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Some Thoughts on Kids in Church at Christmas

December 15, 2010
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Christmas is a perfect time to welcome kids into a whole church service – which is fortunate since it’s also a time when you’re likely to not have regular volunteers for teaching Sunday School.  Here are some suggestions for ways to make the service a joyful and worshipful experience for all ages:

Incorporate storytelling

Consider replacing one of the readings with a good paraphrase you can read like a story.  Or try reading whatever version of the Bible you prefer as a story.   Or tell the Gospel in the form of a story before or after the formal Proclamation.  This might be particularly effective if you will be reading John 1.  If you are using the lections for December 26th, however, I’d not suggest it.

Use familiar music

Although our hymn books have some beautiful Christmas hymns that you won’t hear at the mall, still to the familiar songs that kids will know.  And add an extra.

For bonus points, distribute percussion instruments to kids for the processional/recessional/gradual hymns and invite them add a little joyful noise.  They could join in the procession, too.

Add even more joyful  noise

Distribute percussion instruments, bells, keys – anything that will rattle or jangle.  Give some to the presider, too.  Whenever appropriate, the presider can cue some celebration.  For example: when the angels appear in the Gospel reading or at the peace or at the dismissal or at some point in the sermon.  Or all of the above!

Invite formal participation

Include older children or youths in the service as intercessors (perhaps sharing the petitions out amongst a few people), readers, or ushers.

Candles

If the congregation will be holding candles, invite children to sit on the edges of the pews so that they might be the first to receive the flame from the servers and the first to pass it on to those next to them.  Include children in the lighting of the Advent Wreath and/or Christ Candle.

Create a Kid Space

I’m not suggesting you pull out a few pews between now and the 24th of December but you could consider designating a few pews as a kidzone.  Stock them with crayons, paper, books, and soft toys.  Just make it clear that sitting in the area is an option and not mandatory.

A sermon?  Or a children’s talk?

Consider replacing the sermon with something more like a children’s talk that has matured well.  Keep it on the short side.  Use a prop or two.  Work in some audience participation opportunities.  Bring it out of the pulpit.  You get the idea.

 

What will you be doing between December 24th and January 2nd?  Whatever it is, I hope you have a blessed Christmas and that you are given the energy to get there!  Merry Christmas!

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