We have had an interesting year and it is not over yet! We are creeping towards Christmas and it leaves lots of questions about what shall we do?
I know that alot of Uniting Churches run amazing services and experiences for families during this time. Carols are a big hit, nativity plays, family services, prayer services. In Covid times these create a whole new challenge. How do we pivot this?
Can I suggest that we start by asking the question what were you hoping to achieve by doing the particular thing. For example we used to run a Christmas festival, where we explored the Christmas readings in a space designed to look like the times of Jesus. We would have guided tours with people telling the story but also sharing the context they found themselves in to try and add a richness to the story to can’t see when you just read the words. This is not really an option under Covid so what can we do instead? The reality is what we were trying to do was give families a deep connection to the Christmas story that would help them better understand and connect with God. So this is the starting point.
How can we help families have a deep connection to the Christmas story, giving understanding and connecting with God, that is Covid safe?
For my family and many in the community doing a drive around to see the Christmas lights is an important part of the family traditions. One year I decided to see what would have if I set up the Christmas story projected onto the outside of the Church it was on a 5 minute loop I used the kids from the Church to dress up as the characters (you could use photo’s from previous nativities if you got permission). You could have a series of big pictures or stories. Talk to the local council and paper about getting it included in the light displays.
A while back I always wanted to create a CD that had the story of Christmas and carols on it that people could listen to in their cars as they drove around. The Cd is a bit out of date but this would be so perfect now as people can sing in their cars as loud as they like!
Messy Church at home has moved to creating packages that families can take home to make the key parts of the story.. What if we have a create the Christmas story advent calendar? We still have some of the stickers left over from Illustrated ministry nativity pack if your congregation could use them.
Recently I saw on the Illustrated Ministry site that they now had their pictures printable to be lifesize and a church used them to display at the front of their church building. Check out the details here:
Don’t forget the series of Christmas prayer stations that Pulse set up last year to inspire people as they reflect on Christmas. Maybe you could see if you could display them all across the community.
I am currently trying to figure out how you could do a walking trail to explore the nativity story, different spaces you could hear different parts of the story. Not there yet!
We would love to hear what you are experimenting with, happy to talk it through with you or help out how we can. If you have come up with a brilliant idea or resource, please share it with us so we can share it around for everyone’s benefit!
Lastly, I just want to say, I know that you are tired and it is really discouraging at times but I pray that as you approach Christmas you might find a way to tap into that deep joy and hope that comes from remembering that we are not forgotten to God, but that God came down and set up a tent in our backyard in the shape of a child.
I know it seems early but: May the hope, peace, joy and love of Christmas find room in your heart and community. Blessings people. Karen
Karen Mitchell-Lambert is ordained in the ministry of Deacon and is the team leader of PULSE.