A Christmas Cracker – new kids’ service


Back in the harness after a busy Christmas season and week of rest. One of the highlights of the last two weeks, for me, was a new 4:30pm Christmas Eve service for kids which we called “A Christmas cracker”.  Everyone in the service was given a Christmas cracker half way through the talk and the party hats were used to illustrate something about Jesus, loosely based on “two ways to live“. We also used fairy lights, a candy cane and a Christmas tree to help kids remember the real meaning of Christmas.

Fairy Lights

Fairy lights

Fairy lights twinkle like the star which led the wise men to Jesus.

Reading: Matthew 2:1-2

Fairy lights remind us that is it wise to look for Jesus
It is wise to find him
And it is wise to worship him.

Candy canes.

Candy Cane

 

Candy canes look like a shepherd’s crook, which reminds us of the shepherds.  The colour of the candy cane reminds us of something else.

Red – the blood of Jesus.
White – purity, which is what Jesus gives people who trust in him and his death for our sins, as his blood purifies us.

Psalm 51:1-2
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

God teaches us in the bible that everyone sins. We are all dirty and smelly because of the bad things we do and the good things we don’t do. But God has promised to make us pure again.

Christmas Cracker.
Everyone pulls their crackers and puts on their party hats.

The hat is shaped a bit like a crown.

Christmas Cracker Hat

Who wears crowns? Kings and queens.
Do you know what the hat reminds us of? Sin.
Sin is when we say to ourselves, “I am the king of my life and no one is going to tell me what to do. I’ll do what I please.” That’s sin.

So, when everyone ignores the king and does what seems right in their own eyes, bad things happen.

But good things happen when we remember that Jesus is King.
Jesus is the good king who gives us good commandments.
People who make Jesus king are blessed.

Reading. Matthew 2:1-2 again.

I’m going to take off my hat and write:  “Jesus is my King” on the front.

Christmas tree, with presents.

Christmas Tree

 

The presents under the tree remind us of the grace of God.
Grace is when someone gives us something we don’t deserve.

Reading:
Romans 6:22-23

The wages of sin is death
But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If we continue to live in sin,
if we make ourselves king of our life,
we are treated as our sins deserve by God by the opposite of eternal life, death.
That’s God’s judgement.

But, if we crown Jesus as King, and know that he has made us pure before God by shedding his blood on the cross for our sin, and if we accept Jesus as gift, by simply saying “thank you God that Jesus died for my sin, I make him my king, and I’ll follow him and worship him and love him” then God gives us the free gift of eternal life.

Last reading: the shepherds Luke 2:15-20

When we are like the shepherds who know the love of God in Jesus Christ.
When the fairy lights remind about the star and to look and find Jesus.
When we find him and worship him like the wise men.
When the candy cane reminds us that his blood shed on the cross makes us pure in God’s eyes.
When the crown reminds us that we make ourselves kings but that Jesus is the good king who gives the gift of eternal life to all who love him and follow him.
Then we can all stand tall before God and other people like the Christmas trees.

Will you stand tall this Christmas because you know the love and kindness of Jesus, our Saviour and King?

And we sang the song which inspired the whole service.  Thank you to Colin Buchanan.  Click on the image below to buy the King of Christmas CD.

Click here to buy the CD

King of Christmas CD - Colin Buchanan

Let the Christmas tree remind you of
the one who loves the lord
Who walks the path of godliness
And loves to hear God’s word.
Pray that as you grow up
that’s just how you will be
Standing tall for Jesus
like a Christmas tree

Let your love show ho! Ho!
Let your love grow ho! Ho!
That everyone will know
Christ the King of Christmas

Well let the fairy lights remind you
Of that bright and shining star
Spotted by the wise men
who travelled from afar
They gave Jesus all their treasures
and they worshipped him that night
Let your worship of King Jesus
shine like fairy lights

Chorus

Well let the candy cane remind you
Of God’s amazing grace
Red – the blood of Jesus
As he suffered in our place
White – the full forgiveness
Won as Jesus rose again
You can tell you friends the gospel
with a candy cane.

Chorus

Well let all the gifts at Christmas time
Fill your heart with praise
To God for all his goodness
Shown in O so many ways
That everyday in everyway
We’d be completely his
Give you life to Jesus
as a Christmas gift.

Chorus

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6 Responses to A Christmas Cracker – new kids’ service

  1. Hi Neil,
    Thanks to your wife’s tweets I’ve now visited your blog. I really like your Christmas Cracker service and want to nick it to share with children’s volunteers in Ripon & Leeds Diocese if that’s OK? (Ready for next Christmas, obviously!)

    I do, however, have one point I disagree with. You say that “If we continue to live in sin,
    if we make ourselves king of our life,
    we get paid back by God with death.” Is that really true? I thought sin cuts us off from God and if we don’t turn to Christ, we cannot be included in the Shalom he achieved on the Cross. But God doesn’t pay us back with death. That’s like Pat Robertson saying the Haitians suffering last week was God’s punishment. Surely if we sin and don’t know Christ, we are killing ourselves, not God paying us back?

    Christians continue to sin, sadly it’s a part of our fallen human nature and self-centredness. The difference is, when we are in Christ, God sees Christ’s atonement and we can know His forgiveness.

    To say to kids that God pays us back with death is a terrible statement and one that could haunt them for life. Not the loving God who wants us to be saved, but a God of anger and rules and condemnation!

    Apart from that one point, well done for a great service that I think could be replicated by others in the future!

    Cheers,

    Graham Richards
    Richmond Archdeaconry Children’s & Youth Adviser

    • neilrobbie says:

      Hi Graham and welcome to TG. We really enjoyed “A Christmas Cracker” and will be doing the same again next year. Some people who came said they would be inviting friends next time round.

      I take your point on sin resulting in death. I abridged the talk for the sake of the blog and I see that my editing was unhelpful. In the service I did not put things using the definitions of sins and death you used in your summary:
      i.e.
      sins = the bad things we do and the good things we don’t do.
      death = what happens to all people as our mortal bodies stop living

      rather
      sin = crowning myself as king (making up my own morality) in deliberate rebellion against my good and loving Saviour King
      death = what happens when God brings final justice to bear on rebellion from Genesis 2:17 (see my post on mot tamut)

      I would not want to “haunt” any child for life with the idea that their mortal death is somehow punishment for the bad things they had done. I do think it is proper for us to teach our children than God will deal fully and finally with evil in judgement but that we have a gracious, loving and merciful Saviour in the person of Jesus Christ. And, to receive Christ as Saviour means also receiving him as King, which means he makes the good and perfect commandments not me. Or something like that.

      Go well and by all means use the service idea. As I said in my post, the inspiration came from Colin Buchanan. May Christ get the love, glory, honour and obedience.

      In his name

      Neil

  2. jaya j says:

    Hi Neil, I’d like to get your permission to use the pretty fairy lights pic published in the ‘A Christmas Cracker – new kids’ service’ post.
    Pls let me know, cheers.
    Jaya.

    • neilrobbie says:

      Hi Jaya, thanks for asking. I’m not sure I can give you that permission. Since publishing I’ve become aware of copyright laws on images on the internet, which you are obviously aware of yourself. I’m not sure where the image came from, I don’t have the time to research it and I probably need to replace it but will wait until asked. I no longer use images from the internet for my blog unless I know they are copyright free.

  3. jaya j says:

    Thanks Neil, and no worries. I try to use copyright free photos as well if I am not taking my own, which can turn out horribly at times. I took a photo of some fairy lights myself but they’re not wonderful, so I thought I’d ask.
    Anyways, it’s all good because the search landed me on your blog and you’ve got some good work going on here.
    Keep it going.

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