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An Advent assembly

by Manon Ceridwen James

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To explore Advent by looking at and acting out experiences of waiting.

Preparation and materials

  • Write out cards with the following role-play scenarios on them:

    – waiting at a bus stop
    – waiting in a dentist's waiting room
    – waiting to open a present
    – waiting for your favourite band to come on stage.
  • If possible, have an Advent calendar available.
  • Have available some Advent or Christmas music or carols of your choice and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.


  1. Explain that you are going to be talking about Advent. Ask the children if they have heard about Advent. Talk to them about Advent calendars and how they will be counting down to Christmas (or are already doing so) using these calendars. Which ones do they have?

    Show Advent calendar, if using.

  2. Discuss how an important theme during Advent is that of waiting and, in order to explore this, you’re going to have some fun using role play. Ask for volunteers – about four or five at a time is ideal.

  3. Each time, show the group of children a card you prepared with one of the scenarios on it. Give the group time to think about how they will act it out, which role each person will play, the kinds of things they will say. Let the children role play for a few minutes, then stop the action after they have communicated effectively the kind of waiting the particular scenario is about.

  4. For waiting at a bus stop, after the children have role played this for a while, ask them how it feels to be waiting for a bus to arrive. Is it boring? Are they cold and fed up?

  5. For waiting in a dentist's waiting room, one of them might choose to be the dentist, another a receptionist, others those who are waiting. After this role play, explore with them how it feels to wait in a dentist’s waiting room. Are they nervous or worried?

  6. For waiting to open a present, one might want to be a parent or friend giving the present, one might be chosen to be the one opening the present. How does it feel to have to wait? Is it exciting? Is it difficult or frustrating wanting to open a present, but having to wait till your birthday or Christmas?

  7. For waiting for your favourite band to come on stage, ask who wants to be the lead singer?! The rest might want to be the others in the band or screaming fans. In this role play, explore with the group how it feels to be waiting for their favourite band. Is it exciting, overwhelming  . . .  ?

  8. After you have thanked the groups for their acting skills, explore with the whole assembly that there are different kinds of waiting – bored waiting, excited waiting, worried waiting (we call this ‘dread’), waiting with a sense of hope.

  9. Advent is all about waiting, but not with fear or worry or boredom. In Advent, we wait with excitement because we are celebrating the coming of a very special baby into the world. We are waiting with hope because Jesus came to bring hope to our world.

Time for reflection

What are you hopeful for this Christmas?

We can hope for things apart from presents – having a good time with the family, peace in our community and in the world  . . .

Heavenly father,
We thank you for Christmas.
Help us to celebrate Jesus' coming with joy.
We also think of the people who are lonely or sad this Christmas. Help us to be their friends.



Chosen Christmas or Advent music or carols

Publication date: December 2014   (Vol.16 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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