Much more than an orange
by The Children’s Society
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
SEAL Theme 6 - Relationships. The theme aims to develop knowledge, understanding and skills in three key social and emotional aspects of learning: self-awareness, managing feelings and empathy.
SMSC Theme 1 – Spiritual. Explore beliefs and experience; respect faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.
Preparation and materials
- You will need:
- 1 x pre-made Christingle
- 1 x orange with a pre-cut cross in the top of it
- 4 x cocktail sticks with 4 sweets on each
- red ribbon/tape
- 1 x wax candle
- 2cm x 2cm foil square
- 4–8 tea lights or 3 x candles and candle holders
- box of matches
- The powerpoint presentation Christingle Assembly (2015)
- You could use this assembly as an opportunity to invite your local minister to lead.
- You will need to adapt section two beforehand.
- You may want to dim the lights in your assembly space so that candles can shine more clearly.
1. Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: Begin the assembly by asking if anyone can think of a word that rhymes with ‘orange’. (Hint: only sporange, a very rare alternative form of sporangium, a botanical term for a part of a fern or similar plant, rhymes with orange.)
Invite whoever has the closest guess or says that nothing rhymes with orange to come to the front. Give him/her the orange to hold.
2. Slide 3: How many days until Christmas?
Before your assembly takes place, you’ll need to find out how many days there are until Christmas and then edit slide 3 of the presentation appropriately. You can use http://days.to/christmas/2015 to find out how many days it is until Christmas. If your assembly is taking place after Christmas, you’ll need to work out how many days it has been since Christmas instead.
Ask the pupils what is happening in x number of days. Invite whoever guesses correctly to come to the front and hold some red tape or ribbon.
3. Slide 4: Who’s looking forward to Christmas?
Next, ask the pupils who is looking forward to Christmas and why? (If your assembly is taking place after Christmas, ask who enjoyed Christmas.) Invite one of the pupils to come to the front and hold the four cocktail sticks, without eating the sweets.
4. Why do Christians celebrate Christmas?’
Ask the pupils why Christians celebrate Christmas. Invite whoever is the first to provide an answer that mentions celebrating the birth of Jesus to come to the front and hold the candle.
Ask the four volunteers at the front to work together to build one item with the objects that they have each been given, and to give the item a name once it has been built.
Once they have finished building, ask them to explain what their object is and what they have called it. Thank them and ask them to sit back down.
Now produce your pre-prepared Christingle. Compare the two objects and explain that your object is called a Christingle.
5. Slides 5-12: What is a Christingle?
For this section, you will need to click on a slide each time you say the word ‘great’. You can use the text below verbatim, or explain the history of Christingle in your own words. When listing the different things that are associated with Christmas, perhaps include some of those that pupils mentioned in their answers as to why they are looking forward to Christmas.
Christingle started in Germany in 1747, probably when your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents were around. A bishop called John noticed that people were forgetting the reason that Christian families come together to celebrate Christmas. The presents, chocolate, holidays, Father Christmas and so on (list anything else that was mentioned in answer to the fourth question) are great. But they aren’t the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
6. Slide 13: The real meaning of Christmas
Explain to the pupils that the real meaning of Christmas is to celebrate Jesus’ birthday - to celebrate that Jesus, God’s Son, was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. God sent Jesus to show us how much God loves each and every single one of us, no matter how we are feeling or the situation we are in. To show this, Bishop John used:
The orange to represent the world [put together your Christingle as you explain].
He then took red tape/ribbon and wrapped it round the orange to show that God loves the whole world. Nothing and no one is missed out.
The four sticks represent spring, summer, autumn and winter, and the sweets represent God’s creation, which includes you and me!
Finally, the candle [pause to light it] is to remind us that Jesus said that he ‘is the light of the world’. Even in the darkest places, when we are really upset about something, God still wants us to know that he loves us and is there for us.
Start lighting your tea lights/candles as you talk through this next section.
Slide 14: Explain that Jesus said that Christians are also ‘the light of the world’ (Matthew 5.14-16) and that they should love the world like God does. Christians are called to be a shining light for those in dark places and to love everyone, particularly if they are having a bad time.
This message of love spread like wildfire. From one baby being born two thousand years ago, there are now around two billion Christians in the world. That's one in three people!
7. Showing love to people.
Explain that in sharing God’s love Christians have set up organisations like The Children's Society. The Children's Society works tirelessly to make sure every child in our country has an equal chance in life, no matter what their background is or how much money their family earn.
Everyone in this room will experience dark moments, times when life is tough. And that is why through Christingle The Children's Society raises over £1 million to help support children across the country who are facing a tough time.
Time for reflection
Explain that, no matter what we believe, we can all be shining lights and show love to whoever we meet, particularly our friends and family. Give the group a few moments or 30 seconds to each think of someone they know who is having a tough time and think about a way in which they can show them love. Or, if you are having a tough time, spend the 30 seconds remembering that God loves you no matter what, and think of a friend or family member to speak with who can help you to cope.
Thank you that you love the world.
Thank you that you love me.
Thank you for those who love me.
Please help me to show your love to everyone I meet.
That I may shine like Jesus, for those in need.
You may wish to close the assembly by singing a song relevant to Christingle. You can find a choice of songs in our Christingle songbook online at christingle.org.