An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools
To consider the season of Advent as a time of preparation for Christmas
Preparation and materials
You will need a patchwork quilt, or an image of a quilt and the means to display it. An image is available at: http://tinyurl.com/ztdg47s
Optional: you may wish to invite a visiting speaker from a local charity that works to help the homeless or the lonely at Christmas. Alternatively, you may wish to use material from the Crisis website, available at: http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/christmas.html
Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas. Two Advent traditions are Advent calendars and Advent crowns, both of which are used to count down the days or weeks until Christmas Day. Many plans need to come together at the same time if everything is to be ready for Christmas - you could use the example of how busy these weeks are in school.
Show the patchwork quilt or the image of a quilt, available at: http://tinyurl.com/ztdg47s
Explain that a patchwork quilt consists of many small pieces that must all be properly joined together if the finished article is to be as good as intended. A patchwork quilt can be taken as a symbol for Christmas, in that Christmas is a time when our individual plans come together to form one celebration.
A patchwork quilt can also symbolize the warmth that we feel at Christmas time. If you are showing a real quilt to the students, wrap the quilt around your shoulders as you speak.
Traditionally, Christmas is a cold time of year in the UK, but the quilt can remind us of time spent at home, around a fire, with family and friends. It can represent the warmth we feel because Christmas is also a time of giving and sharing - our presents, and often more importantly, our love and time - with those around us.
While we are getting ready for our own Christmas celebrations - piecing together the patches of our quilt by buying and wrapping presents, writing cards, going to parties, spending time with family and friends and preparing special food - do we ever spare some time to think about those who may only have one or two of those patchwork pieces, or maybe none at all? Some people may have no money for food or presents, or they may spend Christmas alone. Will they feel the inner warmth of Christmas?
Charities such as Crisis provide food and company for homeless people in big cities at Christmas. (You might consider inviting a visiting speaker to share why they give up their time over Christmas and what reaction they get from those whom they help. Alternatively, you may wish to use material from the Crisis website, available at: http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/christmas.html
Where possible, make the students aware of local projects that are available for the homeless or the lonely at Christmas. You may wish to take action as a school to help towards this work.
Time for reflection
Ask the students to consider their favourite parts of Christmas. Point out that most of these things involve people whom we love and care about. Even if we are honest and say that the thing that we find most exciting about Christmas are the presents we are given, for people to receive presents requires someone to give them. Ask the students to give some thought as to who they will share the ‘warmth’ of Christmas with this year. Will they bring their patchwork piece to grandparents, younger siblings or lonely neighbours?
Advent is a good time to think about getting ready to bring warmth and happiness into someone else’s Christmas this year.
Please help us to play our parts in the patchwork of Christmas.
Please help us to look for opportunities to help others.
Please help us to take our responsibilities seriously and not simply to expect everyone to look after us!
Please help us to look out for the lonely in this world this Christmas.