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No Room

A dramatic retelling of the Nativity, that can be used to focus on the Bible story and meaning of Christmas and/or the issue of homelessness.

by Gordon and Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

A dramatic retelling of the Nativity, involving the whole school, that can be used to focus on the Bible story and meaning of Christmas and/or the issue of homelessness.

Preparation and materials

  • Ensure that you are familiar with the Nativity story and the children's action that accompanies each part.
  • Choose the reflection(s) you wish to use (below). Ask one or two children to read them, if appropriate.

Assembly

  1. Explain that in this morning's assembly, the whole school is going to tell the story of the first Christmas. Everyone will have a part and will need to join in.

  2. Begin with the story of the census. Explain what a census is - an official counting and collection of everyone's details - and say that you will have a quick census now. You will count to three, and everyone in the hall must clearly say their name and their age: 1, 2, 3.

    Obviously a real census couldn't work like that. Everyone would need to give his or her details one at a time, and this could be a very long process. Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem because Joseph was a descendant of King David, and that was where he had to give his details.

  3. Explain that they had a long and tiring journey and this was especially difficult for Mary because she was soon to have a baby. Ask the children to stand up, and walk on the spot. They are getting more and more tired, hungry and thirsty. But, no matter how tired they are, they just have to keep going until, at last, they arrive in Bethlehem. Now at last they can sit down, with a sigh because they're so tired.

    If appropriate and if time allows, ask a few children to the front to share their mimes.

  4. Explain that Bethlehem was full to bursting point with people arriving for the census, and all the inns were very busy. Ask the children to think about the kinds of things that would be going on in the inns. Food being made, drinks being served, guests being welcomed, beds being made up, and so on. On the count of three, ask the children to act out the busyness of Bethlehem where they're sitting: 1, 2, 3.

    If appropriate and if time allows, ask a few children to the front to share their mimes.

  5. Mary and Joseph, tired as they are, have to look for a room for the night. They knock on lots of doors. Ask the children to demonstrate door knocking, either on the floor, or by clapping. Practise until everyone has a clear 1, 2, 3 rhythm, or a more complicated one if you wish!

    Mary and Joseph knock at the first inn (children knock) - no room. They knock at the second inn (children knock) - no room. They knock at the third inn (children knock) - no room. They are about to give up, but they knock at one more inn (children knock) - no room … unless they would like to sleep in the stable with the animals. Sorry, but that's the only space left.

  6. So Mary and Joseph spend the night in the stable and that's where the baby is born. Ask the children to imagine that they are holding a newborn baby, being very careful as they gently rock him.

    If appropriate and if time allows, ask a few children to the front to share their mimes.

    Alternatively, practise and perform a shout of joy at the baby's birth: Three cheers for the new baby, hip, hip hooray!

Time for reflection

Ask the children to imagine that they are still holding the baby, as you or individual children read one or more of the following.

1
New life, new light - a baby is born.
New hope, this night - a baby is born.
New thanks we say - a baby is born.
New thanks this day - a baby is born.

Who will he be - this baby so small?
What things will he see - this baby so small?
What will happen to him - this baby so small?
What changes he'll bring - this baby so small!

2
We think of Mary and Joseph alone in a strange town.
They had nowhere to live, no one to turn to.
They were hungry and cold, perhaps a little afraid.
They needed shelter, somewhere to sleep -
somewhere for Mary to have her baby.

We think of people today, alone in strange towns and cities.
People who have nowhere to live, no one to turn to.
People who are hungry and cold, perhaps a little afraid.
They need shelter, somewhere to sleep -
somewhere to call home.

Dear God,
We say thank you for our homes.
We pray for homeless people all over the world.
Help us in this country to do all we can to bring an end to homelessness.
Amen.

3
Dear God,
We thank you that Jesus was born.
We thank you that he grew up to teach us about God's love.
We think of such a special baby being born,
not in a palace,
not in a rich house,
not in a house at all,
but in a stable with the animals.
Thank you for Jesus,
a special friend for all people.
Amen.

 

Song/music

'Peace, perfect peace' (Come and Praise, 53)

Publication date: December 2001   (Vol.3 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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