Caring for others at Christmas
by Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect on how Christmas jumpers can reflect the true spirit of Christmas.
Preparation and materials
- Before the assembly, you will need to arrange for some children and staff to model a variety of Christmas jumpers. If possible, wear your own Christmas jumper.
Alternatively, you could show some images of different designs.
- This assembly can be linked to Christmas Jumper Day, a fundraising initiative by the charity Save the Children.
The steps in the ‘Assembly’ include references to the history and work of Save the Children, but these are optional. The assembly is also suitable for general use in the lead-up to Christmas.
- This year, Christmas Jumper Day is on Friday 11 December 2019. More information is available at: https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/christmas-jumper-day
- If possible, ask the pre-arranged children and staff to model their Christmas jumpers. Alternatively, show some images of different designs.
Have some fun as you introduce the various designs and bright colours.
Optional: refer to Christmas Jumper Day, which raises funds for a charity called Save the Children.
- If possible, draw attention to your own Christmas jumper. Invite the assembly to comment on your jumper’s colour and design.
Go on to suggest that Christmas jumpers can reflect the true spirit of Christmas - and this is how.
- Bright colours can cheer us up. Christmas is a time to enjoy and share the good things of life. It’s a season when we should care especially for anyone who is feeling sad or alone. Christmas is a time for sharing bright hopes!
Optional: joining in with Christmas Jumper Day enables us to support the work of charities such as Save the Children and show care for others.
- Two arms in a jumper remind everyone that Christmas is a time for giving as well as receiving. Arms can reach out to help others.
Ask the children, ‘How might we help someone else this Christmas?’
Listen to a range of responses.
Giving to charities enables them to care for people who might not otherwise be reached.
Optional: the charity Save the Children was founded in 1919 by two sisters, Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton. They had joined a movement called Fight the Famine, which spread information about the terrible suffering of children in parts of Germany and Austria at the end of the First World War. Many had hardly any food and were in very poor health.
It wasn’t long before Eglantyne and Dorothy decided that campaigning was not enough - they wanted direct action. Money was raised and food relief was organized. Not everyone liked the idea of helping former enemies, but the sisters used leaflets and film to show people the desperate human need. Today, Save the Children continues to support children affected by war.
Every year, on 17 December, Christians in the Church of England celebrate Eglantyne Jebb Day.
- The body of a jumper helps us to remember that, whether we are old or young, or wherever we live, everybody matters.
Discuss with the children what we all need in life. Establish that every child requires adequate food and water, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education. Unfortunately, many children in the world still lack these things.
Optional: this is why Eglantyne Jebb founded her charity and promoted awareness of the rights of every child. Save the Children aims to ensure that children across the world have the care and opportunities that everybody needs.
Time for reflection
Thank everyone for wearing Christmas jumpers.
Reaffirm that our Christmas jumpers show that Christmas is a time to share bright hopes, care for others and remember that everybody matters.
Reflect that there is a Christmas spirit that can change the lives of others.
Encourage the children to:
- remember others who need help at Christmastime
- be thankful for charities that bring comfort and hope
- reflect upon what it might mean to give as well as to receive
Pause to allow time for thought.
At Christmastime, help us to think of others, not just ourselves.
Help us to find joy in giving, not just in the things that we receive.
Thank you for charities that work hard to bring hope and comfort.
Please help each of us to do our part in bringing hope and peace to the world.
‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ by Band Aid (released in 1984 to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia). It is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjQzJAKxTrE (4.37 minutes long)
‘Because it’s Christmas’ (Songs for Every Occasion by Mark and Helen Johnson, Out of the Ark Music)