An opportunity for churches to share the hope of Christmas in a new way. Resources from the Diocese of York flexibly designed for engagement with children, young people and their families in a Covid-secure way, depending on context, and available financial and volunteer resources
• Families are invited to do a ‘tour’ of the church and grounds where the Christmas story is told through a number of reflection stations. They are then given a ‘goody’ bag to go home with which contains various ‘gifts’ and a recap of the story. As the family ‘travels with the wise men’ there is an opportunity for this ‘event’ to stretch all the way through the Christmas holidays from before Christmas until Epiphany. This means that if a booking system is required so that there are not too many people in the church building at one time, there should be enough time for everyone that wants to to attend.
• Churches that have youth groups might want to do the ‘tour’ in the evening with small groups of young people (abiding by the Rule of six!) encouraging them to think more deeply about the Christmas story by engaging with the questions.
• The stations can also be used as part of a more reflective quiet time in the evenings for adults.
• The stories have all been commissioned by the Diocese of York so can be used by churches in videos and live streams with no copyright issues, as part of the ‘tour’ presentations or online Christmas services
• Stories, craft instructions, etc can all be printed and compiled with craft resources into bags that can be given out to families instead of them coming in to the church building
• Churches can combine the resources with a Christmas tree Festival where local organisations are encourarged to sponsor a tree.
• The theme of ‘journeys’ can remind us of those who are unable to settle and be comfortable in their own home because of terror and/or poverty. The ‘tour’ can be combined with a campaign to support those in need via a foodbank, refugee or homeless project
The 'Station Instruction Sheets' below give information and ideas for each of the seven 'stations' of the activity
- A Star for a King: Matthew 2:1-2 – the star followers travel to find the new king to worship
- A King’s city: Matthew 2:6 – they travel to Bethlehem because that is where God promised the saviour would be born
- God’s message for Mary: Luke 1:26-33 – Mary is told she will have a son who will be the Saviour of the world
- God’s message for the shepherds: Luke 2:8-14 – God shares the good news with ordinary people
- God born in a stable!: Luke 2:16-20 – the shepherds find the baby and his family and excitedly share the news
- Myrrh for a sacrifice: Luke 2:19 – Mary considers all the signs that her baby was going to suffer
- A refugee king: Matthew 2:13-15 – God tells Joseph to escape to Egypt with Mary and Jesus.
At each station there will be an opportunity for the family to read a brief introduction and hear part of the story. There is a covid secure craft activity related to each station, and reflection questions. The stations can be very simple with just the information and instruction sheets, or decorated to create a scene. Depending on your space and resources, and what is allowed, the stories can be read by a dressed up character at the station, videoed and shown on screen, or printed and included in the bag for reading. Each ‘Station Information Sheet’ gives more details on what is required.