Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Christmas and New Year Children's Pastor Reflections

I have had my first Christmas and New Year here.
So different in so many ways but not in others - I'm a creature of habit, bringing some ideas from last place to this place - for example, by ditching Santa and cheap-ish presents for childrens' Christmas party in favour of a couple of hours at a soft play centre, with opportunities for parents to mingle and chat. (Do kids really need another soft toy? I think they prefer playing with one another, laughing, running about and eating!)

And of course a children/family pastor anywhere in the world has to incorporate the Nativity into a worship service. So, with the help of a seasoned thesp who is an expert in working with children (she writes assemblies and books on leading assemblies!), we put together a short nativity that involved every one of the children in some way.

My favourite moments were the escaping angel Gabriel (who loved Mary and Joseph so much that they were followed on their journey to Bethlehem) and the puking wise man. Actually, puking in a small confined space and then continuing to be sick all the way out the door, in front of the senior pastor's shoes and on my folder.

A couple of days later I managed to present my first ever Christingle service. Not being a paid up Angligang I had no idea what the legend/myth/lie behind the orange/candle combo was and an internet search provided me with three possible stories. I plumped for one that sounded like the one the Senior Pastor used last year and allegedly I sounded convinced. Hope it was true, don't want to think that I lied in church!!!

Although one of the kids team had commented to me that Christingle was a waste of good oranges I have to admit that it was very moving to look out and see a sea of candles held by quite a lot of wee hands. I even resurrected the song "Shine Jesus Shine" - works well with flame and under 7s.

I enjoyed the Christmas Day service very much too - highlights were introducing the toys that had been brought including the fart machine - and realising in dismay that that SP was linking each toy into some facet of the Christmas story (this scooter reminds us that M and J made a journey etc) - in my last church pastors on "look-at-the-toys" duty played with the toys and had a laugh! - so I was left with a mic and a small boy (whose dad will be reading this) introducing the congregation to his fart machine.

Errr, yes......


  1. is your brilliant theological response to the fart machine available on the web???!!!

  2. Anonymous5:05 PM

    Sincerely glad to have missed the puking wise man.

    But wish I'd been there for the fart machine. "This is how they knew baby Jesus needed a change of swaddling clothes?? or this is the sound of the sheep?"

    I went to my first and only (so far) Christingle last year, and loved it. Is the orange not something to do with the world, the ribbon the love of Jesus or am I just making that up?

  3. THM - Err, for a theological response to the fart machine I will defer to my Senior Pastor - perhaps he will submit an anonymous comment here ....


    BK - sounds good to me!
    (red ribbon - Jesus blood shed for us; round the orange = his death was for the whole world )

  4. I have only come across "Christingles" in the last few years and I think they are becoming more universal although had assumed they were not the "done thing" in certain denominations. Both of our local C of S's have Christingle's at Christmas services too and at the weekly after school club before the Christmas holiday the kids made them as a craft activity and then displayed them on the tables when the parents came in for mince pies and tea and it was a really effective symbol.
    I don't think we had any puking wise men at ours but you would have to check that with our esteemed director Mr H!

  5. ah Mr H we love you.
    Heard it was great.

    thanks for this H - was not aware that the CofS was Christingley too. Remember the crib service I used to do - have seen that idea in some Cof Ss

    One last question - I am curious as to why Christingles might not be the done thing in some denominations. Why do you think this is?

  6. My brother got the 'fart machine' one Christmas and used it with great glee. I'd be interested to know how you introduced it!!

    We didn't have any puking wise men at our nativity, thank goodness...

  7. Hazel5:12 PM

    Yes, the crib service is a brilliant idea, as before you started it there was never anything to take a young child to on Christmas Eve! We used to go to the local C of S 7pm one for that reason!
    Re Christingles, from personal experience (although I'm sure I've read something somewhere!) I think that in the past "non-conformist" churches have been supicious of liturgy and symbols (especially candles!) In fact, a friend expressed surprise (during the evening service powercut you may have heard about!) that there was a huge supply of candles readily available!
    Many years ago, before we knew what it was, we saw a Christingle service advertised down south at husband's old Baptist church. I think possibly in some areas, the "angligang" (as you would say) influence overflows to neighbouring churches more so than in others...

  8. Anonymous10:35 PM

    I think Christingle orignated in the Moravian Church. Loving the new length of hair! Mx

  9. Oh M, lovely to hear from you. Feels like you are so far away now. Will you shout me when you are up in A and maybe could pop up for a daytrip?

    Thanks for the comment :-)

  10. A fart machine - fantastic! And I congratulate the parents for letting said child bring it to church!
    Though I bet you didn't have a 'fairy dragon' to deal with on Christmas morning (unlike our pastor...) I'd have loved to hear a theological response to that!


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