To encourage students to think about why we celebrate Christmas.
Things you’ll need
- 2 boxes.
- Sheets of Christmas wrapping paper, pre-cut if necessary, ready to wrap the boxes.
- 2 rolls of sticky tape.
- 8 envelopes.
- 8 cards.
- 2 address lists (4 addresses on each).
- 8 mince pies.
- 2 sets of words of a carol.
- 4 Christmas chocolates as prizes.
- 3 more boxes, one wrapped in gold and the two others in plain colours, labelled with large letters: ‘gold’, ‘frankincense’ and ‘myrrh’.
• Before the assembly begins, set up a table with all the items necessary in place for the team game. As far as possible, make sure that the table is arranged so that the audience can see the teams’ efforts.
• Place the three gifts of the ‘Wise Men’ separately to avoid them getting spoilt in the team game. These could be put on view to act as a focus through the assembly.
1 Start by talking about getting ready for Christmas and students’ preparations. Ask for eight volunteers to take part in team game.
Note: check for food allergies.
2 Have two teams of four people in each. Explain that both teams have to complete four activities to do with getting ready for Christmas. The activities are:
- Wrap up a ‘gift’.
- Write four cards and put each in its envelope which must be addressed.
- Eat four mince pies.
- Sing a carol.
Involve the audience by having one half supporting Team A and the others supporting Team B. Give prizes to the winning team and encourage applause for all the volunteers.
3 When everyone is quiet again, comment that this time of year coming up to Christmas is called Advent. It’s the time when Christians get ready for Christmas – not just wrapping presents and writing cards – but by thinking about the reason for Christmas.
If appropriate to your audience, ask them what they think are reasons for Christmas (eg presents, parties etc). Say that, really, it’s a celebration of the birth of Jesus.
4 Talk about the story of the Wise Men. Ask the students if they can remember what gifts they brought to Jesus. Explain that each of their gifts tell us something about who Jesus is and what he had come to do.
5 Now, show the audience each of your ready-prepared, labelled gifts.
Say that gold was thought of as a gift for a king. Christians believe that Jesus is a King – God’s Son – and his special gift to us.
Explain that this was a substance with a strong smell which was used by priests, like incense. A priest was someone who talked to God on behalf of the people. Christians believe that Jesus, a bit like a priest, came to help us know God and show us what he is like.
Myrrh was a substance that was used to cover bodies before they were buried. Explain that Christians believe that this gift reminds us about Jesus’ death for us – so that we could be put right with God.
Encourage the students, as they get ready for Christmas this year, to take some time to think about these questions:
- Where is Jesus in your Christmas?
- How could you and your family include him in the festivities which started because of his birth?
In a time of quiet, encourage students to pray, or lead with a short prayer yourself, using this or similar outline:
- Thanks for Christmas and fun: What do they especially enjoy about Christmas?
- Thanks for Jesus: Ask them to think about the three gifts of the Wise Men and what those tell us about Jesus. Give thanks for his coming to earth for us.
- Ask God’s help to remember Jesus this Christmas.
Note: Check first with school that it is OK for you to offer mince pies to students and that this isn’t a problem regarding possible food allergies.