Christmas Journey is an interactive, thought-provoking journey for children through the Christmas story. Our church have run it for the past few years and it is fabulous. The story comes to life as actors, puppets and incredible sets come together to take the children back in time. Ava was mesmerised!
The children are taken on a journey through six scenes. In the first tent, they travel back in time, right back to the beginning, where the story of creation and fall is told using visuals and Makaton. The storyteller carefully told the story of creation and then showed how the Fall had ruined the relationship God had with people. And so an idea is planted in the children's mind; a rescue plan is needed...
A shepherd guides the children between the scenes, explaining that God's rescue plan is about to be revealed to them as they go... next stop, Mary's house!
We were led into a kitchen in Nazareth where a young lady is busy kneading dough. Above her, washing is strung out as freshly baked loaves line the side. The house is simple, but lived in. Little touches of homeliness are scattered around as Mary introduces herself. She hands out the dough to the children, inviting them to help her as she chatters merrily about her plans to marry in the near future. A moment of comedy when the children are asked what a carpenter does... "makes carpets?" one child responds innocently.
Suddenly we are interrupted. In the corner of the room a towering angel appears with a very important message for Mary. The children sit, open-mouthed.
We are led to the next scene. Distant bleating as the children are encouraged to join the shepherds and hold a toy sheep while they listen to what the Shepherds have to say. Its a cold night, and they're pretty tired.
Suddenly, the angel returns... with more news. The Shepherds scurry off with the children following behind.
We enter a stable. A baby lies in the corner, wrapped up in some old cloths and laid in a feeding trough. Two puppets, Samuel and Sarah, obviously the stable owners, tell the children the story of last night's events. They speak in excited but hushed voices as the children watch, mesmerized.
Another tent. A tent with riches and incense. A man, dressed in beautiful robes, explains that he is packing for a journey. He's going to meet a King. He shows the children the scrolls he has and points out the star up above in the sky. He shows the children the gifts he and his friends plan to take with them. They smell the frankincense and handle the gold. Looks of wide-eyed wonder from some, and uncontrollable questions and excitement from others. These kids are hooked.
We finish up in a lounge. Comfy sofas, a christmas tree and a roaring fire. This is a scene we all recognise. A lot like home. And here, a man explains to the children what their time travelling has to do with today... why this baby was important. Why this baby is important - and why he came.
When we had finished our journey, we headed into the cafe for mulled wine and christmas cookies. Ava talked all the way home about what she had seen; but she was left with one question. She had seen Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men... even an angel.
"Mama, can I see God now?"
Try answering that question for a two-year-old!
|The closest we got to both girls looking... introducing Heidi as Joseph, and Ava as Mary!|
|And, of course, Mama and Papa couldn't resist either!|