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Parties

To reflect on special times, celebrating together, having fun and making memories.

by Gill Hartley

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To reflect on special times, celebrating together, having fun and making memories.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need two large sheets of paper, a felt-tip marker and some Blu-Tack, or use an OHP.

Assembly

  1. Ask the children if anyone has a birthday this week. Have they had, or are they going to have, a party? Ask the rest of the children who likes going to parties. Can they think back to the last birthday party they attended? Was it fun? Why was it fun? Why do they like parties? Ask the children to help you make a list on a large piece of paper of the good things about parties. Stick the list up where it can be seen.

  2. Ask the children to help you make a list on another piece of paper of all the special times when people have parties, e.g. not just for birthdays, but for weddings, christenings, engagements, etc. As you finish the list, confirm with the children that parties mark the important times in people's lives. Stick this list up next to the previous list.

  3. Ask the children how many people there were at the last party they went to. Could you have a birthday party on your own? Why not? Try to bring out the idea that celebrations need other people to share the fun with.

  4. Ask if, as well as remembering the last party they went to, anyone can also remember any extra special parties they have been to? What special time did they celebrate? What made the party extra special? Ask one or two children to tell you about their memories of those parties.

  5. Talk about what might spoil a party, e.g. selfish behaviour of someone at the party, not sharing or taking turns, not enough food or drink, not enough people there, nothing to do.

  6. Tell the children a story about Jesus going to party and helping everyone to have fun and to celebrate a special time together.

    Jesus goes to a wedding party
    by Gill Hartley
    (based on John 2.1-10)

    (Note: If appropriate you might like to explain the importance of wine at the time when Jesus lived. It was a safe drink because of the way it was made (fermentation); this helped to kill off germs so that the drink was fresh and healthy.)

    One day Jesus was invited to a wedding reception. His mother and his twelve disciples went as well. When they got there it was very crowded - there were lots and lots of people already at the reception; in fact there were so many that very soon the wine ran out and there was nothing else to drink at the party. When he realized this, the bridegroom (the man getting married) was very upset. He had let his guests down, the party would be spoiled. How could they all have fun and celebrate the wedding if there was nothing to drink?

    Jesus' mother, Mary, overheard the servants talking. She went over to Jesus and said to him, 'Something dreadful has happened - they've run out of wine!' Then she turned to the servants and said to them, 'Do whatever he tells you to.'

    Six enormous water jars were standing nearby. Each one could hold about a hundred litres. Jesus told the servants to fill each one to the brim with water. After they'd done that he told them to take some of the water from the jars to the man in charge of the food and wine.

    When the man in charge of the food and wine tasted it, he was amazed. It was the best wine he had ever tasted! (Of course, he didn't know where it had come from, although the servants knew!) He called the bridegroom over and said to him, 'This is wonderful stuff! Usually people serve the best wine first and then at the end they serve the cheaper wine, but you've done it the other way round!'

    And the party continued long into the night and everyone had fun celebrating the happy couple's special day. In fact it was the sort of party that they all remembered for a very long time!

Time for reflection

Draw the children's attention to the two lists made earlier and sum up with them the things you need to have a really good party. Use these as a basis for prayer.

Ask the children to join you in saying a responsive prayer. Ask them each time you say the words 'We say' to join in with the phrase 'Thank you'.

Dear God,
For exciting parties, for ...
(read out some of the suggestions from the first list)
We say: Thank you.

For the fun we share together at special times, such as ...
(read out the suggestions from the second list)
We say: Thank you.

For all our friends and families,
who help us to have fun and to enjoy special times,
We say: Thank you.

For everyone who helps people who are on their own,
who are lonely and who have no one to share things with,
We say: Thank you.
Amen.

Song/music

'Praise the Lord in the rhythm of your music' (Come and Praise, 33)

Publication date: March 2002   (Vol.4 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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