Being the new chaplain on the scene, it falls to me to deliver this year’s Christmas assembly in the local high school next week. The expectation is for me to deliver a short seasonal message to a large group of teenagers (who don’t really want to be there) to help them think more about Christmas. And all this in a way that’s interesting, contextually relevant, light on the cheese, and isn’t going to end up with me being lynched in the playground by angry teachers (although that might be more entertaining and memorable for the pupils). No pressure then!
I’ve always been quite clear that my purpose for being in school is rooted in the gospel. I’m there because I’m a Christian and I have good news to share. I’ve been upfront with the school management and teachers in this: that my faith is the motivating factor for my work in the community. I do what I do because I love young people, I want to serve young people, and I want to introduce them to the man that changed my life: Jesus. Like Spurgeon said, I’m just a beggar telling other beggars where they can find bread.
I don’t always get many opportunities up at the school to say something significant about my faith. Everyone up there knows I’m a Christian, so that in itself presents a good number of low-key, informal opportunities to talk about Christ with staff and students. RME (Religious and Moral Education) classes and assemblies are the formal opportunities – if I’ve been asked to speak, then I’m expected to talk about my faith – so it’s important to take them seriously.
Although the following resources might be a helpful starting point for anyone preparing a Christmas assembly, perhaps helping to get the creative juices flowing, we still need to do a lot of work in terms of contextualising the message for our audiences. Just because an ‘off the shelf’ assembly idea worked in some high school in middle-England doesn’t mean it’s a sure fit for an Edinburgh housing scheme or any other school for that matter. Know your school, know the staff, and be diligent in faithfully representing the Saviour at this significant time of year.
Assembly Ideas (and other bits to connect church and schools) – does what it says on the tin.
ReJesus.co.uk – Christmas articles, stories and illustrations.
Schoolswork.co.uk – resources, inspiration and training for Christian schools workers.
The Brick Testament – if the bible was lego…