by Rebecca Parkinson
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To use an Advent calendar to remind children about the Christmas story.
Preparation and materials
- You will need an Advent calendar – this can be any kind you like, even a chocolate one! If you don’t choose a chocolate one, have other small rewards ready.
- Ask the children what they enjoy most about the lead up to Christmas. Ask them if they have opened Advent calendars this morning.
- Explain that, while Advent calendars are great fun and lead us into all the excitement of Christmas Day, the season of Advent is the time that reminds us of the first Christmas – the arrival of Jesus into the world.
- Show the children the Advent calendar you have brought in. Explain that it is so easy in all the excitement to forget about the real meaning of Christmas. Tell them that you are going to ask questions about the Christmas story. If they get an answer correct, then they can come up and open a door on the calendar (and eat the chocolate or other reward). Remind the children to open the doors in date order.
- Ask the children the following questions.
What is the name of Jesus’ mum? (Mary.)
Who told Mary that she was going to have a baby? (An angel.)
What was the name of Jesus’ dad? (Joseph.)
Where did Mary and Joseph live? (Nazareth.)
What was the name of the town that Mary and Joseph travelled to? (Bethlehem.)
Why did Mary and Joseph have to travel to Bethlehem? (Caesar had ordered that people returned to their home town for a census.)
Where did Mary and Joseph end up staying? (In a stable.)
Why did they sleep in a stable? (There was no room at any of the inns.)
When the baby Jesus was born, what did his mum wrap him in? (Strips of cloth.)
Where did Mary place baby Jesus? (In a manger.)
Who went to visit Jesus on the night that he was born? (Shepherds.)
Where had the shepherds been that night? (On the hillside.)
How did the shepherds know Jesus had been born? (Some angels appeared and told them.)
What did the angels tell them to do? (Go to the stable and find the baby who had been born.)
What did the wise men see that made them go to look for the new baby? (A new star in the sky.)
Who did the wise men call to see on the way to find Jesus? (King Herod.)
Why was Herod worried? (He didn’t want someone else to be king instead of him.)
What presents did the wise men give to Jesus? (Gold, frankincense and myrrh.)
Why did the wise men not go back to Herod’s palace as he had asked them to? (They were warned not to in a dream.)
When God warned Joseph in a dream that Herod was looking for Jesus, where did Mary, Joseph and the baby flee to? (Egypt.)
Where did the family move to after a few years? (Back to Nazareth.)
In which book do we read the story of Jesus’ birth? (The Bible.)
- Point out that today’s assembly has been fun, but the story is very important. Christians believe that Jesus was God’s son sent from heaven. It was his birth that was the very first Christmas! Challenge the children to remember the story when they open their calendars.
Time for reflection
Close your eyes and think about the stable in the Christmas story. Do you think you would have liked to have been born there?! Imagine the noise of the animals and the smells! Yet that was where Jesus was born! Think about all the poor people in this world. Isn’t it great that God let Jesus be born in such a poor place rather than in a palace?
Thank you for the Christmas story.
Thank you that Jesus wasn’t born in a beautiful palace, but in a poor stable.
Please help us to remember children all over the world who are born into poverty.
This Christmas, please help us to be grateful for everything we have.
Please help us to be willing to give as well as to receive.
‘Make me a channel of your peace’ (Come and Praise, 147)