I'm looking forward to . . .
Exploring Advent - the time when Christians look forward to the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
by Penny Hollander
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
Exploring Advent – the time when Christians look forward to the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the invitation card and the letter in an envelope as in 2 below.
- An Advent wreath. For pictures and background notes on this see www.request.org.uk/main/festivals/christmas/advent/advent01.htm
- You could display the Bible quotations (see 4 and 5 below) on large sheets of paper.
Ask the children what kinds of things they look forward to – birthdays, parties, presents, special meals, weddings, new baby brother or sister, etc. If appropriate, ask any child who has recently had a new brother or sister to describe how they and their families felt before and after the baby came.
- Show the invitation card, e.g.:
is looking forward to seeing Class 4
at their special end of term party on…………………
We will be playing lots of games, eating delicious food
and everyone will receive a present.
Ask a child to read out the letter in the envelope:
Dear Class 1,
is really looking forward to going with Class 1 on their trip to………………
Thank you very much for your kind invitation.
What are our feelings when we’re looking forward to something? Excited, happy, etc. – ‘can’t wait’!
- Explain that more than 2,000 years ago there was that ‘can’t wait’ feeling. A young woman was looking forward to the birth of her baby. Ask if they can guess who it was.
- Mary was so excited that according to the Bible she praised God and said:
‘My soul gives glory to the Lord. My spirit delights in God my saviour.’ (Luke 1.46)
Display this on a poster or banner.
Mary must have felt that it seemed a long time to wait for the birth of her baby. But even longer, much longer before that, other people had been looking forward to this time because they believed that when a special baby was born he would change the world for ever! Show the children the poster with the following words:
‘A child will be born to us. A son will be given to us. He will rule over us. And he will be called Wonderful Adviser and Mighty God. He will also be called Father Who Lives For Ever and Prince Who Brings Peace.’ (Isaiah 9.6)
- At the beginning of December Christians start looking forward to remembering the birth of Jesus. It’s a time in the Christian calendar called Advent, which means ‘coming’. Sometimes an Advent Ring or Wreath is made in churches and schools to remind everyone of this great event. We have one here today.
Light the first candle and as it is lit the following may be used as a reflection:
Time for reflection
What are you waiting for?
Are you excited about Christmas or Hanukkah or holidays,
about seeing your friends and family, about special food and parties?
Take a moment to think about the season of Advent,
a time of waiting and looking forward,
and a time of thinking about the Christmas message of peace and goodwill to all.
How will you prepare for this Christmas season?
What will you do for other people to help spread peace and goodwill?
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the birth of Jesus.
We look forward to all the celebrations and presents that Christmas brings
and we ask that we will remember God’s gift of Jesus to us.
‘Mary had a baby’ (Come and Praise, 123)