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Christmas is coming

To explore the meaning of the Christian season of Advent.

by Penny Hollander

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore the meaning of the Christian season of Advent.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a candle for Time for reflection.
  • You might want to display the nursery rhyme in some way, and have an example of an Advent calendar.


  1. Introduce this old nursery rhyme:

    Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
    Please put a penny in the old man's hat
    If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do
    If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you

    This English traditional Christmas rhyme reminds us that Christmas is coming. Talk about the rhyme to see what the children understand it to be about. Ask: what picture do you have in your mind about Christmas; close your eyes for a moment and think about it. Ask the children for their examples.
  2. There are lots of things to do to prepare for Christmas. Ask what these might be: e.g. shopping for presents, preparing food, deciding who we are going to ask to spend Christmas with us and planning visits to family and friends. We might also think about giving to charities that help other people, e.g. the Salvation Army which provides Christmas meals for the homeless, and charities that give international relief like Samaritans Purse and Operation Christmas Child.
  3. At this time of year, Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. In the Christian calendar this time is called Advent.

    In the Christian story, Mary the mother of Jesus was told by the Angel Gabriel that she had been chosen to give birth to Jesus, the Son of God and Saviour of the World.

    Advent means 'coming' and from the beginning of December until 25 December Christians remember the time of preparation before Jesus' birth.
  4. Advent calendars give us a reminder of this time of waiting and expecting. Who has one? What type? When you open the windows, what reminders are there about the coming Christmas?

    The final window to open is 24/25 December – when Christians remember the birth of Jesus, who they believe is the greatest gift of all. He is known by such names as Saviour, Prince of Peace, Light of the World.

Time for reflection


Light a candle.

As we light this candle, what are you thinking about in preparation for Christmas?

How can you spread the Christian message of bringing light and peace to the world?


Light a candle.

Christians think about the Christian message as told by the prophets of the Old Testament. They were foretelling the birth of Jesus: ‘Jesus the light of the world.’

The people who are now living in darkness will see a great light… 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 9.2, 6)


'When the winter day is dying' (Come and Praise, 118)

Publication date: December 2006   (Vol.8 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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