Not on Our Own!
No one should be excluded
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider how everyone is included in the Christmas message of love.
Preparation and materials
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Sprout Boy meets a galaxy of stars’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.00 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnoxGr_sTz4
- Have available some cones or chalk to mark a circle on the floor. You will need to arrange for six children to stand inside the circle when requested, and a seventh child who will try to gain access to the circle. The children inside the circle should block the way for the child outside the circle, preventing him/her from stepping inside.
- Read the following description of a Christmas dinner table.
It was Christmas Day and all the family had taken their seats at the dining table. Tummies rumbled at the aroma wafting from the kitchen. The turkey was the first to be carried through on a silver platter and placed in the centre of the table. Mouths watered and there was much oohing and aahing. Next came the roast potatoes - brown, crisp and cooked to perfection - with sweet parsnips and jugs of rich gravy at their side. Chipolata sausages, a particular favourite with the children, were added to the spread, while the adults would enjoy theirs wrapped in streaky bacon. Then came an array of vegetables of all shapes and colours: red cabbage, mashed turnip, green peas and Brussels sprouts. Plates would be piled high, every plate cleaned, all would be enjoyed . . . well, almost all . . .
- Ask the children to think about the table spread with all sorts of food. Ask them which would be their favourite thing to eat: sausages? Turkey? Carrots?
See if any of the children say that sprouts are their favourite food. Depending on the answers, express that although some people think that sprouts are delicious, other people don’t like them at all. In fact, some people only eat sprouts at Christmas because they are a traditional food.
- Ask the children to imagine being a Brussels sprout who nobody wants to eat at Christmas. Ask how they think they would feel.
- Point out that obviously, Brussels sprouts don’t have feelings. However, if they could talk, they might say that Christmas was not their favourite time of year. There can be a tendency for people to turn up their noses at sprouts. Christmas could be a time when sprouts would feel pretty excluded.
- Ask how many of the children love Brussels sprouts.
Play the YouTube video ‘Sprout Boy meets a galaxy of stars’.
- Ask the children what they thought the message of the video was.
Listen to a range of responses.
Ensure that phrases such as ‘inviting him in’ and ‘together as one is all it’s about’ are included.
- Point out that there should be a place for everyone at Christmas. No one should be left out or excluded.
- Ask the children to think for a moment about what it means to be excluded.
Mark a circle on the floor and ask six children to stand inside it. Ask a seventh child to walk round and round the circle, trying to get in. Those inside should jostle and push with their elbows, making it impossible for the child outside to get in.
- Ask the children what message is being given to the child on the outside of the circle. The message is, ‘There is no room for you.’
Time for reflection
Tell the Christmas story – you may wish to use the version below.
Once upon a time, a baby was about to be born. His parents lived in a small town called Nazareth and that’s where his mother, Mary, thought he would be born. However, just days before the birth, the ruler at that time decided to take a census of the population, so everyone had to go back to the town of their birth. Joseph, Mary’s husband, was from Bethlehem, so they had no choice but to set out on a long journey. When they got to Bethlehem, they found the town heaving with people, all there for the same purpose. Mary knew that her baby would soon be born, but there was no room anywhere: no home, no hotel, no B & B, no hospital, no safe, clean place for him to be born. So, the baby was born in a stable with the animals as company.
That night, God sent angels to tell some shepherds out on the hillside the wonderful news about this baby who had been born. ‘I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people,’ the angel announced. The shepherds hurried to see the saviour who had been born.
Later, wise men arrived from the east. They had travelled many miles, following a star that told them of the birth of a special king.
This baby was for everyone: rich men and poor men, wise men and farm workers, people from the east and people from the west. The Bible says, ‘those from every nation, tribe, people, language . . .’ No one would be excluded.
Christians believe that the message of Christmas is a message for everyone. They believe that Jesus came to show God’s love for all people throughout the world.
Ask the children, ‘Do you know anyone who may feel excluded this Christmas?’
Encourage the children to look out for people who may feel lonely or excluded, and to help make Christmas a happy time for everyone.
Thank you for Christmas.
Thank you for the wonderful gift of your son, Jesus.
Thank you for the joyful news that you love us all.