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#Christmas

The Nativity through tweets

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Key Stage 3

Aims

To explore the story of the Nativity by using tweets from Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the three wise men and God.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (#Christmas) and the means to display them.

  • If possible, prior to the assembly, ask some students who they would most like to send a message to this Christmas and what they might say. Examples could be parents, friends, people in war-torn countries or people without food. If possible, have some of these responses ready to read out at the start of the assembly.

Assembly

  1. If available, begin the assembly by reading out the students’ Christmas messages (these should remain anonymous). Examples could include the following.

    - ‘My message would be for my parents, to say thank you for caring about me even when I’m stressed and shout a lot!’
    - ‘My message would be that I wish people in the world would stop fighting. I would ask why we can’t all live in peace.’

    If you don’t have any pre-prepared messages available, simply ask the students, ‘If you had a special message for someone this Christmas, what would it be?’

  2. Show Slide 1.

    Point out that messages have been sent in various ways over the centuries, such as by smoke signals, messages in bottles, telegraphs, walkie-talkies, mobile phones, email and social media.

  3. Explain that you are going to consider the Nativity story through a series of tweets, which is why this assembly is called #Christmas.

  4. Show Slide 2.

    The Nativity starts with Jesus’ mum, Mary. She received a visit from an angel who told her she was going to have God’s son. When the angel left, Mary was troubled because she wasn’t married to Joseph and she didn’t think Joseph would be very happy about the baby.

    Read out Mary’s Twitter handle and her tweet.

  5. Show Slide 3.

    Mary was right: Joseph wasn’t too happy when he found out that she was going to have a baby. In fact, he decided to call off their engagement. Then, one night, Joseph had a dream in which an angel told him who the baby was and what to call him. Joseph went ahead and married Mary because he understood the responsibility that God had given him.

    Read out Joseph’s Twitter handle and his tweet.

  6. Show Slide 4.

    Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem so that they could be counted by the Romans for their census. The Romans wanted to find out how many people were living in their Empire.

    Read out both Twitter handles and tweets.

  7. Show Slide 5.

    When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, all of the inns were full. They ended up staying in a stable, which is where Mary gave birth to Jesus.

    Read out both Twitter handles and tweets.

  8. Show Slide 6.

    These days, parents tend to announce the birth of their baby by sharing photos on social media or sending text messages. So, this is the Twitter version of the announcement of Jesus’ birth.

    Read out Joseph’s Twitter handle and his tweet.

  9. Show Slide 7.

    Of course, God didn’t use Twitter to announce the news of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds; instead, he used a host of angels.

    Read out the shepherds’ Twitter handle and their tweet.

  10. Show Slide 8.

    It’s possible that the shepherds gave baby Jesus a present of a lamb. Before Jesus was born, a lamb was used as a sacrifice to say sorry to God. Christians believe that 33 years later, Jesus took the lamb’s place and died on the cross.

    Read out Joseph’s Twitter handle and his tweet.

  11. Show Slide 9.

    To announce the birth of baby Jesus to the wise men, God used a star.

    Read out the wise man’s Twitter handle and his tweet.

  12. Show Slide 10.

    The wise men gave baby Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold was a sign of Jesus being a king; frankincense was used in worship, signifying that Jesus was going to be worshipped all over the world; and myrrh was a perfume used when people died, signifying that Jesus was going to have a special death.

    Read out the wise men’s Twitter handles and their tweets.

  13. Show Slide 11.

    We all say thank you when we are given presents, so I’m sure that Mary and Joseph would have said thank you to the shepherds and the three wise men.

    Read out Mary’s Twitter handle and her tweet.


  14. Show Slide 12.

    King Herod ruled over Bethlehem. He was jealous when he heard that another king had been born, which is why he didn’t like Jesus and wanted to hurt him. Mary, Joseph and Jesus had to escape to Egypt.

    Read out Joseph’s Twitter handle and his tweet.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to think about who they love. Suggestions could include parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and pets.

Show Slide 13 and then read out Gods Twitter handle and his tweet.

Explain that God’s message to the world at Christmas is that he loves everyone: not just everyone in this assembly, but everyone in the world. Christians believe that God’s love is the reason why he sent Jesus to be born to Mary and Joseph. They believe that God’s love is the reason why, 33 years later, Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for the things that people do wrong.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for the love that you have for all of us.
Thank you for all the ways in which we can send messages and keep in contact with our friends and family.
Please help us all to take the time to listen to the real message of Christmas this year.
Amen.

Song/music

Any Christmas music.

Publication date: December 2018   (Vol.20 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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