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The Greatest Story Ever Told

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Discovering the stories behind the birth of Jesus...

Introduction:  Christmas is celebrated in schools across the globe every year.  Yet there are certain parts of the Biblical Christmas story which are rarely heard by children.  This series uses poetry and images to introduce the circumstances around the birth of Jesus Christ from the perspective of four different people.

Each story is split into two parts, a poem to introduce it, and then some images to help explain it.  Music is suggested to be played behind each poem.  Choose something calming, but apart from perhaps assembly 3, not too Christmassy.  Each verse of the poem ends in the same way, so as you go through you could get the children to join in with the last line. “…the greatest story ever told”.

There are 4 assemblies here, but there may not be time to deliver each one of them.  Each assembly stands on its own, though you may need to do a bit more telling of the rest of the story. They have been written to be used as adult led assemblies, but with a bit of adaptation could be done as a class assembly with different children reading different verses of the poem.  The poetry could be put together and used all in one go as a way of telling the Christmas story from start to finish.  The verses can even be put to a beat and performed as a rap!

Resources:  Each of these assemblies is story based and has associated images from the story. There is a PowerPoint presentation for each one.  The pictures work very well on PowerPoint, but if that is not available, simply print the pictures as large as you can.  Bear in mind that there is a lot of black in the backgrounds, so it will be significantly cheaper to change the background to white.  To do this, click your right hand mouse button when the curser is in front of a blank space.  Select ‘format background’ and change it to white.  Click ‘apply to all’.  Once printed the images can be cut out and laminated before mounting on sticks.  Children can then ‘act out’ the story using the images.  

Reflection/Prayers:  In nearly every school in the UK there is a wide mix of cultural and faith backgrounds represented. There will be some children in each school who regularly go to church, but probably not many.  There will also be children whose families are against the idea of faith in schools. While it is still statutory that schools have collective worship that is largely of a Christian nature, this is not enforced across the board, and that is probably the correct approach. The way a school interprets its responsibilities can vary dramatically, and it is not our place to comment. Reflection is seen as an important part of spiritual development, but not necessarily prayer.

This all means that we are at our most vulnerable when we get to the reflective part of an assembly. It is essential that you ask the head teacher (or worship/RE coordinator) how they would like you to approach it. In some schools (though it is getting fewer) they will be happy for us to say a prayer. In others you will only be able to lead a simple reflection.

Through this pack we have shown a range of approaches, some interactive, others passive. Some more reflective, others more prayer based.  Whatever you do, think it through carefully. Write down the words you will say during both reflections and prayers and always give children the opportunity to opt in, rather than feeling like you are expecting them to participate.

 

 

Zechariah and Elizabeth's Story

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Theme: Zechariah and Elizabeth hear some amazing news and need to get themselves ready for a new addition to their family.  Preparing ourselves for times ahead, and preparing ourselves for Christmas.

Story (Bible reference):  Luke 1

Key Stage Relevance:  KS1 & KS2

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Mary’s Story

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Theme: Mary is given one of the most important jobs of all time, to carry and raise the Son of God.  Accepting responsibility or tasks.

Story (Bible reference):  Luke 2

Key Stage Relevance:  KS1 & KS2

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Joseph's Story

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Theme: Joseph goes against the flow to do the right thing.  With Mary and Jesus to protect, Joseph goes on a huge journey, first to another town, and then to another country.  Remembering those who are displaced this Christmastime.

Story (Bible reference):  Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-20

Key Stage Relevance:  KS1 & KS2

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Simeon's Story

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Theme: Simeon has waited his whole life to meet the promised child.  Now he feels his life is complete and he can die in peace.  Honouring the elderly this Christmastime.

Story (Bible reference):  Luke 2:25-40

Key Stage Relevance:  KS1 & KS2

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