Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Ten Commandments for Christmas

1. You shall not leave "Christ" out of Christmas, making it "Xmas". To some, "X" is unknown.
2. You shall prepare your soul fro Christmas. Spend not so much on gifts that your soul is forgotten.
3. You shall not let Santa Claus replace Christ, thus robbing the day of its spiritual reality.
4. You shall not burden the shop worker the mailman, and the merchant with complaints and demands.
5. You shall give yourself with your gift. This will increase its value a hundredfold, and the one who receives it shall treasure it for ever.
6. You shall not value gifts received by their cost. Even the least expensive may signify love, and that is more priceless than silver and gold.
7. You shall not neglect the needy. Share your blessings with many who will go hungry and cold if you are not generous.
8. You shall not neglect your church. Its services highlight the true meaning of the season.
9. You shall be as a little child. Not until you become in spirit as a little one are you ready to enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
10. You shall give your heart to Christ. Let Him be at the top of your Christmas list.

Pilgrims Christmas Prayer

Pilgrims Prayer
May the Babe of Bethlehem be yours to tend
May the Boy of Nazareth be yours for friend
May the Man of Galilee his healing send
May the Christ of Calvary his courage lend
May the risen Lord his presence send
And his holy angels defend you to the end.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Prayer of preparation

Lord Jesus, master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!"

Henri J. M. Nouwen
Nouwen Centre

Galilee Star News

The news that might have been...

Cost blowout on government census

The census called be Caesar Augustus for the entire Roman
world, the first under the governorship of Quirinius in Syria,
is facing a huge cost blowout.

Each person had been requested to return to their own town
for the census. The cost of compensation claims alone is
almost certain to cause an increase in taxes.

See the Gospels of Luke (2:1-7) and Matthew (2:1-23)
for the full story.

Star "not Halley's comet" says expert
The sightings of a new star over the Bethlehem sky
recently has baffled stargazers and astronomers alike.
Some reports of it being an unscheduled sighting of
Halley's comet have been denied by experts.
A government spokesman refused to comment.

Eastern Mystics Customs Check

A number of Magi from the East,who had come to Jerusalem
to visit a so-called 'king', were questioned strongly by
government officials today over a number of unregistered
gifts and treasures, including gold, incense and myrrh.

The Magi were being sought be officials after eluding a
command to report to King Herod about the whereabouts
of the 'child king'.

Reports to hand indicate that the Magi found the child by
following the path of a star. When they entered the house
where the child was staying , it is said that they bowed
before the infant and worshiped him.

A spokesman for King Herod said that the actions of the
were inappropriate and distasteful in the extreme,
and that the gifts themselves were more in keeping
with those of a real king instead of some imposter child.

See the Gospel of Matthew 2:1-16 for the full story.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Christmas Drama

You may have heard of the Christmas play where the little children dressed up as little angels, shepherds, wise men and the other characters of Christmas.
The highlight of the Christmas play was to show the radiance of Jesus. An electric bulb was hidden in the manger. All the stage lights were to be turned off, leaving only one light in the manger.
At the appropriate time, all the lights went out.
Even the manger light.
The silence was broken when one of the shepherds loudly whispered,
"Hey, you turned off Jesus!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Christmas Dinner

A four year old boy was asked to say grace before Christmas dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one. Then he thanked God for mummy, daddy, his sisters, grandma and grandpa. He then began to thank God for the food. He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cakes and even the ice cream. Then he paused, and everyone waited. After the silence, the young boy looked up at his mother and asked, "if I thank God for the broccoli, won't he know that I'm lying?"

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Miss Noisy And Mr Quiet's Christmas - Skit

Here's a short Christmas Skit for use with a school or church setting.
Miss Noisy and Mr Quiet's Christmas by Beth Barnett

Other great Advent and Christmas Resources for children's workers and churches are available here -
Centre for Theology and Ministry - Uniting Church in Australia.

The Shoppers Prayer

The Shoppers Prayer--

Our cash
Which art on plastic
Hollowed be thy name
Thy Cartier watch
Thy Prada bag
As it is in store
Give us each day our Platinum Visa
And forgive those that stop us spending
And lead us not unto Louis Vuitton
For thine is the Gucci
The Dior and the Armani
For Chanel No.5 and Eternity


Give Christmas Away

"Let me not wrap, stack, box, bag, tie, tag, bundle, seal, keep Christmas.
Christmas kept is liable to mold.
Let me give Christmas away, unwrapped, by exuberant armfuls.
Let me share, dance, live Christmas unpretentiously, merrily, responsibly with overflowing hands, tireless steps and sparkling eyes.
Christmas given away will stay fresh—even until it comes again."

(author unknown)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Christmas Baskets

A great idea for a family or church small group activity. One small group at our church put together a number of "Christmas baskets". The group members brought along wrapping paper, recycled baskets, food, gifts, and some toys. The baskets were filled with gifts and then covered with cellophane and a gift card attached. These baskets were then distributed to folk who have been through a difficult time or who would appreciate some encouragement. The little note attached simply said: "Please accept this gift from ______ small group. Christmas blessing to you!" Most of the baskets were delivered anonymously.

Christ, the Light of the World

A Christmas Day Prayer
Christ, the Light of the world,
on all who greet this day with sadness or
loneliness, may your light shine;
on all who greet this day with no home to call their own,
may your light shine;

on all who greet this day with fear of
violence, may your light shine;
on all who greet this day not recognising
God at work in the world, may your light shine,
and so, may all people near and far have
their darkness banished as Jesus
is made known. Amen.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Christmas Card Boxes

Here is an easy Christmas activity for a family or children's group to make.

Making the Christmas Card Box
1. Take an old (or new) Christmas card.
2. Cut it in half. Put aside the front with the picture on.
3. Trim 2mm off 2 sides of the other sheet. This will become the box bottom. (The bottom needs to be smaller than the top).
4. On this sheet rule a line from one corner to the other to form a cross.
5. Fold both long sides into the middle. Flatten out.
6. Fold both short sides into the middle. Flatten out.
7. Cut two short cuts up to the line on each end.
8. Fold in ends to form a box shape. This is the box bottom.
9. Tape at both ends inside to secure.
10. Repeat the above steps for the other sheet (with the picture) which will become the box top.
11.Choose a small gift, poem or a verse to place inside the Christmas box to give someone.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

A Christmas Story

"Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden,"begins a parable by Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). How could he declare his love for her? She might respond out of fear or coercion, but he wanted her to love him fro himself.
So the king, convinced that he could not appear as a king without crushing his loved one's freedom, resolved to descend.he stepped off his throne, took off his royal robes, and wrapped himself in a shabby cloak. It was no mere disguise, but a new identitiy. He took on the life of a servant to win the young woman's hand.
What a risk! She might love him or she might spurn him and send himaway, and he would lose her love forever. But that's a picture of the choice god gave to manking, and that, of course, is what the parable is about.

Philippians 2:5-7 "Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant..."
That is the true story of Christmas: God in a manger; God in a human form that no one could possibly fear. What is going to be our response to Jesus this Christmas?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A Great Christmas Present

In this activity children make a present which contains the Christmas message to give away or share with their family or friends at Christmas.

You will need:
Small boxes (eg.noodle take away containers)
Star stickers or shapes
Small heart stickers or shapes
Small rocks
Pipe cleaners ( to be shaped into crosses)
Small candy canes
Cotton balls (sprayed with a drop of perfume)
Wrapping paper (large enough to wrap the small baoxes)
Labels which say To ____, from Jesus)

Give each child an empty box and tell them that they are going to be making "A great Christmas present". Explain that you will be giving them various items to go into their boxes and that each thing tells part of the Christmas story. talk about each item as you give it out, then have the children pace the item into their box before you show them the next thing.

Star - Reminds us of the special star that God put in the sky at Jesus' birth.
Heart - Reminds us how much Jesus loves us.
Cross - Reminds us that Jesus died so that we can be friends with God.
Candy Cane - The red reminds us that Jesus died so that we can be friends wit God.
Rock - Reminds us that Jesus did not stay dead, but rose to life again.
Cotton ball and perfume - Before Jesus went back to heaven, he told his followers to tell the whole world about him. After saying this , he was taken up to heaven as they watched him and a cloud hid him from their sight. The cotton ball reminds us of the cloud , and the perfume, which spreads around the room, reminds us to spread his story into the world.

Go over each item again quickly to remind the children and then have each child wrap their present explaining that they can give it away to someone or place it under their Christmas tree to open and share the story on Christmas day. finally the children attach the label.

This activity could easily be adapted for use as children's talk in a Sunday school or worship setting.

The Gift

The Gift - A Christmas Prayer
It's Christmas Lord
It's your Birthday.
What can I give you
You've given me so much!

I could look and look
at all the things you've given me
Through my talents
My special things
My friends
You have been so good to me.
Thank You !

But it's Christmas Lord
It's your Birthday.
What can I give you?

Monday, 24 November 2008

Top Six Christmas Ideas For Parents

Why not spend time as a family, enjoying this special time of the year and try some of these Christmas activities?
1. Do it yourself decorations
. Instead of buying expensive decorations from the shops, why not make your own. Things like paper chains - using old wrapping paper, paint some pine cones silver and gold, make cardboard stars, decorate lolly candy canes, different shaped pretzels can be strung together or tied with ribbon and placed on the Christmas tree.

2. Christmas Cards. Make your own Christmas cards this year.The whole family can help with this task. You can cut sheets of cardboard to the right size or buy blank cards from the stationary shop. The children can decorate the cards using stamps, (red, green and gold stamp pads), textas, glitter, pictures from old Christmas card or wrapping paper. Perhaps include drawings, digital photos or a personal message from each member of the family.

3. Wrap it Up. Instead of buying expensive wrapping paper, get the children to make their own. You can use sheets of newsprint or any large sheets of paper. Children can use stamps, pictures, crayons or textas to decorate the sheets. Potato prints are also an effective way to decorate the paper. You will need potatoes and coloured paint. Press a Christmas cookie cutter into the potato, cut away the excess potato around the design so that it stands out from the potato, dip the potato into asponge covered in paint and you're ready to stamp your print.

4. Bon Bons. Children love to make their own Christma bon-bons. You can cram them full of interesting bits and pieces and it can be a real family project.
You need: Cardboard rolls ( cut to length)
Crepe paper in Christmas colours
Snaps (available in craft shops)
Items to place in the bon-bons. things like Lollies, jokes, homemade hats.
small gifts, etc...
You need to:
1. Select a roll and place a "snap" inside so that it sticks out from both ends ( this is what is pulled tomake the "bang" sound.
2. Carefully fill your bon-bon with a joke, lollies, hat...
3. Roll a piece of crepe paper around and sticky tape together.
4. Twist the ends of the crepe paper.
5. Decorate with stickers, glitter...

6. Personalise with the name of your guests or friends who will share the bon-bons with you.

5. Countdown to Christmas. In the 24 days leading up to Christmas you could so something special each day. You could make an Advent Calendar which has 25 little doors to open with either a small gift behind each door or a verse from the Bible to read each day. Gifts could include- lollies, candy canes, small books, stickers, pencils, other little surprise trinkets you can find.

6. Christmas Cooking. Get the whole family involved in making some of the special foods for Christmas. Some foods (like shortbread - see previous post) could be made and wrapped as gifts. Special Christmas baskets with foods may be prepared and given to the needy at this time. Simple sweets like White Christmas, coconut balls or fudge are alway appreciated. Check out some recipe books for simple sweets that children can make. Wrap them up in green or red cellophane and add a gift card.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Christmas Shortbread Recipe

Christmas Shortbread Recipe
Ingredients :
4 ozs ( 110 grams) Butter

1 oz (28 grams) Pure icing sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla
4 ozs Plain Flour

Melt & cool butter.

Mix into other ingredients until smooth

Lightly flour hands and roll into small balls.
Flatten with fork dipped in flour.
Cook at 400 degrees F (200 C) for 12 minutes. Do nor overcook.

Yields about 30 biscuits.

Let the whole family help in preparing special foods for Christmas. The foods prepared will be greatly appreciated as special gifts, made with love. You can start well before Christmas with the making of the Christmas cake and pudding - let the children help you cut and stir.
Simple sweets like White Christmas, coconut balls, fudge are delicious and easy to make. Make some Christmas shortbread (as above), when cooked, wrap it in green or red cellophane and add a gift card.

Christmas is Really For the Children

Christmas Is Really For the Children

Christmas is really
for the children.
Especially for children
who like animals, stables,
stars and babies wrapped
in swaddling clothes.
Then there are wise men,
kings in fine robes,
humble shepherds and a
hint of rich perfume.

Easter is not really
for the children
unless accompanied by
a cream filled egg.
It has whips, blood, nails,
a spear and allegations
of body snatching.
It involves politics, God
and the sins of the world.
It is not good for people
of a nervous disposition.
They would do better to
think on rabbits, chickens
and the first snowdrop
of spring.

Or they'd do better to
wait for a re-run of
Christmas without asking
too many questions about
what Jesus did when he grew up
or whether there's any connection.

Steve Turner

(c) Poems are the property of their respective owners. All information has been reproduced here for educational and informational purposes to benefit site visitors, and is provided at no charge.

Christmas Conspiracy

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Three Wise Men Song

Christmas Song (Sung to the tune of 'Three Blind Mice")
Three Wise Men
Three wise men,three wise men,
Traveling a far, seeing a star,
They found the saviour in Bethlehem.
They fell on their knees and worshiped him,
Never before has there ever been a baby like him,
Three wise men, three wise men. (repeat 3x)

Santa's Lap

Santa's Lap

As a little girl climbed onto Santa’s lap, Santa asked the usual, “And what would you like for Christmas?” The child stared at him open-mouthed and, horrified for a minute, then gasped, ” Didn’t you get my E-mail?”

Monday, 17 November 2008

A Christmas Gift

A Christmas Gift

A man sent his elderly parents a mobile phone one Christmas. Here’s how he recalls the experience:

“They were excited that now they, too could be part of the instant generation. When Dad unpacked the phone and switched it on, literally within seconds the phone transformed two smiles into a frown! Even after reading the directions, they couldn’t make it work.

Two days later, my mother was visiting a friend and confessed her inability to get the mobile phone to work.

“To get this darn thing to work,” she exclaimed, “I really don’t need better directions; I just need my son to bring the gift in person!”

When God gave the gift of salvation, he didn’t send a booklet of complicated instructions for us to figure out; he sent his Son.

Sharing the Christmas Story With Preschoolers (ages 2-4)

Sharing the Christmas Story with Preschoolers

In preparation to tell the Christmas story.

1. Be reminded that God’s Son Jesus came to earth as a little child to rescue humankind from their sins and to bring people back into relationship with God the Father for eternity. (John 3:16) Emphasize to your child that Jesus is a very special person. God’s Son. We can know and love him, thank him, sing songs to praise him. Jesus came to help us know what God is like.

2. Consider the age and stage of development of preschoolers. Also consider how children of this age group experience God and how they best learn. Any sharing of the Christmas story will be more effective if these factors determine your choice of story or approach.

Note particularly that the focus on faith development at this age is on experiencing the awe and wonder of God.

Children of these ages are literalists so be careful that you tell make clear what is the truth from the Bible and what is just a made up story.

Children of this age won’t remember all the details or the order of the shepherds, wise men, Mary & Joseph going to Bethlehem etc. The atmosphere of expectation, surprise, joy, peace, celebration are things that they will be able to identify with. Pray often that God will help your child trust him and love him.

Let your children see you read the story from a children’s Bible. Talk about how great it is that God has given us this special book so we can learn more about him.

The parent’s attitude to the sharing of the story will be a powerful communicator at this age. If the coming of Jesus as God’s Son into the world is important and wonderful to the parent then this will be seen by the child. There is the danger that children will rather hear their parents griping about Christmas- costs, advertising, family arrangements and this could overshadow the central truth.

Use even the ads on TV as a talking point with your children about what they are selling and what is important to your family about buying and giving.

Some discussion needs to take place by both parents about how your family is going to deal with Santa Claus/Father Christmas. Are you going to tell them he is real or not real and when?

In our family we decided to tell our children that Santa was a fun character like Professor Starshine or Humphrey Bear�. We enjoyed the fun surrounding Santa without going into the presents from Santa and putting food out for him etc..) At the same time we talked often to our children that the name CHRISTmas comes from Jesus CHRIST who is real and very special. So Christmas is really about Christ.

3. The sharing of the Christmas story should be many tellings of the story in different ways and in different contexts as the child grows.

Activities might include

. Making an Advent calendar or Christmas decorations, cooking, shopping, making gifts or cards for others. Talking together about why you are doing these things.

· Dressing up and acting out the nativity or using puppets to tell the story. (Why not turn out the lights and light a candle while the Christmas story is read or acted out.)

. Listening and singing Christmas carols like 'Away in a Manger' and talking about the words.

· Reading picture story books or making our own Family Christmas Book which the children illustrate. Drawing and colouring activities.

.· Experiencing worship together at Christmas time “ Advent,Come Celebrate, Children’s Christmas Eve service.

© Don Stott,, 2006

See Ted's Surprise Christmas. An original story to share with pre-schoolers.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Christmas Prayer Response

Leader: Christ the Promised one has come
C: Help us recognize your Son.
Leader: Kept out from the inn that night
C: Open up those lives shut tight.
Leader: Angels singing, shepherds scared
C: Help us see God's peace is shared.
Leader: Shepherd gave praise from his heart
C:Lead us Lord to do our part.
Leader: Star shone brightly where He lay
C: Help us follow now His way.
Leader:Ruler, King- though baby small
C: Rule our lives, please use us all.
Leader:We decorate our Christmas tree
C: Remind us Lord, You died for me.
Leader: Jesus came to save from sin
C: Calls us now to welcome Him.

(C) Don Stott

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Top Christmas Card Ideas

Top Christmas Card ideas from "Kids Craft Weekly"
Christmas Colours
Shower or glitter cards
Felt Tree cards

A Christmas Creed

I believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem.

I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose spirit still brings music to persons all over the world, in towns both large and small.

I believe in the one for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my life today.

I believe in the one whom the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose welcome came from persons of hungry hearts.

I believe in the one who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible.

I believe in the one whose cradle was a mother’s arms, whose modest home in Nazareth had love as its only wealth, who looked at persons and made them see what God’s love saw in them, who by love brought sinners back to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of GOd.

I confess my everlasting need of God: the need for forgiveness for our selfishness and greed; the need for new life for empty souls; the need for love for hearts grown cold.

I believe in God who gives us the best of himself. I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem this night, for me and for the world.


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Christmas Quote

“When I was a child, I was so fat I was the one chosen to play Bethlehem in the school Nativity play.”

Put CHRIST back in CHRISTmas

Santa rides in a sleigh…

JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year…

JESUS is an ever present help in trouble.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies…

Jesus supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited…

JESUS stands at the door of your life and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa…

JESUS is as close as the mention of HIS name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap…

JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn’t know your name, all he can say is “Hi little boy or girls, what’s your name?”…

JESUS knew our name before we did.

Not only does he know our name,

He knows our address too.

He knows our history and future and

He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly…

JESUS offers a heart full of love.

All Santa offers is HO HO HO…

JESUS offers healing, help and hope.

Santa says “You better not cry”…

JESUS says “Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.”

Santa’s little helpers make toys…

JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but…

JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree…

JESUS became our gift and died on a tree.

Yes, Jesus is better, he is even better than Santa Claus.

It’s obvious there is really no comparison. We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about. We need to put Christ back in CHRISTmas, Jesus is still the reason for the season.

(author unknown)

The Legend of the First Christmas Tree

Christmas trees originated in Germany. The story is told of St. Boniface who travelled from England centuries ago to tell the good news about Jesus to the German people. One dark night he and some of his monks carrying candles, came across some people deep in the forest. They had tied a boy to a bare oak tree ready to sacrifice him to their god, Odin. Boniface freed the boy and chopped down the tree. Then he showed them a fir tree pointing up to the sky. His followers put their candles on the branches and the people gathered around the tree and listened as Boniface explained how God had sent his son Jesus to bring light to the world.

A Christmas Gift

A man sent his elderly parents a mobile phone one Christmas. Here’s how he recalls the experience:

“They were excited that now they, too could be part of the instant generation. When Dad unpacked the phone and switched it on, literally within seconds the phone transformed two smiles into a frown! Even after reading the directions, they couldn’t make it work.

Two days later, my mother was visiting a friend and confessed her inabilty to get the mobile phone to work.

“To get this darn thing to work,” she exclaimed, “I really don’t need better directions; I just need my son to bring the gift in person!”

When God gave the gift of salvation, he didn’t send a booklet of complicated instructions for us to figure out; he sent his Son.

The Carpenter's Cradle

The background for this poem is Matthew 1:18-25 . It was used as part of a sermon on this passage and was read with an improvised piano backing.

The Carpenter’s Cradle

Timber now fashioned, and rough sanded down

With piles of fresh shavings strewn on the ground.

The carpenter ponders each joint and straight edge

Puts down his tools upon the work ledge.

With things to ‘consider’ he returns to ‘his wood’

And enquires of the Lord, ‘What’s for the good?’

The angel commanded him,”Mary must stay”.

It’s now clear his fear shouldn’t stand in his way.

With each hammer and join, things start to take shape

He’s resolved to move forward, he can’t hesitate.

Shifting his stool, he then starts to plane.

Sometimes it’s hard to go ‘gainst the grain.

Finally he smiles, ‘It’s all God’s design.’

His weathered hand feels what’s smoothed, now fine.

This small baby Jesus, a gift to mankind

Will no longer rest in a meagre old manger

But will peacefully rock in this carpenter’s cradle.

© Don Stott, 2005,

Christmas Plus

Welcome to Christmas+!
This blog will include a wide range of resources for those people who are organising Christmas programs or church services. You'll find Christmas stories, poems, jokes,quotes, puppet plays, Christmas clip art and photos.