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What Are We Waiting For?

The season of Advent

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider the season of Advent.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Are we there yet? – Shrek 2’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.07 minutes long and is available at:

  • You will need an Advent calendar and, if possible, an Advent wreath. If a wreath is not available, you will need a candle and an image of an Advent wreath. An example is available at:

  • Optional: you may wish to play some reflective music during the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly. An example is available at: (just over an hour long)


  1. Ask the students to raise their hand if they enjoy the following things:

    - waiting in a queue
    - waiting for the summer holidays
    - waiting for their evening meal when they are hungry
    - waiting for the end of a dull lesson

  2. Point out that we tend to be impatient people; not many of us like to wait. Some of us can’t wait to grow up, can’t wait until we are older, can’t wait to get a job and so on.

  3. Show the YouTube video ‘Are we there yet? – Shrek 2’.

    Ask the students whether they remember being on trips like the one shown here. As children, we can often be impatient when we go on long journeys. As we get older, we become more patient and many of us may now enjoy longer journeys where we can relax and watch films or listen to music.

  4. Show the Advent calendar.

    You may want to ask for a show of hands as to how many people are opening or are waiting to open one of these each day.

    Advent is a time of waiting for Christians. It isn’t simply a time to eat chocolates out of an Advent calendar or a time to wish that Christmas would hurry up and arrive. Christians believe that Advent is a time to prepare themselves for Christmas – the time when they will remember the arrival of Jesus into the world.

  5. Some churches use an Advent wreath during Advent to mark the weeks that pass and prepare for Christmas.

    Show the Advent wreath or an image of it.

Time for reflection

The word Advent comes from the Latin word ‘adventus’, which means ‘coming’. Christians use Advent to get ready to celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world. They believe that God sent his son into the world to show people how much he loved them. Christmas is a great celebration of the birth of Jesus, the son of God and the saviour of the world.

Light the Advent wreath (or light a candle if a wreath isn’t available).

Encourage the students to look at the candle and consider their hopes and dreams for this Christmas. Challenge them to think about ways in which they could make this Christmas a special time for those around them.

You may wish to play some reflective music during this time. An example is available at: (just over an hour long)

Dear God,
Thank you for the time of Advent, a time when we stop to consider the true meaning of Christmas.
Please help us to make this Christmas a time of peace for those around us.
Please help us to focus on the things that really matter.
Thank you for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Thank you for his example and all that we can learn from him.


Some relaxation music accompanying the image of a candle flickering is available at: (just over an hour long)

Publication date: November 2019   (Vol.21 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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