We’re All Waiting!
An assembly for the season of Advent
by Author unknown (revised, originally published in 2004)
Suitable for Key Stage 3
To explore the theme of waiting in relation to the season of Advent.
Preparation and materials
You will need to prepare six students to stand in a line, as if they are waiting in a queue. Ask them to act out the situation by looking at their watch, tapping a foot, looking worried, folding their arms and so on. Each student should be holding one of the following (or a large picture of it):
- a bus timetable
- a basket of shopping
- a large envelope or parcel
- a book of baby names
- a Bible
Invite the six volunteers to stand in a line at the start of the assembly. After a short time, ask the audience what they think those in the line are doing.
Explain that they are all waiting in a queue. Tell the audience that you are also waiting and that you will join the queue. After you’ve joined the queue, pause for a while, look at your watch and then ask the student in front of you how long they’ve been waiting. Ask another student in the queue how long they think you’ll have to wait. Invite everyone else to guess what the students in the queue (and you) are waiting for.
Point out the student who is holding the bus timetable, and explain that he or she has been waiting quite a while for a bus. Explain that people waiting for a bus might get cold and fed up, but they know that, when the bus arrives, they will be able to get on with their journey. They have to wait because if they go away, they may miss the bus.
Point out the student who is holding the basket of shopping. Explain that, when people are waiting in a checkout queue at a supermarket, they often become impatient. You never know if the person in front is going to need a price check or have some other query that will hold up the queue. It always seems that you are waiting in the slowest queue!
Point out the student who is holding the large envelope or parcel. Explain that sometimes, waiting for a parcel to arrive can seem like a really long time. If it is a birthday or Christmas present, it can feel like ages to wait until the day that you will receive it.
Point out the student who is holding the cutlery. Explain that this person is waiting for lunch! He or she is very hungry and is in a hurry because he or she needs to get to choir/chess/football/netball (or any appropriate lunch-time activity).
Point out the student who is holding the book of baby names. Explain that it can feel like a long time from finding out that someone is going to have a baby and the baby actually being born. There are all sorts of things to sort out so that the family are ready for the arrival of the baby.
Point out the student who is holding the Bible. Explain that Christians believe that baby Jesus had been expected for many years, not just nine months. Explain how the Old Testament contains prophecies about the birth of the Messiah – a special person sent from God. At the time of Jesus, the Jewish people had been waiting for thousands of years for the Messiah. When Jesus came, some people believed that he was the one whom the scriptures had described. These people became the first Christians.
Finish by explaining that the month of December is called Advent by Christians. It is a time of waiting, waiting for Christmas to come. Many of you will have Advent calendars to help you see how long you have left to wait.
However, as well as being a time of waiting, it is also a time of preparation - a time to get ready for the coming of Jesus. Rather than being just a time to prepare for the practicalities of Christmas, it is also an opportunity to prepare ourselves to be better people, to be closer to God in our hearts and our minds.
Time for reflection
Ask the students the following questions.
- What are you waiting for?
- How can you help with the preparations for Christmas?
- What can you do that will help other people at this time of year?
- How can you be helpful at home and at school to make the waiting better for everyone?
We thank you for the excitement that we feel during the run-up to Christmas.
Help us to step back from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas preparations,
to find some time of quiet,
when we can think about how we can be ready in our hearts for Jesus to come.