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Everybody's waiting

To introduce Advent as a time of waiting and preparation.

by Gill O’Neill

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To introduce Advent as a time of waiting and preparation.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a colleague to help you. Ask your colleague to explain, at the start of the assembly, that you will be a couple of minutes late arriving. Tell your colleague to hold the children in readiness, stressing to them that they are waiting for you to arrive and should be ready for when you get there.

  • Prepare a flip-chart or OHT with the heading: Preparation for Christmas – my list of jobs to be done.
  • Prepare a second flip-chart page or OHT with the heading: Preparation for Jesus’ coming – list of jobs to be done by . . .
    Under this heading make a list of the following names, allowing space for writing in the jobs: the prophets; the angel Gabriel; Mary; Joseph; John the Baptist.
  • Have appropriate pens available.
  • (Optional) A copy of the parable of the wise and foolish girls from a children’s Bible (Matthew 25.1–13).

Assembly

  1. Wait until the whole school has assembled and your colleague has explained that they are waiting for you to arrive (see ‘Preparation and materials’). Judge how late to be – it needn’t be more than a moment or two.

    As you arrive, apologize to your colleague, and then apologize profusely to the school, stressing the words, ‘Sorry to have kept you waiting. I hope you are ready for the assembly now.’
  2. Ask the children to think about the time of the year. Explain that at different times of the year, Christians remember different events linked to the life of Jesus. They give these times special names: for example, his birth (Christmas); his death and resurrection (Easter). We call this ‘the Christian calendar’. The four-week period leading up to his birth at Christmas has its own name: Advent.

    Explain that Advent is meant to be a time of waiting for the coming of Jesus, and of preparation for the celebration of his birth.

    Tell the children that during December many of them, and many of their parents, have lots to do to get ready for Christmas. Ask the children what jobs they think should appear on your list of jobs to do. Write these on the flip-chart/OHT or get a volunteer to do the writing for you. For instance: make or buy cards; write the cards; buy presents; wrap presents; bake cake; put up decorations; hang up stockings; carol singing.
  3. Now tell the children that long before Jesus was born people were preparing for his coming. They didn’t know when, where or how he would come, but they started preparing. Now refer to your second flip-chart/OHT.

    Ask the children if they can think of any jobs that the people mentioned on the chart/OHT had to do in preparation for Jesus’ coming (you may need to help them with the prophets). For instance:

    The prophets: Telling people how God wanted them to live.
    The angel Gabriel: Announcing the good news to Mary.
    Mary: Looking after herself and the baby inside her; preparing for the baby’s birth .
    Joseph: Looking after Mary and preparing for the birth.
    John the Baptist: Being born! And later announcing Jesus’ special work.
  4. When you have completed the lists, tell the children that as well as doing all the jobs on our lists, we need to prepare ourselves for Christmas. How can we do this?

    If time allows, tell the parable of the wise and foolish girls from a children’s Bible (Matthew 25.1–13). Explain that this is a story about being ready for the coming of the King. It is similar to Christians making ready for Christmas. We all, of whatever faith, make ready for the Christmas holiday season.
  5. End by reminding everyone that they had to wait for you at the beginning of the assembly – you hope this will help them to remember the Advent theme of waiting and being ready.

Time for reflection

Prayer
Dear God, we thank you for this time of Advent,
a special time of waiting and preparing.
Help us, while we go about our preparations,
to find time to think of the gift of Jesus
that you gave to us at that first Christmastime.
Amen.

Song/music

‘There is singing in the desert’ (Come and Praise, 26)

Publication date: November 2011   (Vol.13 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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