Living a Life of Faith, Energised by Love
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of the special baby who changed the world! Here are suggestions for exploring the true meaning of Christmas, focussing on wooden things. If you can’t get all the suggested materials, just see what you can find around the house or outdoors!
If you have a Bible, read the story in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 1 verses 18 to 25 and Luke’s gospel, chapter 1 verses 26-38, and chapter 2 verses 1 to 17.
Joseph was an ordinary sort of man who lived in Palestine over 2000 years ago - best known for being a carpenter. Wood was used for so any things in those days, long before anyone had plastic or vehicles. Front doors and window frames were made of wood... so were beds, tables, chairs, cupboards, kitchen utensils, garden tools and farm equipment.
One night, Joseph had a dream as he was sleeping in his wooden bed. An angel spoke to him with a message from God. The angel told him he should marry his fiancée, Mary. She was going to have a special baby boy, come from God. He was to be called Jesus. He was going to save people, going to change the world.
He had another name, Immanuel, which means God with us.
Joseph woke up. And he did what God had told him to do.
Have a family competition to see who can find the most made-of-wood things in your home, or even outside the house.
Tell us who is the winner and take a photo of every wooden thing to post on the St Chad’s WhatsApp group or our Facebook page.
Mary was an ordinary sort of girl, who lived in Palestine over 2000 years ago. She was always using wooden things when she was helping in the kitchen or outside the house. Let’s imagine one day she was sweeping the floor with a wooden broom when, suddenly, she sensed someone else was in the room. She turned round and....it was an angel, bright light all around.
“Do not be afraid,” the angel said. (Angels often say that when they first meet someone.) “The Lord God is with you,” he continued. “You have been specially chosen to give birth to a boy. His name is Jesus. He will come from God. He will be great.”
Although Mary was very shaken, she accepted that this was what God had called her to do. “OK,” she said.
Talk about what you imagine it was like for Mary to meet and angel, and then to hear such extraordinary news.
Joseph and Mary had to go on a long journey to Bethlehem. By the time they got there, Mary’s baby was nearly due to arrive. They had to find somewhere to stay, for Mary’s sake.
In those days animals lived on the lower ground floor, a bit like the cellar only easier to go inside. The animals kept the rooms above nice and warm. There was some space there for Mary to lie down. And it was there that Jesus was born. The obvious safe place for Mary to lay him was all-wrapped up snug in the animal feeding box, made of wood of course.
Talk about how Jesus came as a king but was born in a very ordinary family.
It was a dark night, the night Jesus was born. Shepherds were up on the hills behind Bethlehem huddling around the fire they had lit, burning wood they had collected. They were holding their wooden crooks and looking out for any thieves or wolves wanting to steal their sheep.
Suddenly the darkness was shattered, as the sky burst into loud, joyful singing and bright, sparkling light. Angels! One angel told them Jesus had been born. He was called the Messiah, the one come from God.
“Go and find him!” they were told. “He is in a wooden animal feeding box.” They did what they were told. They hurried down to Bethlehem and found Jesus just as they had been told.
They were so excited, that when they said “Good-bye!” and left to go home, they told everyone everything they had seen and done. Wow!
Google Andy Goldsworthy, who makes the most amazing creations from natural materials. Let this inspire you to create outside a large collage suggesting the awe and wonder the shepherds must have felt as they looked at the night sky bursting with bright light and stars and planets. Put any photos of your collage on the St Chad’s WhatsApp group or Facebook page for everyone to see.
Christmas action prayer
Thumbs up! We thank you, God, Jesus came as a baby to save the whole world!
Rock your arms like a baby: We thank you, God, that Mary cared for her baby and that you care for us.
Cover up your ears: We thank you that angels told the shepherds the good news about Jesus – even if it was a shock and very loud.
Pump your fists as if running: We thank you, God, that the shepherds ran to find out about Jesus. Help us to find out more about him.
Put your hands in front as though receiving a present: We thank you that Jesus came as a gift to the world. Help us welcome him and show his love to others.
Place hands over tummy to make a ‘diamond star’ shape, lifting ‘star’ in a spiral as you say an extended: ‘Amen’!
For fun and celebration sing It begins in Bethlehem by Bob Hartman and Sam Hargreaves