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The long wait: An Advent and Christmas assembly

To reflect upon Christmas as a time of giving rather than receiving.

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Key Stage 3

Aims

To reflect upon Christmas as a time of giving rather than receiving.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need to show the 2011 John Lewis television commercial, see

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSLOnR1s74o (check copyright).

    Be familiar with the content of the commercial, which depicts a child’s frustration that Christmas Day seems slow to arrive. Finally it becomes apparent that the child is waiting to give and not to open a present! This is a rather unusual advert that has caught many people’s attention.

Assembly

  1. Refer to the numerous television adverts presently being shown that have a Christmas theme. Reflect that they can increase feelings of frustration as well as heightening expectation!

    Invite the school community to calculate the length of time remaining before Christmas Day. Some of the pupils may know the answer because their class has made an Advent calendar, or they have one at home.

    Explain that ‘Advent’ is the name that Christians give to the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day. Advent is a time for getting ready – a ‘waiting time’.
  2. Invite everyone to watch the television commercial (1 min. 30 sec.). Afterwards, say that the title of this advert is ‘The long wait’.

    (Encourage the children to reflect upon the storyline. Take time to unwrap the emotion and meaning of the story.)

    –  How does the advert depict the experience of waiting?
    –  What is the surprise ending?
    –  The advert speaks of gifts you can’t wait to give. Have any of the children ever given surprise presents? (Remind them not to disclose any of this year’s secrets – they must wait!)
  3. Observe that the long wait of Advent can be a time that reminds us to take pride in ‘giving’ as well as ‘getting’. The first Christians remembered a saying of Jesus: ‘There’s more happiness in giving than in receiving’ (Acts 20.35). It can take time to discover that secret!
  4. Older pupils may wish to discuss the role of festive advertising.

    Does advertising enhance or detract from the enjoyment of Christmas?

    Which adverts really reflect the spirit of Christmas?

Time for reflection

The advert might be replayed, followed by quiet reflection or prayer.

Prayer
Lord God,
through the waiting time of Advent,
may we find happiness in giving.
Amen.

Music

‘As we wait for Christmas Day’ (from A Cracking Christmas, Out of the Ark Music) ‘In the bleak midwinter’

Publication date: December 2011   (Vol.13 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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