Part of a Big Family
The story of Ruth and Naomi, part 6
by Charmian Roberts
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the link between Ruth and Naomi’s story and the family tree of Jesus.
Preparation and materials
You will need two bags. The first should contain clues to a Christmas celebration, such as a cracker, tree decorations, party hat, star and Christmassy wrapping paper. The second should contain clues to a wedding celebration, such as a veil, confetti, cake and wedding photograph.
You will also need a nativity scene. Alternatively, you may prefer to use an image of a nativity scene, in which case you will also need the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at: http://tinyurl.com/j9nlson
Optional: you may wish to familiarize yourself with the previous assemblies in this series about Ruth and Naomi:
- ‘Life has ups and downs’, available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2478/life-has-ups-and-downs
- ‘What makes a good friend’, available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2514/what-makes-a-good-friend
- ‘Taking care of the poor’, available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2527/taking-care-of-the-poor
- ‘Helping others’, available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2620/helping-others
- ‘The plan unfolds’, available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2647/the-plan-unfolds
Explain that you are going to show the children some clues about a famous celebration that you are thinking about and you want them to guess which celebration it is. Ask a child to come to the front to take out items one by one from your first bag. Establish that you are thinking about Christmas.
Ask the children what sorts of things they do with their families at Christmas or other big celebrations. Point out that it may seem rather strange to be talking about Christmas at this time of year, but they will understand why by the end of the assembly!
Choose another child to remove the items from the second bag, and establish that you are thinking about the wedding from last week’s assembly (‘The plan unfolds’). Remind the children that Ruth got married to Boaz, and then she had a baby boy called Obed.
Tell the children that Obed, Ruth’s son, grew up and had a son, too, whose name was Jesse. Jesse grew up and had seven sons, the youngest of whom was called David. David was therefore Ruth’s great-grandson, and Naomi’s great-great-grandson. David became a great king and ruled over Israel for many years. He was a good king who loved and served God.
Many years later, another baby boy was born in Bethlehem, who was a descendant of King David (a great-great-great-great-great-great- . . . grandson). Ask if the children can think of another famous baby boy born in Bethlehem. The children may remember that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Remind the children that Jesus’ birth is what Christians celebrate at Christmas, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Ruth and her baby many years before.
Show the nativity scene, or the image of it.
Point out that this is why there was a link with Christmas at the start of the assembly. Because Ruth married Boaz and had her son Obed, it was possible for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem many years later!
Remind the children about Ruth and Naomi’s story. Remind them that Ruth left everything behind and left her country, Moab, to come to Bethlehem with Naomi, her mother-in-law. Ruth stuck by Naomi, making the promise that Naomi’s God would be her God, too. Ruth was alone, and a stranger in a strange land, but she became part of Jesus’ family tree!
Ask the children to think of all the people who attended Ruth and Boaz’s wedding, and how they all rejoiced at the birth of a new baby into the family.
Ask the children to think about their families. Who is in their family? Answers could include mums, dads, brothers, sisters, stepmums, stepdads, aunts, uncles, cousins and so on. Point out that families are not just the people we live with, but can also include a wider circle of people. Sometimes, we talk about the ‘school family’ and sometimes, we have family friends who are so close that we look on them as family. Some of us have very small families, some bigger, and all families are different (sensitivity towards children in different sorts of families, or not looked after by their birth families, is important here). Christians believe that everyone can be part of God’s family - a place where we can be loved and cared for.
Time for reflection
Families are important to everyone. Christians believe that being part of God’s family is important, too. Celebrating with families is a special thing to do, whether it is celebrating at Christmas, celebrating the birth of a baby or any other celebration. However, the story of Ruth reminds us that sometimes people don’t have close families. There are many elderly people who are alone – just like Naomi was in this story. Likewise, there may be people who feel alone in our school. We need to be on the lookout for them so that we can include them in our friendship groups and in the wider school family.
Thank you that you cared for Ruth and Naomi and that they were included in your plan to send Jesus into the world.
Thank you for our own families who love and care for us.
Please help us to remember those who are lonely and feel excluded and sad.
Please help us to be inclusive in our friendships.
Please help us to think about other people.