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Itís All Part of the Plan!

Planning a perfect Christmas

by Becky May

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To explore what our priorities should be at Christmas.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

  1. Welcome the students to the assembly. Ask them what they are most looking forward to about Christmas.

    If appropriate, listen to a range of responses.

  2. Ask the students to think about what jobs they need to do before Christmas arrives, such as putting up decorations, buying presents, writing cards and so on.

  3. Ask the students, ‘If you had to plan for the perfect Christmas, what would be on your list of things to do?’

    If possible, encourage the students to make a list in groups. Alternatively, read out a list that you have prepared and ask the students to vote on what things they feel are the most important.

  4. Show Slide 1.

    Point out that this image of Mary may not look like many of the traditional Christmas pictures that we see, but it is probably a more realistic representation of her.

    Explain that when Mary knew that she was expecting her baby, Jesus, she probably had a list of things that she thought she would need to prepare for his special birth. She probably had a lot of plans!

  5. Explain that today, expectant parents might create lists of furniture, clothes, toys and equipment that they need to get ready for the baby’s arrival.

    Perhaps Mary planned for Joseph, a carpenter, to make a crib. Maybe she had begun to weave a shawl. It’s almost certain that she did not intend Jesus’ birth to turn out as it did!

    In reality, Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem, but there were no places for them to stay and give birth to the baby apart from a stable! Then, a short while after the birth, they had to flee to Egypt as refugees on the run from the ruler.

    Tell the students, ‘Nobody would plan this kind of arrival for their newborn baby . . . would they?’

  6. Explain that actually, Christians believe that Jesus’ arrival on earth was exactly as God had planned it. There had been many prophecies given hundreds of years before that indicated that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem in this most unusual way. It’s not the sort of arrival on earth that you might plan for the Son of God, is it?

  7. From that very first Christmas, things did not go as Mary had planned - yet Jesus’ arrival changed the world.

    Likewise, 2020 has not gone as any of us had planned. Maybe this Christmas will not go exactly as we hope either. However, good things can come out of bad. We can still celebrate Christmas, even if it does look a bit different. Let’s remember not to get so bogged down in planning the perfect Christmas that we miss the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy it all!

Time for reflection

Show Slide 2.

Remind the students that this is the reason that we have Christmas: to remember and celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world. Perhaps this year, we need to let go of some of our hopes, plans and expectations and remember this simple scene, and the love that God has for the world.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for sending your Son into the world.
Help us this year to remember the things that really matter
And let go of the things that are not that important.
Amen.

Song/music

‘The star’ by Mariah Carey, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CziCidR4KcY (4.01 minutes long)

Publication date: December 2020   (Vol.22 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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