourself!

Christingle Messy Church

Here are some ideas that we used at our Christingle based Messy Church.  There was a mixture of Nativity and general Christmas crafts and we finished with a short Christingle service, lighting the candles and singing ‘Away in a Manger.’

Making Christingles: Get parents and children to help make the Christingles by putting in the candles, putting red tape round the orange and putting sweets on sticks.  It might get a bit messy but that is the point of Messy Church!

Christingle Play dough mats: Click here to print off (laminate for continued use)

 

Christmas Colouring: Click here to print off sheets

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Christmas Angel Game: Click here to print off

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Making Christmas cards with Nativity Character Stickers

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Make Jesus in the Manger Biscuits: (biscuit, runny icing, shredded wheat hay, Jelly baby and fondant blanket).

 

Printable Nativity Figures: Colour and Play!

Here are some printable Nativity figures for you to print out, colour in and then use to help explore the Christmas story.Nativity figures

Click here to print out the sheet.  Colour the figures in and then cut them out.  For extended use, it might be best to laminate them!

You can stick them onto lolly sticks to make stick puppets, sellotape a bent paperclip to the back to help them stand independently or even stick them to wooden blocks- much more friendly for smaller hands!

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Enjoy your story telling!