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To reflect upon the importance of hospitality at Christmastime.

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To reflect upon the importance of hospitality at Christmastime.

Preparation and materials

  • Some children dressed in Christmas costumes could enact a Posada procession (see 3 below).
  • You will need a candle to light.
  • Display the words of the song, ‘Rat-a-tat-tat’ (from Carol, Gaily Carol), on an OHP, together with the Posada responses in Time for reflection.
  • Nativity figures of Joseph and Mary could be placed beside the candle and later used in a ‘mini-Posada’.
  • Carol, Gaily Carol is published by A & C Black.


  1. Begin by asking whether any children will be making journeys to join friends or family for Christmas celebrations.

  2. Reflect that the Christmas story begins with a long journey. Joseph and Mary were told to go to Bethlehem because a census (count) was being taken. Everyone was being counted in their home town. Mary was expecting a baby, and she became very tired on the journey. Invite everyone to imagine them walking, with Mary perhaps riding for some of the way on a donkey. How must they have felt at the end of their journey when innkeepers in Bethlehem turned them away, saying: ‘No room’?

    Sing the first part of the Christmas song ‘Rat-a-tat-tat’.
  3. If you travel around the world, you will discover many different Christmas customs. In Mexico and other parts of Latin America, 16 December marks the beginning of the holiday season. It's the first of nine nights of Las Posadas. Posada is the Spanish word for an inn. Posada celebrations are colourful processions that re-enact Joseph and Mary’s search for somewhere to stay. Introduce the Posada presentation:

    Children dressed as Mary and Joseph set out for the house of a relative or friend. Others follow dressed as shepherds, angels and wise men. They are led by a star and carry lights and candles.

    When they arrive at the house they knock at the door, and the person dressed as Joseph asks if they might come in. The people inside reply, ‘No’.

    Joseph says: ‘But Mary is tired.’

    The people reply: ‘We have no beds.’

    Joseph carries on: ‘She’s going to have a baby.’

    The people reply: ‘You still can’t come in.’

    Eventually Joseph says: ‘The baby’s name is going to be Jesus.’

    When they hear this, the door of the home is opened wide and everyone goes inside. A candle is lit, and everyone says a prayer to say Thank You for the Christmas story. Then a party begins and everyone joins together to enjoy Christmas food, music, and games.
  4. Invite the children to consider what they would enjoy most during Las Posadas. Sum up by reflecting that Posada processions are a great way to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They represent the Christian belief that Jesus can bring joy, peace, and harmony, to those who welcome his coming.

    Sing the second verse of ‘Rat-a-tat-tat’.
  5. You may choose to create your own ‘mini-Posada’. If Nativity figures of Joseph and Mary have been used in the assembly, they could be passed from class to class during Advent, staying overnight in each classroom, being welcomed into each with a lighted candle and a Posada prayer.

Time for reflection


How will you be extra welcoming to people this Christmastime?

Will you make a special effort to be friends with someone?


(Conclude with the following Posada prayers, displayed on OHP or interactive whiteboard. The responses in bold are said by everyone.)

Can we come in?

No, we’re too busy.

We need somewhere to stay.

There’s no room.

Mary needs somewhere to rest.

Go away!

She’s going to have a baby.

His name will be Jesus.

You’d better come in then!

(A candle is lit.)


Lord God, at Christmastime

we enjoy being together and having fun.

Help us to share friendship with others,

especially those who are sad and alone.

Welcome Jesus!

Welcome Jesus!


‘Rat-a-tat-tat’ (from Carol, Gaily Carol)

‘Christmas, Christmas’ (Come and Praise, 122)

Publication date: December 2005   (Vol.7 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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