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'Hello, Scruff!' - a special day

Baby Jesus is presented at the temple – an assembly for Candlemas (Sunday nearest 2 February)

by the Revd Sylvia Burgoyne

Suitable for Key Stage 1 - Church Schools


To celebrate how we are all special to God, our Father.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a glove puppet or sock puppet of a donkey, called Scruff.
  • As the assembly begins, ensure that you already have Scruff the puppet on your hand.


  1. Scruff waves to the children. Encourage them to say, ‘Hello, Scruff!’

    If this is the first time the children have met Scruff, you will need to use the following introduction.

    Scruff lives on a farm with Lucy Jane, her mum, Mrs B, her dad, Farmer Brown and her baby brother, Tom. Lucy Jane loves Scruff. She looks after him. She plays with him and she talks to him – when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Scruff is her best friend!

  2. Scruff watched Lucy Jane, her mum, dad and the baby drive off in the car. They all looked very smart in their best clothes and baby Tom was wearing a long white gown. Lucy Jane waved out of the window, saying, ‘I’ll tell you all about it when I get back Scruff!’

    Ask the children, ‘Where do you think they could be going, dressed in their best clothes?’

    It seemed a long time before Scruff heard the sound of the cars coming into the farmyard. Out tumbled Lucy Jane’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, happily chattering to her mum and dad and cooing over baby Tom – ‘Isn’t he lovely?’, ‘Hasn’t he been good?’, ‘He’s got his dad’s nose!’, ‘I think he looks more like his mum!’

    Ask the children, ‘Who do you look like?’

    Lucy Jane saw Scruff watching and ran over to the stable. ‘We’ve been to church, Scruff. The vicar poured water over Tom’s head. He didn’t like it and started to cry, but Mum gave him a cuddle and made him smile. The vicar called him by his posh name – Thomas Andrew Brown – and said that all children are special and belong to God’s family. That means I’m special, too, Scruff. Now, we’re going to have a big family party. Mum has made a super cake!’

    Ask the children, ‘When do you have big family parties?’

    Take Scruff off.

  3. Mary and Joseph went to the big church in Jerusalem. It was called the temple. They wanted to say thank you to God for the gift of their baby. They named him Jesus, which was the name God’s messenger, the angel Gabriel, gave to Mary.

    Simeon was an old man who often went into the temple. He was also a very good man. He had waited a long time for God to keep his promise, which was that he would send them a new king. 

    When Simeon saw baby Jesus, he was so happy and asked Mary if he could hold him. He told her that her baby was very special. He would show everyone how much God loved them. Then an old woman called Anna came up and she thought baby Jesus was wonderful, too!

    Mary and Joseph were amazed as they listened to the old man and woman. They left the temple and returned to their home in Nazareth.

    Put Scruff back on your hand and ask the children, ‘Scruff wants to know if you think Mary and baby Jesus rode home on a donkey?’

Time for reflection

Spend a few moments thinking about these questions.

– Who is special to you?
– Who thinks you are special? 

Father God,
Thank you, that we are all your special children.


‘There are hundreds of sparrows’, verse 4 (Come and Praise, 15)
‘He's got the whole world’ (Come and Praise, 19)

Publication date: January 2014   (Vol.16 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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