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Celebrate together

To reflect upon the idea that celebrations such as Christmas mean so much more when shared with others.

by Gill Hartley

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To reflect upon the idea that celebrations such as Christmas mean so much more when shared with others.

Preparation and materials

  • (Optional) A selection of Christmas items, such as decorations, Christmas cards, wrapping paper.
  • Be familiar with the parable of the great dinner (Luke 14.16–23, see section 3).

Assembly

  1. If you have them, show the children the Christmas items you’ve brought in. Introduce the items as things which help you celebrate Christmas.

    Remind the children what it is that Christians are celebrating at Christmas (the birthday of Jesus, the Son of God). Include people of other faiths who at this time of the year might have their own family or faith celebrations.
  2. Ask the children to tell you about what they are looking forward to this Christmas/this holiday. What are their best memories from past Christmases? What do they most enjoy eating at Christmas? What presents do they hope they will get?

    Ask them to imagine what it would be like to spend Christmas alone – would it be as much fun?

    Ask the children to think back to the last birthday party they attended. Was it fun? Why was it fun? How many people were there? 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.
  3. Either in your own words, or in the version below, tell the story Jesus told about a special party (Luke 14.16–23).

    The special party

    Once upon a time a man decided to throw a big party. He invited lots and lots of people. He spent a long time getting everything ready – he wanted it to be the best party ever!

    When at last everything was ready, he sent his servant out to tell everyone he had invited that it was time to come to the party. But they all made excuses and said they couldn’t come.

    One said, ‘I’ve just bought a field and I need to go and look at it – I can’t come!’

    Another said, ‘I’ve just bought five pairs of oxen and I want to try them out. I can’t come!’

    A third said, ‘I’ve just got married! I certainly can’t come!’

    The servant went back to his master and told him what had happened. The master was angry that his friends wouldn’t come to his party and so he told his servant to go out into the streets and alleyways of the city and invite all the beggars he met to come to the party.

    The servant rushed off to do this and the people came – the poor, the blind, those who were ill and those who could hardly walk – but even so there was still space for more.

    So the master sent his servant out again and said to him, ‘This time, go into the country lanes and look under the hedges for all those who are sleeping rough and tell them they’ve got to come. I don’t want my house empty for my party! I can’t have a proper party unless my house is absolutely full!’
  4. Go over the main points of the story with the children, emphasizing that the man knew he could not have a proper celebration without people to share it with. Link this to their own experience of parties and Christmas celebrations.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to join you in saying a responsive prayer. Say that each time they hear the words, ‘we say’, you want them to add, ‘Thank you’.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

for the fun we share together

at special times such as Christmas and birthdays, we say,
thank you.

For parties, for party games, for special food, for presents

and for exciting things to do, 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 lonely,

and have no one to share things with, we say,
thank you.

Amen.

Song/music

Finish with a practical example of celebrating together: let the children vote on a favourite carol and enjoy singing it together!

Publication date: December 2011   (Vol.13 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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