The Gift of Christmas
To celebrate Christmas and reflect on its Christian significance
by The Revd Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To celebrate Christmas and to reflect upon its Christian significance.
Preparation and materials
- You will need nine parcels made from empty boxes, variously wrapped in Christmas paper.
- Nine large gift tags, about 30 cm by 10 cm, with the individual letters C, H, R, I, S, T, M, A, S printed on one side. (Make sure that you can distinguish between the two S's!)
- On the reverse, and in corresponding order, print the following, one on each:
- Attach the labels with some wool/string and sticky tape, and lightly Blu-Tack them to the parcels so that only the letters of CHRISTMAS are showing.
- Draw the children's attention to the parcels. Explain that they are pretend gifts, which have been made to help everyone think about the real gifts of Christmas.
Invite nine children to collect a parcel each and to display them so that the letters spell the word CHRISTMAS.
Challenge all of the children to think of things, beginning with each letter, that they associate with Christmastime. You might write one of the suggestions on each label or simply 'brainstorm' together.
The following might emerge:
C: Cards, Crackers, Candles, Cake
H: Holly, Helping to put up decorations
R: Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer
I: Icy weather, Icing, Ice cream, Invitations to parties
S: Snow, Sleighbells, Santa Claus
T: Turkey, Tinsel
M: Mistletoe, Music
- Reflect that there are many gifts to enjoy and to be thankful for at Christmas time, but one special gift is at the heart of Christmas. Ask the children to display the other side of the labels, forming the message: Today a Saviour has been born to you. Luke 2.11.
Read the words together. Does anyone know where in the Christmas story they are found? (They are the words of the angels to the shepherds.) Explain that Luke 2.11 tells us where the words are found in the Bible (i.e. The Gospel according to St Luke, chapter 2, verse 11).
- Invite the children to consider what the word 'Saviour' means, giving the first three letters as a clue. It means 'one who saves' and refers to Jesus. Christians believe that he was born to save the world from selfishness, and to help people to live together in peace. Conclude that at Christmastime we enjoy many different gifts but, for Christians, the birth of Jesus is the greatest gift of all.
Time for reflection
Invite everyone to quietly say thank you for Christmas and what it means to them. Introduce the following Christmas Gift List.
This Christmas please give me:
the gentleness of Mary;
the kindness of Joseph;
the joy of the angels;
the wonder of the shepherds;
the generosity of the wise men;
and the love of Jesus,
which is the greatest gift of all.
Sing a Christmas song or carol, perhaps 'While shepherds watched their flocks by night', or 'Under Bethlehem's star so bright' (Carol, Gaily Carol, 38), or 'I want to see your baby boy' (Come and Praise, 117).