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Singing together

by Alan Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To celebrate the joy of Christmas song.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the Bible passage, Luke 2.8-20, which is available at:

    You may wish to ask a child to read this passage, in which case he/she will need time beforehand to prepare.

  • You may also wish to use a copy of the book, The Shepherd Who Couldn’t Sing, which is available at:

  • Optional: you may wish to set up a microphone for the singers to use in the Assembly, Step 2. You may wish to pre-arrange for some children (or staff) to take part in the singing.


  1. Ask the children whether they watch TV talent shows such as The Voice UK. If possible, refer to such a programme on TV at the present time, such as The X Factor. Observe that members of the school community will perhaps have voted for their favourite contestants.

  2. Point out that thousands of people audition to appear on such shows and then ask the children the following questions.

    - Would anyone here be brave enough to take part?
    - Who would like to become an amazing star performer?

    Offer the opportunity for some children (and even staff!) to display their singing talents. Ensure that each is positively received and affirmed.

  3. Ask the singers how it felt to be chosen. Reflect that there are probably quite a lot of people present who might have liked to have sung, but were afraid to do so.

  4. How did they feel? Observe that greater confidence and enjoyment can often be found in singing together. Indeed, music plays a large part in Christmas celebrations. Singing is also heard in the Christmas story.

  5. Invite everyone to listen to part of the Christmas story as told in the Bible. Read (or ask a child to read) the story of the shepherds and the angels, which is found in Luke 2.8-20.

    Ask the children to indicate when the words singing praises are read by raising their hands.

  6. If available, introduce the retelling of the Christmas story that appears in the book, The Shepherd Who Couldn’t Sing.

    Explain that in this book, a shepherd boy who lacks the X factor meets a choir of angels and finds his voice.

  7. Review the stories, both of which tell of fear being overcome. The shepherds were naturally terrified by the sight and sound of angels, but soon they were singing for joy. Likewise, the boy in The Shepherd Who Couldn’t Sing overcomes his fears and sings out loud.

  8. Conclude with the thought that at Christmas, it’s possible to discover a sense of peace and harmony in singing together. With some encouragement, we can find the confidence that we need to discover and develop our talents.

  9. So, sing! Introduce Jake’s song’ from The Shepherd Who Couldn’t Sing. The song can be sung as a round in up to four parts, using the tune to Frère Jacques

    Angel voices, angel voices
    Sweet and clear, sweet and clear.
    Sing of peace and friendship, sing of peace and friendship,
    Far and near, far and near.

Time for reflection

In the Bible passage, angels sang ‘peace on earth’.

Lets quietly think about the ways in which we can make this time of year special and peaceful for those around us.

Lets think about how we can encourage each other and care for people who might be lonely or afraid.

Dear God,
Thank you for Christmas, and the excitement and joy that it brings.
Please help us to take time this year to consider how we can care for others better.
How we can encourage those we know.
How we can make the world a more peaceful place.
How we can love more and consider the needs of others.
May this Christmas be full of joy and singing.


Optional: Jake’s song’ from The Shepherd Who Couldn’t Sing

Publication date: December 2018   (Vol.20 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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