‘If you’ve ever felt rejected, excluded or a stranger Remember the One who came down in the manger.’
Gavin Tyte was one of those who led the way for the development of great Christmas videos with this Beatbox Nativity:
Miriam Swaffield wrote these spoken word videos about the shepherds, the wise men and baby Jesus. They are brilliant, we’ve used them with our 11-14 year olds who’ve loved them.
Fusion have recorded them and made them available for FREE download here – you might want to use them in your services or youth events you’ve got planned.
Nicholas Allan writes and illustrates the nativity through the eyes of a grumpy inn keeper who is unexpectedly at the centre of Jesus’ birth. The story follows him as he is woken up repeatedly by Mary and Joseph and guests visiting the newborn.
I first heard of the book when I was a child and it was used for a Sunday School drama to present the Christmas narrative to the whole church. As a children’s and youth worker I’ve used it numerous times, be it with young pre-school children, older teenagers, or non-Christian adults. The book is easy for people to follow and join in, and yet still allows for profounds truths to be taught.
It can be bought in a number of sizes – from A6 just to fit in the pocket and use to tell a large group of people, to a large A4 size which a class of children can crowd around and look at the pictures.
Deaths from suicide in the UK rose slightly from 6,122 deaths in 2014 to 6,188 deaths in 2015 with a subsequent increase in the rate from 10.8 to 10.9 deaths per 100,000 population according to the latest release from the ONS.
UK male suicide rate decreases whilst female rate increases to its highest rate in a decade.
England and Scotland saw decreases in the total number of suicides, whilst Wales and Northern Ireland saw increases.
Closer to home the New Forest saw a significant decrease from the 2014 figures to the 2015 figures:
The classic carol Silent Night was written 200 years ago.
To celebrate you can use the free carols booklet Hope have produced in partnership with Tearfund, Sports Chaplaincy UK and Integrity Music. It’s not too late to order them from CPO with matching posters, invitations and banners.
If you are singing Silent Night this Christmas, try the new version by Ben Cantelon and Nick Herbert – lyrics, sheet music, backing tracks and chord sheets are available here.
You can watch Paul Potts talking about his charity recording of the carol here.
To sing carols easily outdoors or by candlelight , download the Carols Words app. Find out more here.
Our great hope is not just going to heaven when we die, though that is so wondrously good. But God has much grander plans. Our great hope is that Christ will come again, not as a helpless baby in a manger, but as a magnificent king on a throne—a king who will be close enough, and gentle enough, to wipe every tear from our eyes. He will personally put an end to everything that has brought his people pain. He will “raise the sons of earth” by transforming “our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21) to live with him forever on a gloriously renewed earth.
The wonder of it made the herald angels want to sing. And as the wonder of it begins to sink in, it makes us want to sing, too.
When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats. But a survery of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting “a dad” instead.
A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer.
A “pet horse” was the third most popular choice, with a “car” making a bizarre entry at number four. But despite their material requests, the tenth most popular Christmas wish on the list was a “Dad”.
The survey, of consumers at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, found children aged three to 12 years also wanted a dog, chocolate and a stick of rock. Traditional hopes for a white Christmas were represented by a wish for “snow” in ninth place, with sensible youngsters also requesting a “house”.
Of the top 50 festive requests, 17 related to pets and animals, with some imaginative children hoping for a donkey, chicken and elephant.
iPhones and iPads also appeared on the list, with some quirky children asking for the moon, a time machine, a pond cover and beetroot.
A request for a “mum” reached number 23 on the list.
Dai Woolridge has produced some brilliant spoken word videos – Joseph Speaks is a great one to use with your church or youth group for Christmas:
Carrying on the series of great Christmas video clips is the Bethlehemiam Rhapsody – old school but great: