‘Tis the season to be jolly!’
Well, almost. It’s not quite time to deck the halls yet, but it’s definitely the season for SRE teachers to be thinking about the SRE Christmas assembly.
I love Christmas assemblies! Having all our SRE students together as we celebrate is so much fun.
Yet, as much as I love it, every year as I start to prepare, I find myself asking the same question: Where do I start?
These three tips for preparing SRE assemblies have helped me answer that question, and I hope they will help you get ready to end your year well.
1. Don’t try to do too much
The Christmas story might just be one of the most well-known stories in the Bible.
Even in a post-Christian world, we still hear pop culture references to ‘the baby Jesus’. There is still a nativity scene in most local shopping centres, and Christmas itself is probably one of the most festive times of the year. But the Christmas story is actually much richer and deeper than most people know. There are a lot of things you could cover while telling the Christmas story - much more than you can effectively teach SRE students in 30 minutes. So don’t try to do it all. Focus on one aspect of the story.
Luke 2:10-13 are some of my favourite Christmas verses:
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Focusing on verses like this may mean that you don’t talk about wise men and the star in the sky, but you will be able to clearly help students understand the reason we celebrate the birth of Jesus – he is king and saviour and that this is great news for all people.
2. Make the most of the opportunities SRE assemblies present
One of the things I love most about SRE assemblies is that they provide an opportunity to do things I often don’t have time for in an SRE class like singing, drama and oversized props.
Trying things you wouldn’t usually do in class can help students engage with the Bible and think about what the good news of Jesus means for them.
3. Make the curriculum work for you
Each of the Connect teacher manuals includes both a Christmas lesson and a Christmas assembly. These should be your starting place. Take these plans and make them work for you in your context.
Here are two examples of what that might look like:
The Lower Primary book has a drama that requires four people: a host, Mary, Joseph and a shepherd. If you don’t have four people who can be involved, leave one or two out. The host can interview Mary about what the angels told her and Joseph about their baby. Or, the host (or a student) can receive a letter from a shepherd telling everyone about what they saw in the field.
The Upper Primary assembly revolves around chalk drawing. I love to draw, but if I’m honest I’m not very good. If there’s someone in your church who can draw why not ask them to come as a visitor and do the chalk drawing for you. Alternatively, you could create other visual aids to go with the story and leave the drawing out. Make the curriculum work for you.
Christmas really is a special time of year and a great thing to celebrate with SRE students. Let’s make the most of SRE assemblies, as we share the good news of great joy that a saviour has been born.