Best children’s Christmas story book

One of my favourite resources for the Christmas season is Jesus’ Christmas Party by Nicholas Allan.

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.

Christmas Health & Safety

Christmas Health and Safety reminder:
 
There is some official concern at the intentions expressed in public songs.
 
Please be advised that all employees planning to dash-through-the-snow-in-a-one-horse-open-sleigh, going over-the-fields-and-laughing-all-the-way are required to undergo a Risk Assessment addressing the safety of open sleighs.
 
The assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly where there are multiple passengers. Please note that permission must also be obtained in writing from landowners before their fields may be entered. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.
 
Benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available for collection by any shepherds planning or required to watch-their-flocks-at-night. While provision has also been made for remote monitoring of flocks by CCTV cameras from a centrally heated shepherd observation hut, all facility users are reminded that an emergency response plan must be submitted to account for known risks to the flocks. The angel of the Lord is additionally reminded that prior to shining-his/her-glory-all-around s/he must confirm that all shepherds are wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to account for the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming effects of Glory
 
Following last year’s well publicised case, everyone is advised that legislation prohibits any comment with regard to the redness of any part of Mr. Rudolf Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr. R Reindeer from reindeer games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence.
 
While it is acknowledged that gift-bearing is commonly practised in various parts of the world, particularly the Orient, everyone is reminded that the bearing of gifts is subject to Hospitality Guidelines and all gifts must be registered. This applies regardless of the individual, even royal personages. It is particularly noted that direct gifts of currency or gold are specifically precluded under provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Further, caution is advised regarding other common gifts, such as aromatic resins that may initiate allergic reactions.
 
Finally, for those involved in the recent case of the infant found away in a manger, with no crib for a bed, Social Services have been advised and will be arriving shortly.

Christmas video 3: Jesus: Truth or Fairytale

“Jesus: Truth or Fairytale?” a Christmas video resource aimed at 16-19 year olds. For many young people Christmas is a fairytale, a nice story we repeat each year. This video asks the question, what if God really came to town?

The video features Meg Cannon reciting a spoken word piece that brings back the grit, humanity and truth into the nativity story, and then questions what that might change. If Jesus’ birth was a real event, what does that mean for me and what does that mean for you?

Christmas video 1: Mess

Kicking off this year’s Christmas videos, is a new one from the Bible Society and Dai Woolridge:

This year’s spoken truth is on the theme of Mess.  Mess. It’s just one word. One syllable that brings to mind a whole load of images….messy ones! And at Christmas time, this one messy syllable word seems to shift into top gear! I think of the post-Christmas dinner-plate pile-up in the kitchen and the décor of celebration wrappers between the sofas (the Malteaser ones!)

It’s fair to say there was a fair bit of mess at the very first Christmas too. As Mary and Joseph trekked down to Bethlehem for a census, there was no room for them to stay. So the young couple welcomed Jesus into the world, with a bunch of animals as his roommates (some scholars claim it was almost as bad as living with students).

But Jesus didn’t just enter the mess of a downstairs room with a feeding trough, he entered the mess of our world too. It was a message that has been posted in versus throughout scripture, one will come to fix up the mess. And if we invite him, he even enters the mess of our lives and offers to fix us.

The Christmas story involves Mess, but it’s about the one who was born in the Mess. You see ‘Mess’ is only central to the Christmas story when it’s an abbreviation. When it’s followed up with 3 letters i.a.h. – it changes everything.

Christmas video 24: Christmas Starts with a Baby’s Giggle

The constant onslaught of Christmas advertising from October onwards can start to wear a little thin as we enter December. Something inside us knows that however lovely the advert featuring a snowman giving a gift to a unicorn is – or whatever this years iteration is – it’s not really what Christmas is all about.

Instead, here is a concise and creative away of sharing the crux of the Christmas message: two parents, one baby and a whole lot of love.

 

Best children’s Christmas story book

One of my favourite resources for the Christmas season is Jesus’ Christmas Party by Nicholas Allan.

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.

Our Greatest Christmas Hope

Nancy Guthrie:

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.

Read the rest here.

Christmas Health & Safety

Christmas Health and Safety reminder:
 
There is some official concern at the intentions expressed in public songs.
 
Please be advised that all employees planning to dash-through-the-snow-in-a-one-horse-open-sleigh, going over-the-fields-and-laughing-all-the-way are required to undergo a Risk Assessment addressing the safety of open sleighs.
 
The assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly where there are multiple passengers. Please note that permission must also be obtained in writing from landowners before their fields may be entered. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.
 
Benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available for collection by any shepherds planning or required to watch-their-flocks-at-night. While provision has also been made for remote monitoring of flocks by CCTV cameras from a centrally heated shepherd observation hut, all facility users are reminded that an emergency response plan must be submitted to account for known risks to the flocks. The angel of the Lord is additionally reminded that prior to shining-his/her-glory-all-around s/he must confirm that all shepherds are wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to account for the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming effects of Glory
 
Following last year’s well publicised case, everyone is advised that legislation prohibits any comment with regard to the redness of any part of Mr. Rudolf Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr. R Reindeer from reindeer games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence.
 
While it is acknowledged that gift-bearing is commonly practised in various parts of the world, particularly the Orient, everyone is reminded that the bearing of gifts is subject to Hospitality Guidelines and all gifts must be registered. This applies regardless of the individual, even royal personages. It is particularly noted that direct gifts of currency or gold are specifically precluded under provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Further, caution is advised regarding other common gifts, such as aromatic resins that may initiate allergic reactions.
 
Finally, for those involved in the recent case of the infant found away in a manger, with no crib for a bed, Social Services have been advised and will be arriving shortly.

Christmas video 16: Shepherds, Wise Men and baby Jesus spoken word

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.

Links from the world of Christianity & Theology

Some interesting links from the world of Christianity & Theology:

One in five Brits do not know Jesus Christ born on 25 December, study finds: Report that a study has found that one in five British people do not know that the birth of Jesus is celebrated on Christmas Day.

Church of England trains leaders to help deal with terror trauma: Report on the Tragedy and Congregations project to help churches respond to the impact of tragedies through training ordinands in good practice, reflection and personal resilience.  One of my old lecturers, project director Professor Christopher Southgate, from the University of Exeter, is quoted.

Cassock chasers and compromised clergy: A response to abuse in the Church: blog by Dean of St Paul’s about Safeguarding and how the Church should respond better to survivors.

Oldest complete Latin ​​Bible set to return to UK after 1,302 years: the oldest complete Bible written in Latin, Codex Amiatinus, one of the great treasures of the Anglo Saxon world, is to return to Britain after more than 1,300 years. It will be lent to the British Library for a 2018 exhibition, Anglo Saxon Kingdoms, by the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence.

Public trust in priests has fallen to an all-time low: how do other professions compare?: Report that public trust in priests and clergy has reached an all time low, according to figures from Ipsos Mori’s long running Veracity Index. Of 988 adults polled, 65% said they trusted priests to tell the truth in 2017, down from 69% in 2016.

Christians are deemed to be dangerous, says Tim Farron: Report on a speech given by former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron at the annual lecture of the think tank Theos.

 

Christmas video 9: Mulberry Miracle

What does Christmas without Jesus look like?

Today in our consumeristic society we replace Jesus with a handbag, a smartphone, food, and so much more.  This is a great video that would work well at a carol service.