Resources for the Christmas Season

by Christine Sine
Aboriginal Christmas (source unknown)

Aboriginal Christmas (source unknown)

The Text This Week as usual tops my list of go to sites for Christmas resources. Great links to pageant ideas and worship services and I really feel I do not need to add more ideas than you can find here.

However I just came across Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell’s website: Rev-o-lution with its rich resources for Advent and Christmas including some good (and simple) downloadable ideas for children’s pageants especially good for small churches.

If you are looking for a delightful video to show in an informal Christmas service I highly recommend this one from St Paul’s Church, Auckland, New Zealand.

And don’t miss this beautiful reading of the nativity story with original music by Malcolm Dunn.

And if you are celebrating alone this year you may like to listen to this recording of the Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Cambridge.

And a few suggestions of my own for celebrating the twelve days of Christmas:

Christmas Eve Prayer Walk

On Christmas Eve walk around your neighbourhood with your family and friends.  Imagine that you are Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay until their baby is born.  Pray for the people in the houses you pass that they will open their hearts and provide a place of welcome for the Christ child this Christmas.  Pray the following prayer of blessing in front of each house.

Lord encircle this house with your presence
Fill it with your peace
Surround it with your love
Protect it with your strength
Lord encircle this home
Fill it with your joy
Surround it with your hope
Protect it with your grace
Lord encircle this home
Fill it with hospitality to reach the lost
Surround it with generosity to touch the poor
Protect it with truth to guide all lives
Lord encircle this house with your presence

You may like to combine this prayer walk with a time of carol singing around the neighborhood.  Or perhaps you could bake a batch of your favorite cookies to give to each of your neighbors and deliver them on Christmas Eve.  Pause before you enter each house and pray for the people that live there. Or pray for each family while you are baking the cookies, enclose a special prayer with each plate.  Here is a suggestion:

God bless your household
With love to surround you,
With grace to uphold you
With life to sustain you
God bless you this year
Guide your paths to what is right
Your thoughts to what is true
Your minds to what is good
Each day in every way
May you be kept in the shadow of God’s wings.

Celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas

Sit down with your family the day after Christmas – read the story of the angels appearing to the shepherds in the fields.  To me this is one of the most incredible stories in the Bible.  Imagine it.  This event was so incredible that even the angels were excited.  In fact they were so excited that they could not contain themselves.  They had to break into the earthly realm with shouts of joy proclaiming that the promised Messiah had come to live amongst us.

Discuss your reactions to this story and to the whole account of the birth of Christ.  When you read through the gospel account how do you feel? What is your earliest memory of when Christ first appeared to you? Share how you felt at that time and talk about the difference that Christ’s presence has made in your life.  Then ask yourselves: What most excites you today about the presence of Christ in your life? How does his presence impact your life?  Next discuss ways that you could share the joy of Christmas with others during the following days.  You might like to write down one suggestion for each of the 12 days of Christmas that could extend the joy of the season to others 

Here are some suggestions.  Do you know people that are alone at this season?  Take them out for a meal or invite them to go skiing or if you are in the southern hemisphere, swimming with you.  Share with them your reasons for continuing to celebrate the joy of Christmas beyond December 25th.  Do you know people who are disabled?  Take them for a drive around your neighbourhood to enjoy the Christmas lights.  Do you have friends, acquaintances or family your rarely speak to?  Phone one person each evening during Christmas to share your joy with them.

And let me know your suggestions so that we can put together an expanded list next year. How do you celebrate the 12 days of Christmas? 

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