‘In the Midst of Darkness, Light Persists’
The celebration of Christingle
by The Children’s Society
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To inform us about the work of The Children’s Society through the celebration of Christingle.
Preparation and materials
You will need a large pillar candle, a box of matches and one pre-made Christingle for each class in the school.
Note: if you are unsure about how to do this, see the ‘How to make a Christingle’ resource, available at: http://tinyurl.com/jbffkbx
You will also need:
- the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Christingle 2016) and the means to display them
- copies of the readings to hand out, available at: http://tinyurl.com/hf5sxce
- four readers for these readings and one child to help light the pillar candle
- candle templates to have ready for distribution at the end of the assembly, available at: http://tinyurl.com/jlxbmsm
- the ‘What does it mean to be voiceless?’ activity, available at: http://tinyurl.com/jqozr45
Optional: you may wish to play Claude Debussy’s ‘Clair de lune’ as the children enter the room, in which case you will also need the means to do so. It is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvFH_6DNRCY and is 5.02 minutes long.
Optional: you may wish to play the song ‘Light up the world’ from Glee as the children leave the room. If so, you will also need the means to do so. It is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hTfCwLpbaw and is 2.02 minutes long.
Show Slide 1.
Welcome the children and explain that, at this time of year, Christians prepare for and then celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Show Slide 2.
Ask the children how they celebrate their birthdays.
Listen to a range of responses.
Explain that you have baked a special birthday cupcake for Jesus. (Click to bring up the image.) Ask the children what they think is missing from the cake. Point out that the candle is missing. Explain that Christians light candles to celebrate Jesus’ birth, but also to remind them of Jesus.
Show Slide 3.
Explain that light is often associated with joyfulness and celebrations. Examples of such celebrations are Diwali, Hanukkah and Bonfire Night. Light is also a symbol of hope in times of darkness and suffering.
Ask the readers to read out their cards, available at: http://tinyurl.com/hf5sxce
When the readers have finished, ask another child to help you light the large pillar candle, remembering to follow health and safety guidelines.
Show Slide 4.
Explain that The Children’s Society is a charity that supports vulnerable and disadvantaged children to help bring light and hope into their lives. One of the ways in which they do this is to make sure that children and young people have a voice, so that adults listen to them and respond to what they say.
Ask for a volunteer who is willing to act out a statement written on a card for the rest of the children to guess. Show the volunteer one of the statements on the cards from the ‘What does it mean to be voiceless?’ activity and ask them to try to get everyone to guess what is on the card – but they can’t use their voice. Repeat this activity with the other ‘voiceless’ cards.
Ask the ‘voiceless’ children to describe how easy or difficult the task was. Make the point that being able to make our voices heard is very important.
Show Slide 5.
Explain that Christingle is a symbol of Christian beliefs about Jesus, as well as a reminder of the hope and light we can bring into the world.
Show the unlit Christingle and explain its symbolism to Christians.
- The orange symbolizes the whole world, showing that everyone, no matter who they are, deserves to have hope.
- The red ribbon symbolizes God’s love for everyone in the world.
- The fruit and sweets symbolize the good things of the world that we share together.
- The candle represents Jesus, who Christians believe is the light of the world.
Explain that the funny thing about candles is that they can give light without losing light – demonstrate by lighting the Christingle from the large pillar candle. Explain that, in the same way, we can bring hope and love to those around us without losing anything.
Invite the teachers from each class to come up and light a class Christingle so that the light of love and hope can be shared with everyone in school.
Time for reflection
Show Slide 6.
Remind the children that we have been focusing on the idea of light as a symbol of hope and love, and the work of The Children’s Society, who bring hope to children and young people around the country.
Set the children a challenge: ask them to think about the ways in which they can bring light into the world.
Show the candle template and invite the children to collect one on their way out. Explain that, when they get back to class, you would like them to write or draw one thing in their candle that they are going to do to bring more light into the world. It could be something to show their love for someone they care for, or something that will bring hope to someone who is struggling or feeling sad. It could be a promise to support the work of The Children’s Society or another charity by telling people about it or raising money for it so that they can continue to help those who need hope.
Suggest that the candles are displayed in the classrooms to remind everyone of their promise to bring light into the world.
As the children enter, you may like to play Claude Debussy’s ‘Clair de lune’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvFH_6DNRCY
As the children leave, you may like to play another piece of music associated with light and hope, such as ‘Light up the world’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hTfCwLpbaw