Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Christmas Journey: Savouring the Season

Every year, there is one event that kick-starts my festive preparations... it still feels, in many ways, far too early to be even mentioning the "C" word, but at the same time, I've started the shopping, bought in some of the food for the freezer and begun to have "christmassy" conversations with the girls. And when the "Christmas Journey" event comes round, I allowing myself the luxury of not feeling so guilty about allowing a little of the festive spirit to enter our home...

The 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. The girls were in awe - Ava mesmerised, and Heidi slightly afraid of the shepherd that kept reappearing!

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...

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. A hillside and an abandoned fire... the children are encouraged to question; where have the shepherds gone? Its a cold night but the place is empty...

Suddenly, the angel returns... with more news. We scurry off with the children to find the baby they are talking of...

We enter a stable. A baby lies in the corner, wrapped up in some old cloths and laid in a feeding trough. A man sleeps in the corner as Sarah (a puppet) introduces herself. Joseph awakes and shares with the children the wonder 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.
Our littlest lady is still a little young to understand it all... but she stood before that great tree - eyes wide and gazed up in wonder, turning to me and grinning - "WOW!" This Christmas is going to be fun with her... she has no memory of the last.

The last stop, a song. A song to summarise all that the children have just seen. They sing along merrily and join in the actions and I remember again why I'm so glad that Christmas is so much more than magic and presents. It's the source of all our hope.

When we had finished our journey, we headed into the cafe for mulled wine and Christmas cookies. The perfect end to the beginning of the festive season!

Savouring the Season is all about celebrating the season we find ourselves in...whether it be recipes, crafts, outdoor adventures or reflections on life, link up and share some comment love! And don't forget to grab a badge!

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  1. I absolutely adore this idea. Might suggest it to our church for next year - it seems like such a lovely way to introduce the Christmas story to children :)

  2. Aww sounds like a lively child friendly way to tell the story and I am not surprised they were mesmerised! Christmas will soon be here! Xx

  3. This sounds like a wonderful and beautifully thought out event x

  4. What an amazing way for your girls to learn the story! V jealous (I'd love to go myself!) And I have to say, thats the best Angel Gabriel I've seen in a church production. Love those lights - and that he's a strapping strong man! PS Trying to add my post to the linky but having trouble at the mo...

  5. I am amazed to read all this lovely Christmas story, wonderful!

  6. Oh what a wonderful way to present the Christmas story, that must really help to put everything in its place for the girls - and I love the angel's halos!!

  7. What a fantastic idea. We love going to church on Xmas eve and the kids get dressed as shephards and animals x


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